Thursday, February 08, 2007

God, What's Your Plan For Me?

For most of my life I thought my entire being was meaningless. I had no ‘part’ in life – no role to play. I grew up the youngest out of four siblings. I was the baby of the family. They even called me ‘the baby’ until I was about to reach ten years old. During my teen years, I still was treated much like ‘the baby’ of the family. I was always protected and guarded. My mother never wanted me to leave the house or go out with my friends. I’m thirty-three now (or as I tell everyone- 29) she still doesn’t want me to travel or go far distances due to the evil world out there. She’s nervous something will happen to me. The constant fear she holds in her heart regarding my whereabouts sometimes drives me crazy, but other times I’m very grateful that someone loves me that much.

Back to thinking my life was meaningless. I had to direction. I had no guidance or advice, other than, “Stay home Deb,” or “Don’t travel so far away Deb,” and “It’s snowing, stay home instead.” I was ‘safer’ in my mother’s eyes if I were to lock myself up in my house and never go out again. I had an unconventional way of thinking and direction was taken lightly. Even while in high school I took up a few art classes. I’m a pretty good artist, and yet I would fail these classes. I’m a musician – I play by ear and I would fail music class. I remember sitting in trade school for commercial art. The teacher gave me a D- for my work. I finally gave up. Art and music wasn’t for me. I guess I didn’t have talent after all. I couldn’t comply with what they directed me to do. I was a freestyle artist and musician. I didn’t like reading music nor did I like reading directions about how to draw or paint. Art and music comes from the heart in my opinion – not from learning it. You could learn about it all you want, but will you have the passion for it?

After school, I started working for a medical firm as a temp. It trickled into big corporate jobs that left me feeling empty. Where was my life going? The churches told me that I was a sinner and I was never going to make it into heaven. I’m going to fail that too? So what’s my purpose of being here? Schools rejected me, music and art classes rejected me, the corporate world ate me up and then spit me back out – so where do I go? What do I do? What’s my lot in life? I felt confused and uneasy about my future. I worried too much about my past and way too much about my future. It consumed me. I never thought about ‘the journey’ getting to where I want to be. But, the question remained – where is it that I want to go?

About ten years ago I was sitting in my apartment after losing my job thinking, “How am I going to maintain this place?” I screwed up again. Failure kept flickering on and off in my mind. It haunted me. I’m a huge failure. Nothing ever works out for me. I held a huge pity party and decided to shut the world off. I grabbed a beer and sat in my bedroom with the shades down so it could be dark as night. I cried and cried until I had no more tears left. I drank beer after beer after beer. There were bottles lying at the bottom of my waste basket in my bedroom. I have never drank in the bedroom before. It was meant for the living room, dining room or at the bar of the place I lived – not the bedroom! I didn’t care though. It was silent, I was buzzed, and I let the racing thoughts of my judgmental opinions about myself dictate what kind of person I was.

My partner came home later that evening to find me passed out with a few bottles of beer tossed in the trash can. She shook me to see if I was okay. I woke up. My eyes were red and puffy from crying and my speech was slurred and muffled.

“Are you okay Deb?” She asked, holding my face to see what had happened. All I could think was, “I can’t tell her!” But the words came out as clear as day.

“I lost my job.”

She just hugged me and said it was going to be okay. But it wasn’t. We lived check by check and the thought of having one income for this nice place wasn’t going to cut it. The bills piled up and we had no where to go. Thoughts filled my mind with questions about food and clothing. How will we survive?

So one day I sat there and prayed. I prayed hard. And when I opened up the bible, I came to this passage:

So I tell you, don’t worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food, drink, and clothes. Doesn’t life consist of more than food and clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than they are. Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Of course not. And why worry about your clothes? Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won’t he more surely care for you? You have so little faith! So don’t worry about having enough food or drink or clothing. Why be like the pagans who are so deeply concerned about these things? Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. ~Matthew 6:25-34

This was the time when I was first believing as a Christian. I had never read that scripture before in all my life. I was a ‘newbie’ at reading the bible. Yes, I went through the motions of being a Catholic school girl who made her communion, confirmation and other things the church thought was necessary. But with the new church I attended, (Trinity Assembly of God) – it was a new outlook on how to worship the Lord. My prayers were getting answered more and I began to ‘hear’ God talk to me in so many ways.

The next day, I told my mother what had happened. I was scared she was going to think I was a huge failure. In my mind, there was no hope in coming back home. But, she asked me if I wanted to make the entire upstairs an apartment. I was thrilled and scared at the same time. But, my prayers were answered. We ended up moving in an upstairs apartment from my parents. We were finally catching up on bills and debts. We got back on our feet. My parents were gracious enough to invite us into their home, and in return we would get cleaners to do the entire house, give them money which was voluntary and helped out the best we could. We ended up living with our best friends - my parents. So it worked out well.

During that time, I started writing. I had never written before. It started to become a new passion of mine. I still wrote music, played guitar and worked on my art and photography, but writing took over more than anything else. It started out by sharing my beliefs with other Christians on a message board on the internet. I began correcting my errors, and all my typos, because there were so many people reading my questions and answers. I was getting self-conscious about it. I still have plenty of typos and sentences that are phrased wrong, but now I have an editor to take care of that when I write books. (Thank God!)

My journal about my walk with Christ turned into a book. It explained the struggles of what I went through and how God helped me through prayer. If God wanted me to work in an office – He would have still left me there. If He wanted me to be a musician or artist, I would have been one. But He guided me to write.

“I know the plans I have for you, “ says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” ~Jeremiah 29:11

The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” ~Psalm 32:8

So instead of worrying about my past or about my future, I try to focus on the present time – the journey getting ‘there’. If we miss out on the journey getting there, we miss out on our lives. There are so many things that happen during that process. By the time we’re done worrying about the past and the future, our lives have slipped away.

Don’t give up and never let the word “failure” settle into your heart!