There are times when you get so discouraged, that your mind starts to play tricks on you. You’ll start to imagine the most irrational scenarios and convince yourself that those scenarios are more likely to come to pass than… well… reality. I’ve spent my fair share of moments with my head down, my face in my palms, and saying pitiful statements like, “Even my phone doesn’t like me; it just froze and I need to reboot it, and… stuff. I hate my life.”
Before I go on, let me just say that anyone who chastises you for having fleeting thoughts of discouragement, anger, sadness, or doubts about the future, isn’t really helping you. You do not want to completely repress certain feelings, which are an essential part of your very humanity. In fact, I wouldn’t even call any feelings “negative feelings”. They are all just feelings, as I see it, and they are important feedback to you about who you are and how you are reacting to situations. How you respond to that feedback, what you do at your next step, makes all the difference. But I have learned to stop trying to hide discouragement, or to pretend that moments of discouragement are not happening.
I recently found out about a couple of positions that would have been incredible opportunities for me and my career. As I saw the job description, I had the necessary qualifications and skills, I even had a couple of references that knew the people hiring. I was not even granted interviews. For a moment, I started to question everything. Am I just not cut out for this? Are there that many other candidates out there that I can’t get in the door anywhere? Is someone badmouthing me, is there a black cloud over me that I don’t know about? Is my resume awful?
So I had my moment of internal chaos, followed by lifting a bit too much weight at the gym, followed by tearing through the kitchen looking for comfort food (and having to settle for a little chocolate Christmas tree lost deep in the pantry; yes, it is Easter time).
At times like this, as you are regrouping and buckling down, it is important to return to the Bible and look at its stories, to remind you of what God sees in you. The entire book is full of characters used by God who had a pretty poor resume, did not look the part at all, had to wait a long time, and had monumentally screwed up in the past. Let’s do a quick survey.
Noah apparently had the tendency to get drunk and pass out naked. Moses killed a Hebrew before being called to lead the exodus, and he himself thought he was a stutterer as a public speaker. Samson was a womanizer. David didn’t look the part when he was appointed, and was a womanizer and murderer while he was king. Peter denied that he knew Jesus when the pressure was on him. Paul arranged for Christians to be killed before he was saved. That’s just the short list.
God’s economy is completely different from how things work in the world. God sees weakness in a person as an opportunity for glory to shine. God sees past regrets as an opportunity to redeem. God
sees seemingly insurmountable odds as just as chapter in a great story being written.
I have to continue to remind myself that I placed my entire being, my whole world, in God’s hands when I was adopted into God’s family through Christ. Therefore, my whole world is not going to crumble because I did not get a certain job. God is not going to miss any deadlines (if God misses my deadline… then my self-imposed deadline was entirely flawed and fraught with impatience). God is not limited in how He will bless and use me by my resume and history. He sees it all completely differently, and He is faithful.