2.19.2014

this doesn't have a happy ending.

UPDATE: Some loverly people started some amazing conversations in the comments below, so I'm responding to some (or all, haha) of them. I love having these chats with my readers, so please jump in and feel free to add your thoughts! :)

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There comes a time in every person's life when they have to sit down and decide what direction their life is going to take, how they will build their future, figuring out the shape of their goals. I'm sure a sigh of relief is tasted with satisfaction when they can finally answer that age-old question, So what are you gonna do with your life?

I just need to take a moment, breathe deeply, and confess something huge: I still don't know.

I'm nineteen-years-old, and I'm still wavering on what I think God is calling me to do with my life. I am longing to be doing something, something that has purpose and makes a difference. Sure, I work and keep busy; I scribble down words about every day, shoot a few pictures now and then, flex my vocal chords every chance I get, am inflicted with a severe case of wanderlust, and have had a fling with interior design for a while. But when I strip away the surface, does any of it truly matter? What I can't seem to pin down is what is it that God wants me to do for Him and Him alone. What is He shaping my life to look like, what is He preparing me for.

Carlotta summarized my feelings perfectly in her latest post: "I prayed daily that God would show me the right path and that he would make abundantly clear which I should choose. Still, the days ticked by and nothing ever seemed quite 'right.' I continued putting off decisions, feeling more anxious by the day, yet unable to make any commitments." I have so many interests, passions, and desires, but I can't seem to settle on anything. I've wondered if I'm just scared to commit and don't realize it, or if I'm simply trivializing the things I am doing now and they really do matter (though I doubt that's the case). But honestly, when the dust settles, it all comes back to I just don't know yet.

There are so many things I don't understand about life. I don't understand the existence of hamsters. I don't understand how people can treat relationships so cheaply. I don't understand why the world is going nuts over The Fault in Our Stars movie (frankly, I thought the book was awful). But really, I just can't understand why it's taking me so long to figure out what God needs me to do. I worry that I'm setting up camp in the mindset of being a "good enough" Christian, nesting in mediocrity and doing just enough commendable acts to get by. I'm frightened that too much time will slip through my fingers and my real opportunity will be gone.

Now, I don't want it to sound like I'm just drifting through life without any goals or ambitions, whiling away my time with whatever suits my fancy. I have work that keeps me busy. I have plans and long-term projects I'm working on. I'm planning something that will keep me really busy in about six months (more on that another time, though...). But I just don't think that's enough. What I'm praying about is what can I be doing right now.

So I can't help it. I'm scared of the unknown and I'm anxious that I'm wasting time and that's why this post doesn't have a happy ending. I don't have my answer yet... But maybe that's God's plan, ya know? To hold back the details for a while longer so I'll finally have to embrace that scary thing called trust, which will inevitably draw me closer to Him. Spirit, lead me where my trust is without borders; let me walk upon the waters wherever You may call me. And He alone will wash away my worry and my doubts, and eventually He will reveal His work to me, guiding me out upon the waters to walk beside Him in faith. This I know for certain.

Okay. So maybe this does have a happy ending.

28 comments:

  1. Oh, thank you for this post, Petie. I struggle with the same thing- especially the commitment part. I'm not always the best at acting adult-ish, and I feel that no matter what God is ultimately going to do with my life, right now He's helping me to, quite frankly, grow up- which sometimes I balk a bit at.

    But all of what you've written above...gah. It's just so relatable to me right now. It' nice to know I'm not the only person struggling with this.

