Monday, October 19, 2009

Of a Good God and All the Time in the World

Of a Good God and All the Time in the World
Workout of the week: None.
People surprised by this: None.


I'm pretty hopeful this week, so it's probably just going to be reflected here - no big surprises. The title of this one really says almost all I have to say, but I'll dig into it anyway because finding the assumptions that you have to buy into so that you can accept something is just as much fun as the something itself.

May 2008.
If you looked at me or my life, it was very clear where everything was going. I'll throw out the bullet list for those that didn't know me, or those that don't know me as well as they might. We won't go into the why's or any of that too much, I'll just present the facts so we can move on.

Dating Relationship
Present (at that time): Dating one of the best girls I've met, end of story. Had been for 2 years.
Predicted Future: Engagement a couple months down the road.
Reality: Broken up within 3 months.

Present (at that time): Just finished the Masters in Finance, held a pretty darn strong GPA, life is smooth.
Predicted future: Easy entry into the job market in a Dallas investment fund as an analyst.
Reality: Unemployed 9 months. Need experience.

Present (at that time): Had several offers and interviews on the table. A couple for analyst positions, a couple on the "retail" side of finance. Turned down a "retail" side position, balked at an analyst spot that would have been a good one to have due to qualms with the people involved and another due to its physical location, still had several fairly strong connections that could probably do me a favor.
Predicted future: Good paying job doing what I loved, even if I didn't make as much money as I wanted, I'd be in a good spot, no doubt.
Reality: Unemployed 9 months. Due to flood of people being let go every entry level spot suddenly required 2-5 years experience. Interviewed with prior connections on days when they lost 100 million plus dollars on a couple occasions. Told I was too ambitious for a couple spots I would have *happily* taken. Living off limited college savings.

Present (at that time... and still... sort of): Owned a house in Lubbock.
Predicted future: Sell the house for a pretty good chunk of change.
Reality: Several people interested... couldn't get loans. Still have the house - renting it out which is nice, but it will be in the way before long of me buying a house in Dallas :-p

Living situation
Present (at the time): Moving here with one of my best friends, share a room in an apartment with another roommate for 3 months.
Predicted future: Buy a house, move there, cycle roommates through, do whatever
Reality: Shared a room with said friend for 10 months. Enough said.

So - there's a quick overview of what brought me to this... :)
The quick reality in all of that is this. Over time I had allowed these things to really take precedence in my life - God was welcome to do as he wished, as long as my plans remained the same. The more money I made, the more I planned to give. The quicker I got married, the better the marriage would surely be. All things were to God's glory... but only after they were to my glory. Honor and obedience that were rightfully God's had been wooed away from him through manipulation and given to another. My salvation with God was his constant beckoning - Him saying "I love you, wake up" over and over, showing the mercy He's so well known for. My recent sanctification was God's justice... the crushing of everything I continued to choose over him. When I wouldn't choose right, choices quickly (and violently) disappeared. All this to say - I was broken. In each of those bullets above is a story that reveals my supreme faults and leads to some eventual growth but we'll stick to the big picture today.

Throughout all this, I said the right things. I had brief moments of light and clarity in a dark time, I'll say that, but the time was no less dark. Despite the fact that I said the right things, and semi-believed them, they never hit home.

One thing that constantly came out of my mouth was this - "I just feel like God's got great things for me, and even if He doesn't, I'm ok" This quote really was my mantra. I knew it was truth whether it connected with my real feelings or not - so it stuck. As this all went on I developed what I've termed the "reality plus" syndrome. I've always been pretty confident, one of my biggest struggles is pride, but at this point, everything I had was stripped away... I should have had nothing to be proud of. Instead of clinging to the only thing that gave me identity in life, I clung to myself. Sure, I'm good at a nice variety of things, but I wanted everyone to know just how good I was - it wasn't a false confidence (as much as any confidence not found in God can be real anyway) - it was "reality... plus" (thus the name). This was my defense mechanism. I'd found my identity in these things so long that when I was left with nothing, I realized my foundation was never built on something permanent - that I had no hope, no confidence, no identity. Again - that's another infinitely long story that I'm just touching on here, but some day later we'll get into it.

All this leads to a reality that I find more freeing than I ever imagined it would be. When things were going badly, when everything I found my identity in was stripped away, I found truth.

I serve a God that is good. Above all else. He's not good like I'm good (where we take the things in our life that are good and magnify them) he is the real, powerful, embodiment of good. He's not only greater than - He's other than. He is good - In and of itself - so lets remember here, my God is good.

The second truth was that with God, I have all the time in the world. When everything's going wrong. When all the luxuries I want are gone. When I've lost hope. When I won't make it til tomorrow... I've got all the time in the world. Because all things work for my good. Come what may - success or failure, riches or poverty, earthly fulfillment or daily toil, if my focus is on the only thing that matters (God) - none of my joy or despair is derived from these things. Do they make me happy or sad? Sure, a bit. But they can never touch my core because the truth is that at my core, they don't matter and in time, I'll just grow closer to the only one who matters as long as that's my focus.

Further on this, there is so much of a push to find your career, get married, buy a house, have kids, settle down, and all that - the truth is, I have all the time in the world. Does the universe change if I start my investment fund job at 26 instead of 23? No... no it doesn't. What about if my house doesn't sell for another 2 years? Nope. What about if (God forbid) I'm not married by 28? No - it just provides a longer season where I have more opportunity and less to worry about in going *where ever* I'm sent. So not only do I have all the time in the world from a spiritual perspective - the reality is... I have all the time in the world on every level... Spiritual, emotional, social, or otherwise.

So... all that to say this...
I serve a good God and We've got all the time in the world.

1 comment:

  1. There are so many powerful points here. As someone who has also had “plans” for a job, life, and other things that were greatly impacted by the recent economical tragedies, I have a profound respect for your coming full circle. So many people, myself included, place such an emphasis on having it all (booming career, marriage, thinking about kids, etc) as soon as possible right after college. The reality leads me to believe that there are actually an extraordinarily small number of people who actually achieve the fairy tale. I’m not saying the fairy tale does not exist, quite the contrary. Your thoughts made me realize that sometimes you need to think outside of the box. That my story, whatever it may be, is still going to be amazing, just not necessarily written in the order in which I planned it to be. Because it isn’t about what I plan, they’re His plans. And that’s okay, because God is good and with my focus on Him, nothing seems impossible. Freedom from worry is bliss. Never ending "all the time in the world" bliss. Good stuff Sage. keep it up.