Joy is Now, Not Tomorrow

Somedays I feel like I’ve failed, like somewhere along the way I lost track of where I was going, who I was, what I wanted, and what God wanted for me. Somedays I feel like there was a moment I never saw, that I flinchingly averted my eyes from, where my future was made and laid out before me and I stepped in the wrong direction. Somedays I feel 50 miles off the mark in a place I may never truly recognize, afraid to find my way back to the path and certain I’ll be lost forever.

Somedays I feel like I’ve failed.  For two years, I feel like I’ve failed.

As graduation season approaches, I can’t help but to think back to when I graduated myself.  I was an English major with English major dreams: write a book, teach English, read and absorb the words of the greats and maybe open up a bookstore when I’m 60. But sometime during my senior year in college, I developed a strong call into ministry.  The church I was a part of was laid heavily on my heart and everything I thought I wanted fell to the side.  I graduated with the confidence that a calling as strong as this one would come through, that after four years of following God’s call on my heart in one direction or the other, this was the inevitable conclusion, the next step–this was the future.

But the future as I saw it never happened.

For two years I waited for a job in the church, for a position to become available that I could move into. I did my darnedest to position myself in a way where should the opportunity arise for me to be hired on, I would be ready to heed the call.  But the opportunity never came.  For a long time I pretended I wasn’t bitter–not with the church I attended but with myself, with God.  I pretended like I wasn’t confused, like I wasn’t regretful for having made the move to relinquish control of what I could have done for what God had called me toward.

For a long time, I pretended–I pretended like I hadn’t failed.  It took me a while to realize that that wasn’t true.

Over the past few months, I’ve distanced myself from what was once my calling.  I’ve stopped measuring my success on the job I always thought I should have and my failure on the fact I didn’t have it.  I’ve reclaimed the idea that being joyful is loving where you are, that fulfillment is doing the best with what you are given, that a job, even the job, is nothing more than that, and isn’t worth a life-long pursuit if you feel less like yourself pursuing it.

Over the past few months I’ve realized that where I am is my calling: this job, this moment, what I’m doing in it, etc.  It isn’t forever, but this is where I’ve landed and after doing my best to be who God called me to be, I landed here, and for good reason. For the first time in a long time, I feel like myself, I feel like my future is bright and boundless–not dependent on a job that will never come. I feel like I understand my calling again, that whatever should happen, God is in control and the tomorrows and next months and next years will hold incredible wonders, as long as I bother to look for them.

For two years I feel like I’ve failed, but I don’t feel that way anymore.


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