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    1. Exactly! I'm turning 20 this year and that scares me to death. I just don't feel mentally/emotionally/spiritually ready to be that "grown-up." It's pretty obvious from all these comments that I'm certainly not the only one who deals with these doubts; it's encouraging to see all these other young ladies whom I respect and admire walking this same road with me. We're all in this together! :)

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    2. Yes, I'm turning 20 this year as well, and I've always had "Peter Pan syndrome" for pretty much as long as I can remember- even as a little kid, I was in no hurry to "grow up" and become a teenager. But I know it's not really healthy to so dependent on people, that is, in a childish way- it's sooo much easier for me to let other people handle the "hard" things and foist the responsibility onto someone else. Even besides that, like you said, I just don't feel prepared or mature enough- like I'm still a toddler trying on Mama's high heels! Definitely something God's been working with me lately, and I have a feeling 2014 is going to be a real turning point. Thanks so much for posting this. I needed it :)

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  2. Petie dear, thank you for being so honest.
    I'm a bit younger than you- 16- but I still feel like I should know where my life is going, and I don't, which rather freaks me out. Somedays I'm like "yeah I know what I'll do with my life!" and others it's more like "I'm staying under this blanket forever, and nobody can make me come out."
    Like Hayden said, it's nice to know I'm not alone.
    thank you again(: xx Riley

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    1. Well, Riley, I must admit it hurt a little bit to be this honest. :P But in a way, it felt good to just say it out loud. Er, or type it out loud? ;)

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  3. you basically just put how I feel into words. I totally get where you're coming from. I still have no idea what direction I want to go in (what God wants for me) and I've been feeling a lot of pressure lately to figure it out. Sometimes it's really frustrating, especially when I get the dreaded "so what do you want to go to college for" or "what are your plans after you graduate" questions. It often feels like a lot of my friends already know or have plans and I'm the only one who doesn't. It's comforting to know God already has a plan though, isn't it? Not only a plan, but an awesome plan!

    thank you for sharing your heart.<3

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    1. I think the pressure is what drives my anxiety. I'm just over here trying to figure out where God is calling me, and everybody else is always asking me what I'm up to or what I'm going to do. And then when I don't have a definite answer, I feel inadequate or behind. What I need to keep in my mind is that God knows everything I don't. I don't want to waste time and miss any opportunities He lays before me, but I don't want to get impatient either and try to rush ahead of Him, no matter what expectations people try to foist on me. :)

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  4. Brilliant post. I'm struggling with the same thing! It's awesome to know other people are dealing with the same questions. The two things that comfort me are that A) God's sovereign and B) He's loving.
    I so loved this post and re-read it multiple times. Thanks you for this, dear Petie.

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    1. Yes and amen, Jo. Thank you for being such a sweet friend. xo

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  5. I've been dealing with similar thoughts/emotions. I'm preparing to graduate in May, and I have no idea where I am supposed to be headed. A missions internship? A job? A time of stillness to sink into Him before I enter the "real world"? I've no clue. Thank you for the {perhaps unintentional} encouragement of this post. I needed it.

    {brokenbirdsong.blogspot.com}

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    1. You're not alone, sweetheart. :) I'm so glad this encouraged you.

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  6. MY GOSH YES AND YES. ok, for future reference, I read this post AFTER I wrote my letter to you. remember that for later, k? good. but anyway. this post. this post! honestly, just YES. lately I've been thinking the same things and wondering and praying and I realized something. since when did God ever say in His Word, "make yourself a ten year plan and also worry lots about the future and I leave your life decisions up to you, so you're on your own, kiddo!". neeeevveer. He said (loose translation of various bible verses hahaha), "don't worry about tomorrow. trust in Me. focus on doing what I tell you to do in My Word. follow My commandments. give your life to Me. surrender. I will give you direction!". so, I've realized that when I focus on God's general will for my life (what He tells us in His Word), then He reveals His specific will for my life. BUT OOH BOY am I bad at even getting His general will right!! sometimes it's just a battle to pray over and over again, please give me direction, Lord!, ya know? so. here's to hoping that God will show us what we each of us are gonna do this year with our lives and here's to being at peace even if He doesn't. LOVE YOU.

