The Unwelcome Perspective of Illness

Tomorrow I start my first grown up full-time job, but I’m not starting it in the way I had planned.

Since Thursday, I’ve spent the majority of my time in bed or on the couch with assorted icky illness symptoms. It’s not how I like to spend any of my weekends (or days, hours, or minutes), but especially not before a rather monumental life change.

Maybe it was kind of a good thing though. Don’t get me wrong–if I could get those days back as healthy ones, I certainly would. I was rather miserable at times (borderline pathetic, really) and had a list of things to accomplish that not only didn’t get completed, it never even got made. 

As the upside, I had very little time to fret over my anxieties about starting a new job. It’s not as though they completely disappeared, but they got shoved to a very small compartment of my brain that I had very little time or energy to mull over. Instead of, “What if everyone can tell this is my first time with a grown up job?” (*see side note), my thoughts became, “How long can I stay awake before taking another nap?” Instead of, “What if I ask a dumb question?” I thought, “Is it too much of an exaggeration to say I feel like I got run over by a Zamboni?” Instead of, “What should I wear on my first day?” I thought, “Do I have the energy to put on socks today?”

My thoughts became much more concentrated on the now, and much less concentrated on the a few days from now. Which is not a bad place for them to be all the time. Even as I anticipate the half day I’m going in for tomorrow (only a half day due to lingering illness), there’s nothing I can do about tomorrow afternoon or the rest of my first work week from right now. Maybe a small bit of planning and preparation, but that’s it. Tomorrow will take care of itself.

More accurately, God will make tomorrow take care of itself.

Funny how feeling like you got ran over by a Zamboni can put things in perspective.

Til next time…

~Brianna!~

p.s. Have you ever had an experience that, though unwelcome, helped put something in perspective for you? Will you share it?

*Side note:  Which they probably will, and if they didn’t already, thanks to the magic of social media they might end up reading this someday–hey new coworkers!

Thoughts from Dietrich

In June, I signed up for an email devotional that ran for 40 days, taken from the works of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I missed the original sign up period, so I jumped in partway through.

After it finished, they offered it again. The exact same thing. Having missed part the first time through, I figured I might as well sign up again. Reading some of the posts for the second time, I picked up on things I had skimmed the first time. Consider Bonhoeffer’s words on worry (emphasis mine):

Abuse of earthly goods consists of using them as a security for the next day. Worry is always directed toward tomorrow. But the goods are intended only for today in the strictest sense. It is our securing things for tomorrow which makes us so insecure today. It is enough that each day should have its own troubles. Only those who put tomorrow completely into God’s hand and receive fully today what they need for their lives are really secure. Receiving daily liberates me from tomorrow.

Worry is always directed toward tomorrow.”

I’ve seen this in my own life; usually when I flip into hyper-worrisome mode, it’s not about something happening that same day. Even if it is, I’ve probably already worried about it for quite some time before the day arrived. Which is why he continues,“It is securing things for tomorrow which makes us so insecure today.” 

This is where the idea of not worrying and the actuality of it get so tricky for me. It doesn’t work to not plan ahead; if I didn’t plan, I’d rarely get anything done. If I hadn’t planned ahead, I wouldn’t have filled out my application, applied for loans, packed, and shown up at college to move into the dorms and start my education. There’s an element of “securing things for tomorrow” that comes with planning. I don’t think God wants us to never plan anything, because that doesn’t seem like a very responsible way to live and to take care of the things God has entrusted me with.

So how do I make sure I plan, but don’t worry?

Fortunately for me, Bonhoeffer told me that too: “Only those who put tomorrow completely into God’s hand and receive fully today what they need for their lives are really secure.”

There’s so much in those words it’s hard to even take it all in. Not only do I need to completely trust that God has tomorrow in control, I need to receive fully today what I need for my life. I’m not really sure what that looks like in regular life–going to work, eating supper, going to church, hanging out with friends, doing the dishes. Somehow, in that, to receive fully what I need for life.

Dietrich, you’ve certainly given me lots to think about.

Til next time…

~Brianna!~

 

If I Could Plan Things

Yesterday I planned out the next year(ish) of my life.  Relationships, jobs, living arrangements, trips, some goals, and more were all accounted for. “If I Could Plan Things,” I called it.

A dangerous thing to do, maybe. If I keep looking back at it, checking off things that do happen and lamenting those that don’t, I have set myself up for frustration and letdown. My life could become consumed with regret at the goals I did not achieve, things that did not happen in the timeline which I wanted them to.

However, my reason for thinking through what I would like my next year(ish) to look like was not to create a checklist, meticulously putting a tick mark next to each thing as it happens. Fortunately I have realized that no matter how hard I may try, I cannot plan everything that will happen. And truthfully, as I thought about what I’d like the story of my next year(ish) to read like, I got kind of…stuck. After covering my major plot points, characters, and setting, I couldn’t think much further.

My point in thinking through this was to lay out what I’d like to happen so I can see what IS in my control. Because lots of things are NOT in my control. To a large extent, I can’t control which characters come into my life and which leave it, though I may be able to control the environments I put myself in in which I might meet new people. I cannot control major plot points, such as which jobs may or may not be offered to me, but I can control which ones I apply for and how my resume looks. I cannot control unexpected circumstances that may land me in a different location than I am in or have ever been before, but I can control how I accept those changes. And though I have control over some of these things that may affect some of the goals I’ve set for myself, I also have to accept that failure is possible. And if I do fail, even that can turn out okay.

There are some things in my plan that I have no control over. I believe my God has control over all of it though. Even the things I can actively work towards, he ultimately governs. Which is both comforting and unnerving. As has happened before, his plans may not line up with my desires. And that might (and quite possibly will) frustrate me.

Except I believe, though I may not always feel, that he absolutely knows what is best. Not necessarily what will make me the happiest, or what will be the easiest, but what is best. So even though I might have a plan for what I’d like to happen, ultimately it comes down to trust. To trust my God is working things out in ways I cannot see, for a life that I may not have planned.

Til next time…

~Brianna!~