in this world

Change is scary but lack of change is frightening, too.

Talisay Lakehouse

You’re at an age when you’ve got so many dreams to chase and so much love to give yet it feels like there is no right place to let them grow. So you repress them. You keep them inside until they’ve become too heavy to contain. The right opportunity will arise; it’s only a matter of time, you say.

You are doing the best that you can. You still try even when you feel small. You push yourself to be happy yet even with your best effort, the world doesn’t reward your genuine hard work. Aside from the weight of the dreams and the love you have inside of you, your frustration piles up. You shut your mouth even when you want to shout. You rest for a while and move on, even when you feel like a ticking bomb ready to explode any moment soon.

You notice this obvious gap between where you are now and where you want to be. You ask yourself every time you look in the mirror, “Shouldn’t I have it all figured out by now?” You recall all the times you could’ve done differently, said differently, and felt differently. Your heart is unsettled, your soul is restless.

Change. You fear change, yet you realize that you are also afraid by the absence of it. You’ve been in the same scenario for too long — the same career, the same relationship status, the same address, the same lifestyle, the same routine. It’s not that you hate where you are. You once loved this place. What frightens you is the idea of the present being permanent. You have evolved into different versions of yourself yet you’re still in this place. How so?

As you mature, you want your environment to mature with you. You look forward to change even if it gets chaotic and unpredictable. The unknown is scary yet familiar, so familiar that when it doesn’t come at the anticipated time, even the comfortable becomes uncomfortable, or worse, unbearable.

Like a freshman entering his first year in university, you once had this zest for learning and at the same time, the anxiety towards newness. New instructors, new schedule, new blockmates, new setting, new independence. Years go by and you’ve become well-adjusted. Couple more years and it’s all a piece of cake — you’ve outgrown your comfort zone. Something in you knows it’s time to step out of campus and walk into the next phase.

But for you, for now, the next phase is not here yet. You’re not even sure if it’s still coming. You are filled by distress as you realize that you’ve been excited about something that’s not guaranteed. You fear that you’ve kept the door open for too long only to find out you were waiting for no one. You’ve run too far to realize you are nowhere close. You prayed, over and over again. You hoped but you are getting tired. The once cheerful prayers have become desperate pleas as time went on. How long then must you keep believing, praying?

 

How long, O God?

The pursuit of happiness outside the timing and will of God is, as Solomon referred to in Ecclesiastes 1:14, like chasing the wind. Your successes and failures, no matter how big or little, in the end, will account for nothing if not for God’s glory.

If everything is vain, what is your reason for joy then? The Bible didn’t leave you hanging with no answer. Psalm 90:14 says “Satisfy us in the morning with Your steadfast love, that we may sing for joy¬†and be glad all our days.” What does this verse tell you?

First, the effect of God’s love for us is satisfaction. When we truly feel His abounding love, we will understand that it is our primary source of satisfaction and everything else is secondary. Only His love, no one else’s, can quiet your restlessness.

Second, savoring God’s love should be your first agenda every day. In this verse, the psalmist pleaded to be satisfied with God’s love not in the afternoon or in the evening but in the early part of the day: morning. Who do you go to when you’re awake and unguarded? It should be God.

Lastly, the effect of your satisfaction in God’s love is joy and gladness for all your days. Because God’s love for you endures forever, the joy you find in Him is not like the temporary and shallow happiness you find in the world, rather a deep sense of delight in your lifetime.

When was the last time you felt satisfied in the presence of the Lord?

The psalmist in Psalm 90:13, the verse before the one abovementioned, calls to God and asks Him to turn His face towards His people and have compassion on them. There was no specific remark on time but Moses asked “how long?” instead. This, to me, says two things. One is that you can control your response towards circumstances that God orchestrated or allowed, but you can never manipulate His will. Second is you cannot presume about God, but you can appeal before Him.

Psalm 123:2 gives us a picture of how we should look to God, like a servant attentive to his Master’s signal, ready to obey any of his wishes.

 

You are not stuck, only being prepared for something purposeful.

 

There is a season for every activity. The waiting and the working are all part of the journey.

If you’re involved in the church community, “season” is a term often said on every occasion: relationships, career move, marriage, loss, you name it. My women friends and I were talking about life and ‘seasons’ the other day when one of them out of the blue said, “That’s why it’s called a season,” she smiles. “Because it will end at some point. It’s temporary.”

Although I knew about this truth a long time ago, hear it again was a wake-up call. Everything on earth has a beginning and end. What you fear now may be something you’d be unaffected by next time. What you enjoy now may be something you’d outgrow and feel passive about someday. So savor these experiences with God. Be in the fullness of your season. You might think it’s been a long time since you felt an exciting thing come your way, but whatever you are waiting for, if it’s God’s will, He will make it happen.

You are not stuck, only being prepared for something purposeful. In the meantime, here’s a comforting truth amid our uncertain present: the Lord is a source of everlasting joy and peace for our yesterday, today and tomorrow.

 

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