I might be getting ahead of myself a bit so I'll back up. Over the last 5 or so years it feels like I cannot make a decision without it blowing up in my face. I had a decent time of it the last couple of years, steady job and pay and I was even pretty happy. But when I looked at my future I didn't feel like I was going anywhere. This lead to deciding to go to grad school and my first semester at Azusa Pacific University was a success. I enjoyed my classes, I had a great balance between work, school and social activities. I don't recall a single moment of feeling overwhelmed with what I was studying. However, as the semester started to materialize I realized my finances were bleak. I had a great job in the theater department at APU and it paid well but because they don't allow students to work in between semesters I was looking at not being able to make rent for the month of January and I could not see a way to make it work. A part time minimum wage retail job didn't seem like a plausible option and I had little time to procure one.
I came to see that a lot of deal breakers for my life were closing in on me. I think there is a bit of privilege I was embracing: quite honestly I was not willing to suffer (my opinion of it in this particular scenario) for my plans. I went into survival mode and within 3-4 weeks I had applied to a school up North and secured a cheap room for rent next to my sister. It wasn't my ideal, but it would secure my basic needs and friends, that is, at the end of the day what was not happening for me in Southern California. Do I struggle to fight for what I want? Absolutely. However, I also don't like being in a position of such intense financial insecurity I'm under threat of not being able to support myself.
I cried and prayed and kept going along, and eventually the time came to make the final decision and practicality won out. I have reservations about the decision, I could have exercised faith and crashed at classmates houses who were more than willing to shelter me until I got it together. But there was no guarantee of anything ever coming together. I barely had my tuition covered with the loan I received for grad school. On an almost daily basis I see articles about the struggle my generation is having in finding jobs, paying off student loans and living the American Dream. So I don't really feel like giving myself a hard time about this decision. I did what i had to do to feel safe. My personality is really not made for this economy.
So here I am, sitting on my parents couch reflecting on the last few weeks and how so much can change in such a short amount of time. It's easy for me to get caught up in the disappointment, the feeling like "I'm a failure" and then remembering I faced uncertainty and made choices and I'm still on track with my educational goals. This season of life will pass, I will settle into my life here and maybe there will even be some fun surprises along the way. Here's my encouragement to you: When life throws you things you hoped wouldn't happen and you're tempted to feel like a failure, remind yourself of the good you are doing and reject the feelings of failure you feel. You're not the only one struggling to live in today's economy you're doing the best you can and if feeling safe means making choices you aren't thrilled about try to comfort yourself with the knowledge that God has everything under control when you feel the least amount of in control.
We're all in this together. Hopefully your life is going exactly the way you planned it but I have a feeling I'm not the only one who is struggling. Certain things haven't gone as planned and for us planners it's a very debilitating place to be. I'm learning to trust God and tell myself no matter the plans that fall apart there are other opportunities to be had, even if it's a life lesson and not an alleviating of life's up-endings. So be brave friends, let's learn to roll with it - I don't think life will ever stop changing suddenly on us. If I stay in the mindset that at some point life evens out, I'm setting myself up for crushing disappointments. On the opposite side of that, constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop is crushing as well. If I'm not careful I'll start to miss everything God is gifting me with. No matter where my life is I want to be able to spot the gifts and thank the Giver.
I'll end this post with gifts I've been given from the maker who loves me:
family and friends
shelter and food
doors being opened in unexpected places
babies being born and grown in wombs
Siblings (I have to brag here, I have 3 of the best ever!)
The list goes on but I'll stop here. Thanks for reading!