My Steep Climb
Disclaimer: Most of my posts are supposed to be funny and are meant to entertain. This is not one of those posts. Feel free to skip it. If you want a fun post to check out, this one is a good place to start.
It’s time to admit a little secret I’ve been keeping from everyone: I’m struggling. If my relationship with God is best understood as a walk, right now I’m in the middle of an arduous hike. Trudging up the steep mountainside, I can’t even see the top, obscured by the treeline and the twisting path. My muscles burn and more than once I am forced to stop and catch my breath. Looking over my shoulder, I consider how much easier it would be to just give up, turn around, and go back. Going downhill is always easier.
There are a number of reasons for this feeling, but the biggest one is that I feel my life means nothing. Paul told the church at Ephasus that “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” I’m never happier than when I am serving others. I love volunteering with various nonprofit organizations and with my church. The problem is I’m so overworked at the job I hate that I have little time or energy for anything else. I’m exhausted, mentally, physically, and spiritually. A while back, I decided to make a change. If I’m really to live for God in the spirit of serving others, I want to do everything to that end. That means my job as well. So I began my quest to leave my job for a career in the nonprofit sector, applying to and interviewing with several great groups.
A few of the jobs seemed perfect. They were writing jobs for which I was more than qualified, with my Creative Writing degree and professional writing background. “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10). I was excied, figuring I finally learned why God have given me the gifts of creativity and writing talent. There was even a job I went for that was a support-based position, meaning I would have to raise my own salary. As scary as that sounded, I decided to go for it. Despite that, I keep getting rejection after rejection. Getting turned down for a job is certainly not uncommon, especially in this economy. Still, it stings a little worse in this case. These are jobs I went after thoroughly convinced that they were ways to serve God. Being told the employer doesn’t want me almost sounds like “God doesn’t want you.”
I’m not so self-absorbed to think I’m the only one with problems. I realize I am more blessed than many. I realize that following God doesn’t mean your life will be easy (in fact, the Bible repeatedly says the opposite). But just as Job, one of the Bible’s most righteous characters, comes to curse the day of his birth, I too wonder why I am here if I am continuously denied the chance to do what I believe I’m here to do.
I accepted an opportunity to help on a volunteer basis for one of the nonprofits that turned me down for a job. I don’t think I will be able to serve often, though, because of my work schedule. Instead of helping spread the Gospel or help starving children, I continue to clock in at the law firm, where I serve that other master: money. At a personal injury law firm, I work in one of the few professions that sides with Pilate when he asked “what is truth?” Truth is however you present it. Facts are ignored, suppressed, or vigorously challenged if they are not consistent with our representation of the “truth.” And it’s all in the name of money.
I’m writing this not to complain or to get sympathy, but to come clean. I go about each day as if everything is fine, smiling at the right times and joking around as usual. Even when friends from my church group ask how I’m doing, I lie, smile and say I’m fine. And then I go home, get on my knees, and beg God to draw nearer to me, to show me guidance, to comfort me. My only response is the echo of my cries off the bare walls. I’m writing this to be honest. Next time you ask me in person, I’ll say I’m fine. But I’m not fine. I’m struggling. And it was time I admitted it.