Don’t be fooled by outward appearances. A lot of people who ‘seem’ to have their lives together are struggling with the best of us. No one’s life is all ‘put together’, not even mine. If you judge and measure your own success or happiness by others’ outward appearances, you’ll live believing a running lie. Don’t do it!
What you see here, what you see in my life in particular? It’s not perfection. It’s not having everything together. What I have is Stubborn Joy.
Stubborn Joy says, even though everything is not going the way I planned it, even though I am not where I want to be (which I think I mention quite a bit), I trust and understand that there is a purpose. I understand that every season serves a purpose. I trust that if I have banged on every door and nothing has availed, it’s because where I am is where I’m supposed to be for this season. I CHOOSE joy over sorrow and depression. It’s a decision I make repeatedly. Every time a door closes or I face a challenge, I CHOOSE Joy. I choose to trust that God is working something out in me in this season that is relevant to my dreams coming to pass.
And guess what? Joy isn’t like happiness. It isn’t dictated by circumstances. Joy says, while everything seems to be going to hell, it isn’t over, and nothing I go through is a waste, so I will remain hopeful, and in trusting I will find peace and contentment even as I walk through whatever I need to to get to where I want to. And in that process, I trust that every detour serves a distinct purpose to make me into the person I need to be to do what God is calling me to. I choose to be joyful regardless of the circumstances even as I work with God to learn whatever I need to learn in this season and grow more and more into the person He’s called me to be.
Take Joseph. God gave Joseph a dream that signified that he would have lordship over his whole family- and in fact the whole of Egypt and its outlying nations. But he had no idea what the dream really meant in the first place. And what did he do? He went and bragged about it to his family. AND he was always reporting his brothers to his father. No one liked him. Clearly, at seventeen, Joseph didn’t have the makings of a leader.
So what happened? God took him through a couple seasons. He was betrayed by his own brothers. Sold off into slavery. Horrible right? But what happened then? God stayed with him in slavery, and Potiphar put him in charge of his whole household. In this he learned how to serve and manage a household.
THEN what happened? Potiphar’s wife accused him of rape. So he gets thrown in jail. Sucks. But guess what? God was with him and gave him favor in the eyes of the jailer, so he was put in charge of all the prisoners even though he was a prisoner himself. In this he learned to lead the most stubborn of people, and learned how to get people to follow/like him- something he never achieved with his brothers.
THEN he meets a baker and cup bearer in prison, interprets their dreams (something which he couldn’t do before- so CLEARLY he’s grown a lot in this seemingly horrible season). He asks them not to forget him when they get out- no shocker, they do.
But one day, thirteen years later, when the season was right, when God had done everything to prepare Joseph to inherit the dream he gave him, when he had learnt how to lead, how to serve, how to be humble, how to seek God’s face, how to be patient and trust the process no matter what the season looked like, God lifted him out. God gave him what He had promised him when he was ready for it, and not a day more.
The Bible sums it up in Psalms 105:
Until the time came to fulfill his dreams,
the Lord tested Joseph’s character.
There is no season you go through under God’s will that doesn’t serve a purpose. There is no season that is permanent. I understand how you feel. I have been there, and contrary to popular belief, I know a TON of people who have been there too. I know people who have graduated with Ivy degrees and been unemployed for years. My boss told me of how even with a PhD she was unemployed for 3 years (and how God sustained her through it all)! You are not some isolated event love, and I hate that you feel that way. Of course people readily share good news, but no one shares the lack thereof. You are not alone in this. There is nothing wrong or different about you. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 10
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
You are especially not alone when you have God. He exists! And if you trust Him and lean into Him, He will help you interpret the season. He will show you the character flaws He’s trying to correct before He gives you the dream. Maybe He’s trying to teach you to rely solely on Him. Maybe He’s teaching you humility and how to ask for help. Maybe He has bigger plans for you than you have for yourself, and He’s waiting for you to aim higher so He can open that perfect door for you.
Don’t give up on God. I promise you He hasn’t taken His eyes off of you for a second. Trust Him. It’s His will that all your needs be supplied. As long as you’re still alive, you can believe that things will get better.
If you need help applying to jobs, don’t be embarrassed seek it out. Joseph himself is a prime example of how pride comes before a fall. I’d personally be glad to help and give you any tips I can. And I’m sure there are tons of people who have gone through the same thing who are also willing to lend a helping hand. It may be as simple as tweaking your resume or improving your follow-through/ the way you answer questions.
Lastly, I need you not to believe that lie that you’re a failure or you have a sad life. God doesn’t make mistakes. When He created you, He had a purpose in mind. You aren’t here to just be here. There’s an assignment over your life. God doesn’t make worthless things.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.