I always get a little nervous when I have somewhere to be and I know that I’ll see people from my past. Not because I don’t want to see them but simply because, life. Life moves and goes on as it does. People change and move and grow and get married and have kids and careers and start exciting new ventures and move to far off exotic places. You know, life.
I was getting ready Saturday morning to go somewhere, where I was going to see quite a few people that I had lost touch with and no longer see. Some whom I haven’t seen in like years! I started to panic. Like a real anxiety stricken panic. As I got ready, in true Jenn fashion, by pulling out 75% of my closet and then leaving it on my bed or floor to find the most appropriate outfit. I started to realize all of the people I could potentially run into and I started to focus on the one question that is almost always guaranteed to be asked. “What are you doing now?” Or “what’s new?” Or “How are you doing?”. Yes, how are you doing strikes me with fear and trembling. Especially when I haven’t seen someone in years. I started thinking of how I would respond.
My thoughts went something like this:
People: Hey Jenn! It’s been so long! How are you? What are you up to now?
Me: (tiny beads of sweat forming on my forehead) Oh, you know, same old thing. I still live in an apartment with a roommate. I’m still not married and I have no kids yet. But hey! I work from home in my pajamas now! So, there’s that. I mean some days I don’t even shower!
People: Uh, Oh, wow! Well, I’ve been busy getting married, maybe you saw my wedding featured in Martha Stewart Weddings? Anyways, I have also birthed children whom I now have the very important job of raising up to be good people who love Jesus. On the side I started my own business of making a very specific kind of jewelry from my garage that I sell on Etsy and business is booming!
Me: Oh… Awesome! So, I’m gonna go find a large purse to stick my head in now. See you in another ten years and hopefully I’ll have something more exciting to share. (Runs away arms flailing overhead to her car to bury herself in her purse and cry shamefully all the way home)
And that’s best case scenario!
As one would, I started to succumb to my panic. A friend called as I was putting on makeup and she prayed with me and tried to calm my nerves. She actually stayed on the phone with me until I got to where I was going. I tried to reason with myself that today was not about me. In fact today was very much about a family that I love and has absolutely nothing to do with me. I pulled up to the place and parked my car, my friend still on the phone encouraging me and really wanting a play by play at this point and I started to feel better.
Until I saw some people.
And fear reared it’s ugly head again and started whispering lies into my ears. Lies about not being enough, about not really being an adult or really doing anything with my life at all.
I mustered up the courage to get off of the phone and to run inside. I dodged some people and was embraced by a couple others and thankfully was saved by the bell as the actual thing I was there for was about to start. I walked up and found my seat and sat, thankful that I didn’t have to interact for a while.
I made it out in one piece without embarrassing myself too much and really dodged the questions I feared most. But that wasn’t the issue. The issue lays deep within my heart. Deep inside something is broken, my view is skewed and inaccurate.
Later that evening after I was calm another friend called and I spilled the whole story and panic. She spoke words of truth over me. She lovingly pointed out that life is not measured by a husband and family. Life is not measured by a career. I should not be measuring my life by anything but Gods word. I need to stop thinking about life in earthly mile stones and start taking it day by day as God has outlined in His word:
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field , how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘what shall we eat?’ Or ‘what shall we drink?’ Or ‘what shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Do. Not. Be. Anxious.
The very next night I started a new book that is based on the book of Titus. As I sat reading Titus I thought “this, this is what I need to measure my life up against”. Believe me I am failing at 90% of what is being outlined in Titus but there was a calm that washed over me as I read the qualifications of being an elder and how older women are to teach the younger. How young men are to conduct themselves and how we, as believers are to be ready. How we are to live our lives out day to day moment to moment. We are not to be measured or to hold ourselves to some kind of earthly barometer. Shame on me for doing so. I can rest in the fact that everyday I am growing and learning and following the Lord. That I can look to His word and take this life that He has given me one step at a time in sync with what He has mapped out perfectly for me. Not for the girl next door or the people I used to know but for me. I can grow in and learn and measure myself up against His word and within the boundaries He has set for me. No, my life doesn’t look conventional and maybe I haven’t moved to a different state or started my own business or have gotten married or had children but so many intangible things have changed and moved and gone on in my life. Things that are not measurable by earthly standards, things that have changed inside of me. Lessons the Lord has taught me and changed me through. Lessons and trials and changes that have changed the core of who I am to, hopefully, become more of who He wants me to be. Maybe I don’t have a grand and exciting answer but I can say that I have grown to know and love the Lord more and more as I walk with Him and that’s all that really matters I suppose.