I am guest posting over at the Hoboken Grace Blog this week about how to pray in the midst of pain. We’re currently in a series called “In the Meantime: What do you do when there’s nothing you can do?” which, in (too) many ways, perfectly describes my life right now. I am sure many of you can relate to the idea of figuring out how to make it through a waiting season. If you are a person who prays, I hope this encourages you!
Sometimes I find it hard to trust God. I have experienced His love and grace in such richness throughout my life, so I know He will prove faithful yet again. However during difficult seasons, my heart can easily seize up, unable to believe that He will truly meet me in the midst of my pain. My prayers become desperate with each passing day they remain unanswered: God, please fix this. Please heal this person, please show up in this situation, please restore, please show mercy. Please. Please.
So what happens when our prayers go unanswered? It can seem easier to give up on communicating with God altogether, enacting a kind of silent treatment against our Creator. We barely open the Bible because we don’t believe God will use it to speak to our particular situation. Surrounded by pain and questions, we allow ourselves to be ruled by anxiety, often adding to an already difficult circumstance.
Yesterday was my last day in my twenties. As strange as it seems to let go of this decade (already?!), I am looking forward to my thirties and what the future holds.
This has been a wonderful, frustrating, identity shaping, and tear-jerker of a decade. As I approach thirty, I’m choosing to believe the best is yet to come. Looking back, here are some of the most important lessons I learned in my twenties.
1. You have issues. Start dealing with them. We all have wounds from childhood and past relationships. The sooner you admit this and start working towards healing and wholeness, the more you will have to offer the world.
2. City life as a 20-something is a blast. I finished college in Philly, lived five minutes outside of downtown Knoxville while working my first real job out of school, and spent the last five years living in Hoboken. With endless opportunities for entertainment, food, and culture right outside my door, it would have been had to imagine living this decade of my life anywhere else.
3. God is listening and speaks to us. For years I threw my prayers in God’s direction, and walked away hoping God would later hunt me down and give me an answer. Over the last decade I’ve learned that there is greater value in being silent before God than talking God’s ear off.
4. Heartbreak is inevitable, but can be worth it. It’s pretty much a guarantee that if you fall in love in your 20’s, you’re also likely to have your heart shattered. Still, taking a big leap for love to find out if its worth it (even if its not) can lead to learning your most important lessons.
5. You probably won’t land your dream job. Most of us in our twenties think we will have “arrived” in our careers by now… even though we’ve been working for less than a decade. There are a lucky few of us who have, but the good news is the majority are still figuring out what’s next.
We all have plans for our lives – specific ways we think they should go.
We imagine that because we are good people who make the right choices, we will somehow be rewarded. Or for those of us who believe in God, we think because our faith is strong and we trust Him unwaveringly, He will give us the deepest desires of our hearts. This is true especially for those big milestone things: the dream job, the perfect spouse, or a happy, healthy family. Sometimes things seem to work out that way, but quite often they do not.