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    1. Hahahaha, alright. I'll keep that in mind when I read your letter. ;) yes yes yes! A friend and I were talking about this the other day... we can make plans for two or three or ten years from now all we want, but that doesn't mean our plans are the same as God's plans. ;) And we need to be ready to make any life adjustments necessary in order to join God in the work He's doing around us.
      I've often thought that maybe God simply wants me to grow deeper and deeper in my relationship with Him before He shows me what He wants me to do. And since my relationship with Him is top priority anyway, that's what I've been working on. :)
      I love how we've been talking about life and ministry and the fuuuuture so much lately. We're figuring this out together, and I'm just so happy you're in my life. :) LOVE YOU TOO.

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  7. to be honest here I got my wisdom teeth out this morning and am maybe still under the influence of anesthesia but did I write this? because what on earth do we have the same brain. like I legit had to read parts of it like five times to make sure my brain didn't make it up. what the heck how does this HAPPEN.

    anyway, ahhhh this is so GOOD. and hard, the hardest thing in life, the waiting game, trying to figure out where God wants you. and he's so faithful (and I love that song), but yeah. man. yeah. trying to figure out right NOW what you're supposed to be doing is stressful and scary. gee sometimes it really blows my mind how people get through life without Jesus.

    BUT FOR REAL THOUGH YOUR FIFTH PARAGRAPH?!?!?! I'm so confused. hamsters are pointless and ugly. like have you read my comment form for my blog? "Sweet comments are the best thing since sliced bread. Unkind comments are the worst thing since hamsters." HOW???
    and I think we talked about that second thing--just being baffled at people treating relationships with other people, other souls, so lightly. I legit had that conversation with a friend and my sister this week. (also have you heard this quote from C.S. Lewis: "There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.")
    and also you should see me whenever someone posts anything about The Fault in Our Stars movie or the preview comes on..ughhhh. gross. the book made me so cranky. did we talk about this? I thought I was the only one under the sun who didn't like it.

    ARE YOU ME OR CAN WE BE FRIENDS OR WHAT IS THIS SORCERY. anyway sorry for the novel, blame it on the drugs hahahah. this is crazy. and also very very good and thanks for your honestly and you'e cool and here's a virtual hug okay bye.

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    1. okay. this is getting scary with how often this is happening, Jenn. ARE YOU READING MY MIND OR SOMETHING STAAAHP IT.
      Maybe that's my problem... I really just hate the inaction of waiting. I prefer to be always doing something, always busy. And it totally stresses me out that I'm not sure what I should be doing *right now* to keep busy that is purposeful and valuable and what God wants from me (that was kind of a convoluted sentence...). Haha, I don't think people CAN get through life without Jesus. Just saying.
      WHOA. So I just went and looked at your comment form... I'm sure I've seen it before, but ya know, I've slept since then and I forgot. This is just plain freaky, Jenn...
      Yup, we talked about relationships and all that jazz when you were at mah house. wow, that quote is amazing. "there are no ordinary people." now that is something to think about...
      ummmm, I remember talking about TFIOS with someone over skype, and now that I think about it, I think it was you, haha.
      We just need to face the fact that we have the same mind, k? It's fate. Destiny.
      And I liked your novel, justsoyaknow. :)

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  8. Wow.
    Petie, you summed up my inner turmoil for the past two months absolutely perfectly! I'm a homeschool graduate and have been wrestling with that same question, "WHAT NOW?" ... to no avail.

    Thank you so much for your honesty... Knowing that I'm not alone in this struggle helps a lot.
    Will be praying for an answer to your questions! :)
    Blessings... xox

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    1. Yay for homeschool graduates. :D
      Thanks so much for your prayers, dear! you have mine as well. xoxo

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  9. THANK YOU FOR THIS! I read this after I had written you yesterday afternoon, but golly this is exactly where I have been! I have always detested waiting and always like to keep busy and know exactly where I'm going, But God has stuck me in the middle of several situations where I have to wait and trust in His timing. I mean, even with college, I have absolutely no idea what I am going to major in or what I'm going to do with my life.

