So, I know this isn’t a very kosher Christian thing to say, but I’m just gonna go ahead and say it – sometimes I feel really angry with God.
When we first arrived in Raleigh we didn’t know anyone except Christina (my college roommate), but we were so blessed to make friends relatively quickly through a couple we met at our church. They lead our community group and through their welcoming us in, we became friends with them as well as a group of other wonderful people.
One of the things I have loved most about Raleigh has been the sense of belonging we have felt from those who have welcomed us in and made us a part of their community. This was the first time in my adult life that I truly felt like I belonged where I was, that Jonathan and I had made friends with other couples who were in similar life-stages and we were, that people were involved in our lives and we were involved in theirs. A few months ago when we were considering moving again to pursue grad school opportunities, I was so torn between wanting to pursue opportunities and wanting to stay here in this place where I saw a potential future for us. And that future wasn’t based on the careers we have here (which are way out of our fields) or the educational opportunities we’ve found, but on the people we’ve come to love.
In case you are really confused, that isn’t the part that makes me angry. The part that’s made me angry is that God now seems to be taking these very good things away from us. Our sweet friends who lead our community group suddenly got a job opportunity in the Chicago area and are moving in the next month (ironically they are moving within a few miles of where we used to live before coming here.) A second couple in our group suddenly had to opportunity to buy a fantastic little house, but it is in Durham and they will likely be looking for a church/community closer to them. Another girl from our group has been given the amazing opportunity to move to Scotland and work with a church plant there. So essentially, in one fell swoop, most of our community has fallen apart. (If you are one of our few friends sticking around, we are so very grateful for you!!!) Intellectually, I recognize that all of these things are good for our friends and that my happiness about where these people live is probably not God’s main priority. Haha. Deep down I know that truly loving people means wanting God’s best for them, even if it doesn’t feel like the best thing for you, so on that level I do rejoice to see God providing exciting opportunities for my friends. But that doesn’t make me happy about the situation.
Please understand, I know that there are many, many worse things that can happen (and have happened) in life than all of your friends moving away. I’m really not trying to make the case that this is the worst thing ever. But it has brought up some real frustration for me that is connected to something a lot bigger than whether or not I have a lot of friends nearby. And maybe that is something you can relate to, whatever your particular disappointments have been.
This may seem like a bit of an over-reaction, but I’ve been really discouraged since finding out about all of these changes. It’s not that any one of these people was some ultimate source of happiness for us, but I did find a lot of fulfillment in belonging to this group of people and growing alongside them. It genuinely has helped me through the struggles of not having a job that I love and not knowing what we should be doing in the future to feel that these relationships were the thing God had clearly placed in front of me. I felt that even if I couldn’t see God’s hand in other areas, I could see it in these relationships and I took it as a confirmation that we were in the right place, doing the right thing, even when it was difficult. And now it feels like that small measure of peace and security is being taken away. Additionally, I feel like things are moving forward in so many of our friends lives and I feel stuck in so many ways. Directionless and without even a short-term goal.
Why is it that the things you want to stay the same are always changing while the things you wish would change seem stuck the way they are forever?
The whole experience has launched me (yet again) into that series of questions I can never seem to get away from. What am I doing here? What should I be doing? There are so many directions I thought my life might take and so far, it hasn’t taken any of those. I have never held a job that I really loved. In fact, I have a difficult time even thinking of a job I truly think I would love. Some days I just want to give up and resign myself to living a boring life moving from one uninspiring job to the next just to make enough money to live on, but that terrifies me more than anything. I can seriously think of nothing worse than living a life with no adventure.
I feel like I’ve been asking God the same questions year after year, and he never throws me a bone. Sometimes I just want to scream, why did you make me this way and give me all of these desires and then leave me with no guidance about what to do with that? If my life is meant to be spent moving from one uninspiring job to the next just to make enough money to live, why would you give me this deep desire for my life to be meaningful?
