The other day at the drop-in center, we had a kid who could only speak Spanish. Since I had SIX semesters of Spanish (two in high school and four in college), you'd think that wouldn't be a problem. You'd think that I could actually speak and understand the Spanish language. Not so much. Still, since the other worker there had only taken French, I was suddenly the interpreter.
I spent most of the morning saying, "No comprendo."
But I understood some of what he said. For instance, there was a time when the kid climbed the climbing wall (it's only about 6-7 feet high and well padded underneath, so the kids use it without assistance). He was so proud of himself that he loudly, insistently exclaimed, "MIRAME! MIRAME! MIRAME! MIRAME!" I know what that means. "Look at me!"
My attention was on another child at that moment, so when I finally heard him shouting, I jokingly shouted back, "I'M LOOKING AT YOU!" It took me a few seconds to remember that he didn't understand English. And my Spanish is so bad I didn't know how to properly translate. So I said it in English again, even though he couldn't understand. "I'm looking at you."
The past few weeks have been hard for me. I've been burned out. I've been frustrated. And I've just basically been ready to throw the towel in on everything that I'm doing. Part of me is shouting "LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!" and I feel like God either can't hear or can't understand. Really, it's the other way around. He's been saying, "Hey. I see you, kid," only I've been the one who can't understand.
It's because I've not been looking at Him. I've been looking at my circumstances. I've been looking at other people and what they've accomplished. I've been looking at my failures. I've been looking at myself, hoping to provide for my own needs in the midst of everything that's going on. And I feel inadequate. I feel discouraged. I feel like I've wasted my life. I feel like there's no way out of all the things I have going on, out of all the situations I have that are less than ideal.
God isn't screaming. He seldom does. He's usually pretty quiet, sitting over in the corner, waiting for me to get done throwing my tantrums. Then, when I'm quiet, I hear Him. "Hey, kid. I see you. Now. Look. At. Me."
The Israelites wandered around in the desert for 40 years because they rebelled against God. What was the last straw, the time when God said, "Okay, you know what? Your kids will see it, but your generation isn't going to see the Promised Land"? It was when God wanted to give them land, but the Israelites were afraid because of the people who lived there. God had delivered the Israelites from the oppressive Egyptians. The Israelites had seen God part the waters of the Sea of Reeds (or Red Sea). God had given the Israelites water from stones and manna from heaven. After all of this, the Israelites still didn't believe that God could provide for them in the midst of their circumstances. They were afraid. They trusted in their own strength, which meant they didn't have much to trust in at all.
Maybe it is time for me to start looking for other employment. Maybe it is time for me to make some changes. I don't think it's at all wrong for me to start that process. But in the past couple of weeks, I've just talked myself into that being the only solution to my messed up life. Though I love my jobs, I'm overworked, underpaid, and have little time to work on my writing. I got myself all worked up and started talking myself into believing that the only way out would be to find a different, full time job, and this is a problem because I don't even know what I want to do for a living besides what I've been doing. But I felt that I couldn't keep going, couldn't figure things out. And I panicked. I wanted to take matters into my own hands and rid myself of the circumstances that make my life difficult.
...but maybe what I need to do is stop worrying about what other people think about me and my current situations. Maybe I need to stop worrying about not having enough time to do things as quickly as I would like to do them. Maybe I need to stop looking so much at myself; maybe I need to stop trusting in myself. Because that's obviously not working....
I don't know if God has a job change in store for me or not. What I do know is that He's going to give me grace for the situations that I'm in, whatever those situations happen to be. They might not always be what I or the rest of the world sees as ideal, but it's going to be enough. That's the promise He's made to me, and if I'm looking at Him instead of myself and the situations I'm in, I'm going to believe that promise. I'm going to trust in Him. I'm going to have enough.
Things I have accomplished this year:
--I met the goal of being able to comfortably wear a size 6 again. Now to learn how to maintain my current weight...
Things I'm working on:
--Continue half-marathon training. Not going well, per se, but it's going.
--Continue editing second novel.
--Look at first novel again. Figure out what I need to do before submitting it to agents again (this is going to be a process, I think).
--Sleep, eat, pray, live, breathe. It's not that all the things I have going on aren't important, it's just that sometimes I make them more crucial than they need to be.
"...You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed...." --Jesus (Luke 10:41-42)
Look at Him.