When I first got engaged almost two years ago (oh how time flies!), I remember feeling really excited and ready for the next stage in life. D and I had talked about marriage quite a bit and we both felt it was the natural next step. I was so excited to start wedding prep and planning our future. It was a very busy couple of months for us, with graduating, planning a wedding and moving to a new city. Frankly, it was a pretty stressful time though all very exciting.
I had a vision of how it was all going to turn out and it was going to be perfect. My Graduation was fun and rightly so, I felt a sense of accomplishment. The wedding was beautiful and I danced the night away just like I dreamed I would. We moved to a new city and made a new home for ourselves. It was a very exciting process and I was ready to begin my journey as a newlywed and fully-fledged adult. However, during this time, I forgot to stop and think about all the changes that were happening. In the midst of the busy-ness and madness, I forgot to take stock and see where I was at. I was not taking care of myself and all the emotions that came with these changes.
When the dust had settled and there was nothing but stillness, I found myself feeling… lost and really down. The life I had planned and imagined, I was now living but why did I feel so unhappy. The worst part is that I felt completely unjustified and guilty about my unhappiness. After all, there were a lot of great things happening in my life. I was newly married, I moved to a great city and found a good church. I should have felt happy, fulfilled and grateful that everything was ‘working out’ and my life was ‘coming together’.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
[Matthew 11: 28-29]
Sometimes we spend our lives making plans, writing to do lists and revelling in the busy-ness so much so that we forget to be still. All the supposedly perfect plans I had made did not match up to reality. Moving to a new city is hard, adjusting to newlywed life is hard. Sometimes things do not go to plan, sometimes they do but yet we still feel lost or incomplete. When we forget to rely on God, to be still with him and we try to rely on our own strength, we will surely fail and burn-out. I got caught up in the excitement of it all and I forgot to put God first. I put all my hopes in how perfect life would be and how settled I would feel. But the truth is, I felt far from settled and I struggled no matter how much effort I put in. I spent a long time searching and seeking fulfilment in what I believed a perfect life meant but quickly found myself feeling unfulfilled.
So what do you do when you have a good life on paper yet are so unhappy?
Honestly? I do not have the answer to that. But thankfully, Jesus does.
But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
I have been learning is that it is okay to not be okay. It is okay to be sad, it is okay to feel lost from time to time. It does not make me a failure, it does not make me ungrateful, it makes me human. It also highlights the importance of rest and stillness. God provides the most perfect place for that. He does not call me to be perfect, he does not call me to be happy and bubbly all the time or to have my life together. He simply calls me to come to him and be still with him.
We should not place our joy in our circumstances because circumstances change. Yet God remains the same, he loves me and desires me the same. I have to learn to rely on the strength God gives me, to trust in the plans he has made and is yet to reveal, even if it means not always being sure what I am doing. I have peace and I have certainty when I put my faith and trust in God. I have the most fulfilling and joyful life when I rest in him, seek him earnestly and cultivate the gifts he has given me.
“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.”
[Psalm 62: 5-6]
God has been teaching me that he is in control. He has allowed me to struggle so that I can learn to depend on him. He tells me to focus on the beauty of Christ and to receive the peace only he can give. He is my rock and my fortress.