And I know what you are thinking… “Depends on what you think is meaningful,” so let me put it this way. I don’t want or need an impressive career, and I don’t think I need to move to Bangladesh. I just want to be able to look back at the end of a day or a week or even just a year and put my finger on moments that mattered. Things that had eternal significance. And instead I find myself plowing through my workday, desperate to get home where I can get away from the stress of my office to make dinner and read books and watch tv shows and fall into bed exhausted by 10:00.
God has been very good to us. He has provided for us. He has given us more than we need to survive. And most importantly, he has given us himself. Maybe it’s sinful for me to even be asking for more. But I want more. I want to know what in this whole wide world I’m supposed to be doing with my life. Because today it just feels like I’m wasting it.
So, that’s where I am at today. Though I’m genuinely excited to see these friends follow God’s leading, I’m sad to be losing them, and I’m feeling discouraged that God seems to be at work everywhere except in my life. And frankly, all of these feelings are making me really angry.
The good news is, I don’t think God’s freaking out that I’m mad at him. And I don’t think he’s surprised. I believe he knows me intimately. That he understands the way my mind works and what triggers my emotions. That he loves me in my brokenness and foolishness. But somehow, on a day like today, none of those things are particularly comforting to me. Mostly, they are just making me a little more angry.
Well, at least you have someone sitting in the exact (I mean like down to the paint and rigging) boat that you’re in! I’m even more happy about our coffee date now. Maybe we can sing some sailing songs while in the same boat 🙂
I completely 100% understand what you mean! I made amazing grades in school, I worked hard at my jobs, and yet I was stuck. I had no interesting prospects on the horizon, and my daily routine felt so stressful despite how useless I felt in the grand scheme of things. I blamed Disney, I blamed the movies I watched growing up, and I resigned myself to thinking that my dreams had been made of fiction. Then I got pregnant and had Olivia, and I am NOT saying her birth solved all my problems, but it really changed my perspective! Becoming a mom has been more fulfilling than anything I could have imagined.
I hope I don’t add to your frustration by saying this if you are not ready for kids or not planning for them anytime soon. However, I do think that a woman’s heart has a small space saved for her children, and it aches from the time she falls in love until she gets to hold those babies for the first time. I’m really not sure that’s true for all women, but that’s my analysis of what my yearnings for meaning in life boiled down to. I still am searching for what to do with myself and my talents outside of motherhood, but the frustration on that front has seriously diminished since my new job as Mommy is so meaningful.
I hope that it helps knowing you are not alone even if our circumstances are slightly different! 🙂
PS Your writing is outstanding, and I very much enjoy your blog when I get the time to sit and read!
Thanks so much for this, Ruthie. I’m sooo happy for you and your sweet baby girl! I do think you are right that on some level I really want to just be a mom. I’m hoping to have a whole houseful of kids, but don’t feel like we’re quite ready to support them yet. I would love to be able to stay home with my kids when they’re little and we just aren’t in a place financially to be able to do that right now. However, if we got a surprise, we would both be so excited. 🙂 I also am trying to make sure that I don’t need to do any more school or anything like that before we start a family. I’m so glad to hear how fulfilling motherhood has been for you. It makes me so excited for the future! Also, I LOVE the name Olivia. So sweet.
Thanks for the encouragement about my writing. It’s definitely something I love and one of the things I feel like I want to be using…just have to figure out how. 🙂
I’m so glad you’re back! I’ve missed your posts and let me tell you, I think we might be the same person b/c I’m going through the SAME thing right now. The only difference is that we’re having a HARD time making friends here in Nashville, which makes me just want to get up and move again. Anyway, I had a complete breakdown the other day and I hate being a nurse and that scares me and my husband tells me to just quit, but I can’t b/c we need the little money I make and even if I did quit, I have NO IDEA what else to do. I feel like there’s got to be more, there’s got to be a reason I’m restless and searching for meaning… and I have all these desires to travel and have adventures and LIVE LIFE, but I end up watching the bachelorette and get jealous that she gets to travel the world on the shows dime and I don’t. ugh. Anyway, thanks for your honesty… you’re not alone. Hopefully our struggle will bring some clarity sooner than later 🙂