Her Views · On Being Christian

I go back and forth…

When out and busy, I wish I were at home doing nothing, and when I’m home I’m bored and wish I had a reason to go out and do something.

Tired of saying “No” when friends invite me out to do things because I can’t afford it, and tired of saying “Yes” when they offer to pay (though I’m incredibly grateful).

Feeling old, unwanted, and more out-of-touch every day I’m not employed, yet trusting that God can provide something awesome and uniquely suited to my abilities.

Resenting that God often chooses silence at difficult times when we feel we need Him the most, and by sheer willpower believing He’s still there – somewhere – orchestrating things together for good.

Willing to accept character refining during this difficult time, and wondering how exactly that will happen in the silence…

Embarrassed to be my age and struggling with faith this way, and thinking maybe others are too but we’re just not good at safely allowing people to talk about their spiritual struggles.

Continuing to infrequently blog, though I’m not sure how transparent I can/should be about my real feelings and struggles, and stop blogging for a season because no one – especially me – really wants me to be that honest.

What about you? Anything you’re going back and forth about?

18 thoughts on “I go back and forth…

  1. In “Prayer” by Philip Yancey I read a testimony by a woman named Joanne.

    “If you had asked me as a young Christian whether I believed in prayer, I would have quickly said yes. I would have told you about the time I spun out in the snow and didn’t get hurt, or the time I dropped a house key somewhere in my ’74 Dodge Dart and couldn’t find it for hours, until I prayed. Maybe God takes care of neophyte believers, I don’t know. He doesn’t seem to take care of old-timers, though.”

    I find that last bit disturbing, and honest, and puzzling, and strangely not-puzzling, and true. Perhaps the way he takes care of us changes. I’m with you, though–I resent the silence.

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  2. Well said. I have all those same feelings and decided it was just me that had those feelings. Wrong again and glad I’m not alone. Thanks for the honesty, Jan.

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  3. This will likely sound trite and perhaps insulting. Please understand that I don’t mean it to be so. I would just point out that, while your situation is much less than desirable, you enjoy a current freedom that many of us do not experience, and long for. Stay strong, and enjoy life.

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    1. Thanks for your gracious wording… I’m open to all feedback. I have two friends with cancer, so I’m aware that my own self pity falls short on at least one scale… I do get your point about the freedom I have not being employed, but it’s severely hampered by a lack of funds. πŸ™‚ Though I have accomplished quite a few projects around the house. HA

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    1. Dave, that is so true. I found that when I had an abundance of time, I didn’t have any money. Then when I got re-hired and had the money back, I lost all my time. We all have been affected or know someone who has been affected by this recession. I wonder what more we in the church can do to support the unemployed ( and the underemployed.) We can certainly network and cry out to the Lord!

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  4. You know what, jan…I’m married, with three kids, crazy busy all the time, yada yada…and I’ve still had nearly all those feelings. Like, within the last week. (Though there’s usually something to distract me!) Seriously, though, I think these feelings often have less to do with our circumstances than with us, although it can be hard to find our niche when we are in transition. But, even though I have a “vocation,” I don’t necessarily feel that, though it’s awesome, that it’s uniquely suited to my abilities, nor that I’m suited to it!

    Sometimes I think the feelings have to do with expectations and acceptance, and when we break free from expectations (both our own and others’), and accept our lot, and take charge of what we do within our circumstances, trusting rather than worrying, then feelings of ambivalence decrease. We shouldn’t be afraid to experiment, either, to try something, evaluate it, go with it or tweak it, or change our mind about it, or whatever.

    Regarding faith, I don’t think it has an “age,” really…a young person can have much, and great maturity, and an old person, hardly any! Just because age *can* bring peace, wisdom, faith, etc., doesn’t mean it does. And that’s fine…just shows that, at any age, we must rely upon God and not upon any laurels we may or may not have earned.

    You are a wonderful, talented, amazing person, jan, and I love your honesty and transparency. And your humility. Embrace your life, and enjoy it!

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    1. Thanks so much for this, Bonnie. I suspect God is really working to break thru my expectations about my life… must give that some more thot… I so appreciate your insight & encouragement.

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      1. Jan, it was you last year who advised that I pray with expectancy, not expectations. I think of that daily. It was GREAT advice. And I am still unable to do it. But God is hugely hammering me on this area of expectations–of him and of other people–and if you ever want to debrief to a listening ear who will just listen, call me. πŸ™‚

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  5. I really identify with what you’re saying Jan. I’m kind of in a unique situation in that I’m still working part time so I have an income but it’s ‘not enough’ – I need more work/income.

    On the other hand, I am truly enjoying the extra time off. Except for the stress of bill paying, (or not bill paying!), it’s been so relaxing to have 4 days off in a row every week. I’m thankful (so far) for the down time. I’m looking for work but I’m also taking lots of walks, reading, talking to friends, anything enriching that doesn’t cost money.

    Also wondering about this stage of life. What else can I do that comes out of whatever creativity I have rather than just disciplined work? Who am I apart from my job title, my being a mom and grandmother, my faith? Is there more that God’s created me to be that I’ve been too busy and stressed to see and how do I see it now…since I have more time to think and explore the question…? Been asking God…I’ll let you know what He says =)

    Miss you friend! We should walk-and-not-spend-money together one of these days!

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    1. Thanks SO much for your wise thoughts and encouragement, friend! I was sorry to hear about your situation, but it’s so good to hear from you! I am definitely learning to trust God in a different way than I have before, so I try to focus on his plans/goals for me in the process.

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      1. Thank you for a most excellent comment. πŸ™‚

        Actually, I’m really just an advocate of balance: men challenge women to take more risks in a healthy way, women can bring a healthy balance of reality & team work.

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  6. Thank you for being honest about your struggles. I have similar struggles, but not with employment. My struggle is prolonged singleness and I’m now over 40. It’s frustrating, discouraging, and it makes me very angry at God sometimes. Why me?? WHY ME?! I long for companionship and all that comes with it, then I am reminded that the grass is not always greener on the other side. A coworker told me today to be glad I don’t have a man because hers is being very lazy lately and it’s getting on her nerves. Then I read that Al & Tipper Gore are divorcing after 40 years of marriage. I have an ex-coworker friend sending me emails that make me suspicious that he’s working up to hitting on me. If so, he’ll be the 4th married man to hit on me in the last, oh, 6 years or so. Meanwhile the eligible, single guys look right past me as though I don’t exist. Oh, unless you count the 66 year old that lets me know he’s interested. 66. Give.me.a.break. 20+ years doesn’t do it for me. I’m not THAT desperate yet. I go back and forth between relief that I don’t have to deal with the difficulties of marriage and anger. Somedays I’m ready to throw in the towel on a life of faith.

    I’ve heard this song on the radio lately by Josh Wilson, Before the Morning. I love the opening lines; Do you wonder why you have to feel the things that hurt you?/If there’s a God who loves you/Where is He now?/Or maybe there are things you can’t see/and all those things are happening to bring a better ending/Someday, Someday, you’ll see.

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    1. You give a very wise reminder: every person we meet may be struggling with something different that terrifies them or makes them angry/hurt/disappointed with God. I have several friends over 40 who have never been married, and I don’t understand it either. I know it doesn’t help a lot – but hang in there. You’re not alone. Thank you for sharing your struggle.

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