“Some days I actually feel okay.” My friend’s voice perked up on the other end of the line. “I feel like I’m going to get over him soon, and I’m happy, and it’s not so bad…” Her voice trailed off a bit. “And the next day, it just feels so hopeless, and I wonder, ‘What if this doesn’t get better for a long time?’”
I reassured her that her up-and-down thoughts were completely normal. In fact, she was expressing my current reality pretty darn perfectly. Except, instead of a breakup, I’ve been rocked by loss of a different kind: job, home, familiarity.
Life transitions have a way of shaking up your equilibrium like that, don’t they? They can make you feel like someone has suddenly cut the rope that tied your anchor down, and now you’re on a boat that you don’t know how to operate. The seas are having their way with you, and you feel like you’re at the mercy of whatever that day – that minute – has in store.
One moment the waters are still and calm and you think to yourself, “This is actually kind of nice. I like this new place.” You look up at your surroundings and take in their beauty. You realize that you’ve been given an opportunity to rest.
And then, just as quickly, the seas are full of white caps and churning waters, and your stomach is following suit. You feel so lost and sick and you wonder how long it’s going to take for this to be over. You know you should trust that God is going to provide and protect you, but all you feel like doing is laying down in defeat.
The Bible holds so many stories of God bringing his people through dangerous waters. From the Israelites safely passing through the Red Sea to Jesus reminding the disciples that he would be their calm in the storm. We learn over and over again that the waters – a symbol for chaos – are no match for our God.
So why, then, is it so hard to trust in those stormy moments?
I think it’s because we assume there’s something better on the other side. And yes, while it can feel safer when we’re on solid ground, we’re actually just as steady in the waters because we are with God.
I know this is true, but I’m wrestling with it right now. I want to believe that God’s goodness is just as real in this season of uncertainty as it is when I feel like I’m in my sweet spot. But, if I’m being perfectly honest (which I always strive to do in this space), I can’t always get there in my mind.
There are days when my faith is weak. When the job search gets the best of me. When I doubt that God has something good for me in LA.
And then, just like that, God sends something my way to remind me that he loves me. Just now, as I was struggling through this post – knowing that it wasn’t going to get wrapped up in a neat little bow – a certain song began to play, causing me to blink back hope-filled tears.
The familiar piano introduction to our wedding song, The Piano Guys’ version of “A Thousand Years,” took me out of my sadness and reminded me that God does have something good for me in LA. In fact, he’s already given me an incredible gift: my sweet husband.
It took a while to find James – for God to bring us together – longer than my twentysomething self liked most of the time. But his timing was absolutely perfect.
I waited a long time to meet James – just as he waited for me – and I didn’t always recognize that the breakups and heartache were not a “no” from God. They were a “wait.”
That’s why we chose “A Thousand Years” as our processional. “One step closer,” the song says. “I will be brave. I will not let anything take away what’s standing in front of me.”
Those lyrics express how I desire to live – to appreciate whatever is in front of me, instead of always wishing to be past the turbulent times. One step at a time, I’m learning to accept my current circumstances – whether on sea or on steady land – and I’m trying to view all the closed doors and the slow days as a gift. A gift of rest, and an opportunity to settle into our new home.
I will try not to rush this season. But I will keep asking God what’s next? What’s his vision for our lives in LA? What’s the right next step in my career?
For now, the answer is “wait.”