Friday, 16 October 2015

When Feeling Anxious about the Future

When I was a child, I guess I had a rather idealistic view of growing up and becoming an adult (as all children do to some extent). As the adults around me seemed (from my young perspective) to have life all neatly sorted out and perfectly packaged into boxes, I naturally assumed that becoming an adult would mean life would all somehow come together and I'd just know exactly what to do. I'd mature suddenly, know the answers to everything, study exactly the right course, never get badly in debt (and if I did it would magically sort itself out), I'd get my dream job, then prince charming would come along at the perfect timing when I had figured everything else out but not too far along for me to feel too lonely. He'd sweep me off my feet, we'd get married and I'd wear my dream wedding dress, we'd have babies, grow old together . . . and so on, and so on, I'm sure you get the picture.

Image from Pinterest

Except I'm learning that adulthood, and to a certian extent the Christian life, is not quite like that.

That in fact it is less certainty and more learning to trust God in each and every uncertianty, knowing that He will work all things together for my good. That He is always ahead of me, and nothing in my life happens coincidentally. 

I'm learning that the creater God wants more than anything else for me to have a living relationship with Him and that part of that is that He wants me to trust Him and that He is good no matter how confusing and out of control life may appear. I'm also learning, perhaps the hard way, that the grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence and that unless I find my contentment and am wholly satisfied in and through Christ, I will always be restless and full of discontent, constantly filled with jealousy and comparing myself to all that others have that I feel I lack. That even were I to be granted all of my dreams, I would still feel empty and searching for more, were it not for Christ. 

I'm safe in His hands - what a wonderful thought! Image from Pinterest
I'm not saying it's bad for me to have these dreams, and indeed they are good ones to have! But problems come when I let my dreams be in control and stop me from being content with the here and now that God has placed me in. When I stop seeing ways He may be wanting me to serve Him right where I am, not just looking at where I want to be in 10 years' time. It's having an attitude of surrender to Him, with my past, present and future. For far too long, I'm realising, I have lived in a vicious cycle. I will grow discontent with life and unfulfilled dreams and buy into the lie that "I'll finally be totally happy and satisfied if . . ." First it might be going to uni, then getting a dream job, then having a boyfriend, then getting engaged, then getting married, than having a baby and then (I like to joke to myself!) undoubtedly if I had kids there would be days when I'd want to tear my hair out and would wish I was single again!

Cultivating these attitudes unfortunately stops me from reaching out to others in the way that I know Christ would want me to and instead makes me jealous of everybody else, coveting their lives and what they have even though I know deep down that their lives are not perfect either and getting what I want will never fill the void that only Christ can full.

Today I was thinking about how worried I am about what to do with my future and I was reminded of this Bible passage:
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." ~ Matthew 6:25-34 ~
It  really challenged me to see all the confusion over what to do with my life from an eternal perspective. We can waste so much of the precious time God has given us here striving after things that ultimately would have no eternal value, or we can waste time always so obsessed with coveting what our neighbour has that we stop resting in Christ as our ultimate treasure. I'm as guilty of this as anyone else! 

Reader, I'm tired of living in this way, tired of not living in a way that reflects the cross and my Lord who died upon it for me. I want my life to be all about Him and not about me and simply what I want, I don't want my life to be wasted. I want my tombstone one day not to be declaring that I had a full and enjoyable life (great though that may be!) but rather that I have gone to be with the Saviour I love and lived my life for. How awesome would that be, what a great testimony! 

I know I've waffled on a lot tonight but this was swirling around in my mind and I hope it has challenged and encouraged you as much as thinking about it has challenged me! God bless you dear reader as you continue to serve Him.