Being Content: Finding Purpose in Your Pain

I normally don’t get this deep about my personal life online, but it’s time to have a real talk.

Lately, nothing has gone as planned or worked out the way I imagined it, and it’s really forced me to rely a lot more on my faith. First, Scooby had a cancer scare that has costed us thousands of dollars for his treatment. Then, my grandmother, who is in daily debilitating pain from a pinched nerve in her spine, was told by her doctor that there was nothing that could be done to help her condition. (We’ve since then found several surgeons who have agreed to help, but it’s been a very emotional time). Amongst all this whirlwind, I also got engaged on one of the most emotionally draining days imaginable, and I’m FAILING a class for the first time since I’ve ever been in school. Consequently, this class may cause me to have to push my graduation to this summer, delaying all of my plans for graduate school and keeping me in Clinton for several more months=expensive. I mean, when it rains, it POURS.

On top of all the stress, failing this class and thinking about how it could jeopardize my plans has made me question not only my worth, but my ability to obtain the future that I’ve worked a hard for. My whole life has been “keep up that GPA, focus, perform, be the best you can be, achieve” and currently everything is the opposite. I’ve questioned my entire college career these past few weeks and have been left feeling helpless and completely lost. This week, I had my third mental breakdown in the last month and finally just said, “I need you God.” So, I broke down into a million pieces and prayed harder than I have in a long time. Not just for me, but for everyone else I’ve seen struggling these last few weeks. My feed this week has been blown up with friends and families in similar situations. I know I’m not the only one going through a hard time right now which is why I’m posting this.

I’m just going to be honest. Prayer is something I’ve really stopped doing recently and it so often gets neglected until times like this. I can get so caught up in my goals and desires that I forget to have empathy for the people around me whose parents are in the hospital, have to work two jobs to even attend college, or don’t even have a safe home to come at the end of the day.

You know, if there’s one thing I can say about the toughest times in my life is that when I come out of them, I am so dang grateful these past few weeks to think about what I DO have, because God has reminded me that anything we love more than Him can be taken away from us in an instant. How foolish is it that we make plans when God is the one in control of our future? Currently, I’m hoping my dog will get healed, my grandmother will have a successful surgery and make it to see me walk down the isle, that I will actually graduate college, and that I can finally settle down on a graduate school plan that makes me happy. They seem like such simple things, but HOPING is different from EXPECTING. I think that’s the key, guys.

Having FAITH that God will open doors, perform healing, and give us strength when we are unable is not the same thing as feeling ENTITLED to our desires. We can make plans all day, but there’s no way on Earth to know what the future holds for us. I don’t know about y’all, but for me, that can be terrifying. One thing that’s for sure is that when we rely on God for direction, we don’t have to be scared. I think surrounding myself with some of the smartest and ambitious people I’ve ever met at Mississippi College has put the idea in my head that if I’m not on their level in every way, I’m settling or devaluing myself. That mentality is what leads us to believe we can only be happy if we make plans and stick to them perfectly. THAT IS SO NOT TRUE. Maybe you’ve felt the same way with your career choices and plans, but our worth is in Jesus who thinks we are more valuable than rubies.

Find your gifts and add value to this world with them. God has given each of us a gift for the purpose of giving him glory. Focus less on PLANNING and more on SERVING. When we are serving others with our gifts, we are fulfilling God’s purpose which is the BEST plan for our lives that there is. It takes the fear away from “not knowing” when you remember that God is in control over our lives. That’s really what I’ve been trying to focus on this week (since my last mental breakdown) and I’ve felt better than I have in weeks. While God is healing souls, he’s also paving roads for us to go down if we are open enough to see them. Don’t get scared when things don’t work out. Look to God and ask, “If you are closing this door for me, how can I use my gifts to serve in the new door you will open for me?”

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