    Even with all my turmoil and confusion, I can be so confident that God is using it to best glorify him. Right now, I'm in the middle of something where I've done what I could and now I have to wait on the Lord to complete the rest. Actually, I've been reading through Trusting God by Jerry Bridges and have been thoroughly convicted over and over again about not doubting God.

    We are dependent on God to enable us & prosper us in our efforts. We must depend on God to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. We must, to the same degree, depend on Him to enable us to do what we must do for ourselves. . . There are times when we can do nothing, and there are times when we must work. In both instances we are equally dependent on God (Jerry Bridges).

    It has really helped me to read through that book and I would strongly recommend it! It has helped me hugely. I'll definitely be praying for you, Petie. Love you!

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    1. Oh wordy, I love that quote. Sounds like a book I need to read!
      One thing we can rest in during our turmoil and confusion is that even if we have no idea what God is doing, if He is using us to glorify Himself then that is all that matters and it's all worth it. :) Love you, Nat!

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  10. I am about to graduate and trying to choose a college and a direction. I know how you feel!

    That was a good ending, I thought. :) I just read Ecclesiastes the other day, which is great for remembering that God made our lives unstable/ out of our control on purpose, to make us depend on Him. It's so good to know He knows exactly what will happen. As one sweet lady in my church reminded me, we just have to be faithful to make most of what He's given us today and be content in Him.

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    1. Ecclesiastes is one of my favorite books! God works everything exactly as He wants it in His perfect timing. :)

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  11. ...it is difficult to steer a ship that isn't moving...




    Just to let you know, I have been so blessed by you and your blog. I found you through a tortuous connection of different blogs, but I just wanted you to know that in a 'christian homeschooling world' that is increasingly full of license and 'letting go of values' and chaos and rebellion, I was given the gift of your blog, which is just refreshingly all about Jesus. You don't fall into either license or legalism, you just love Jesus and try to please Him. It's revolutionary! :) Don't worry, you are certainly not settling for mediocre, at least not as I see it! (from a thousand miles away.)

    So, thank you. thank you. for everything that you have done for me and my relationship with Christ.

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    1. Oh my wordyness. To hear you say that my blog is "refreshingly all about Jesus" just lifts my heart so much. That is exactly what I strive for! You are so welcome, sweetheart, I am so glad God has been using my words to bless your heart. <3

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  12. Thank you so much for this post, Payton! (Though I have to disagree about the hamsters, they are so funny and Beatrix Potter like. :) ) I am seventeen and there are so many moments where I am going "I enjoy doing this - but is it what I am truly called to do with my life." There are so many things you can love to do, but it is so hard to actually commit to something and know what the particular gifts are, that He wants you to dedicate the greatest part of your time and work to. I suppose are words should be, gotta keep praying. And another thing, that I always need to remind myself, is that even the "waiting moments" of life are to be His too, if that makes since. :)

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    1. One of my struggles is that I have *so* many interests and passions, I don't want to tie myself down to just one of them! :) I am trying to see how God can use all of my interests collectively for His glory. Or maybe He wants me to just focus on one! We shall see. :)

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    2. I'm late to the party but this made me cry and I just can't even talk about it on such a public place but yeah. Wow.
      GOD IS SO GOOD.
      (and generous, for giving me a friend like you I don't deserve in the slightest.)

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  13. Girl, loved this post. This may not be an encouragement (LOL) but I'm going to be 25 this year and I still have no idea. I *think* I know what my passions are and what *I* want to do with them, but not sure how that all plays out or if that's what God wants. I don't think anyone does, honestly...it's more of one-step-at-a-time, having to trust Him with it. <3

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    1. Right there with you, Ally! Praying for you as you seek God's will. :) And you're right, it is totally a step-by-step, day-by-day process. I think He does that on purpose so we have to trust Him with everything. :)

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