I don’t know why I am still amazed when God answers my prayers. I forget often that I have something to offer the world besides just existing in my own cocoon. I went to my Sunday school class today instead of the service as I did last week. I find a lot of comfort in the personal support and lessons I gain from going to bible studies. This class I am taking was a draw of the hat. It was first labeled as an Andy Stanley based class using a study guide. I had just finished watching an Andy Stanley class on Netflix and really liked his lecture series. Therefore, it really interested me.
When I entered the class, it was actually a study called, “Just Walk Across the Room” by Bill Hybels. The Stanley course guides had not come in yet and were to be taught six weeks later. The theme of this study is simply that your walk across the room to be present in someone else’s life could “change that person’s forever”. It is with this in mind that I decided to stay in this class to help me face many questions about my life.
I have been struggling, as do many people with depression, as to my purpose in life. I have found that I am doing much better off medication than I have at any other time in my life. I have been medicated for depression continuously for 25 years. God is my main treatment now for depression and anxiety. Consistent prayer and study is becoming a necessary medication for me daily with positive results. While the idea of leaving my cocoon to approach others in a walk with God is a bit intimidating, especially for a person with depression issues.
My three major questions or struggles are as follows:
- Why am I working a part time job? While it does allow me to write (my new profession), financially it is a poor decision when I have student loans hanging over my head, I have 15 years to retirement and no retirement savings, and I find myself using less than half of the education I worked hard to obtain. How can my doing this job ever make a difference?
- What purpose am I serving in writing books, or editing when I cannot find income from it that is steady or supportive to my family income? I am waiting impatiently for my agent to accept or reject my latest book which has a lot of references to my questioning why God let me wander while dating blindly. How can I purposefully serve God by writing?
- How can I be a good Christian by using my God given skills and abilities but still sustain a reasonably comfortable income and lifestyle? Am I misinterpreting God’s message to me about the desire I have to write? I really need to quit dreaming about writing for a living and get a real full time job.
These worries are to some a simple identity crisis brought on by life circumstances. These are the worries I have struggled with since my move to Texas from Indiana three years ago.Moving from a place where I had years of close and respected business associates, and many friends that were more like family, to a place where I had to earn respect and friendships all over again. I am on a foreign planet and I have felt recently like my oxygen is in short supply.
Then today happened. I have been sending up more than a few prayers about my worries listed above. I know I have no control of circumstances but only control of how I react to them. So, with my worries in one hand and my study guide in the other I entered the class again today.
The first question was about analyzing whether you are a cocooner or a connecter. I immediately knew that I am a cocooner because depression makes me more fearful of sticking my neck out. However, I usually volunteer to do things to please people and regret it later after I am back in my cocoon. As we went around the room several shared stories and we offered up our concerns for prayers.
- One lady opened up about her struggles with ADHD and having trouble focusing to meet challenges of returning to school in the second half of her life. I not only felt an immediate connection as my story is similar, but I also knew that my number one question and worry was being addressed by God. So, I offered my witness to her problem, my own experience, and what I felt she could do to address it. I have depression, work at an ADHD clinic with similar stories heard daily, and I have some ideas for you. My heart was happy to have been able to give her confirmation that “hey, I get you!”
- Then a question came up to mention a time that embarrassed us. I immediately thought of my blind dating situations, and my book that is sitting in the hands of my agent. I was led to share a silly but somewhat embarrassing moment that brought a little laughter to the room. I shared my book title and let them know that I handled the moment not with embarrassment, but with laughter. It had been my date that was embarrassed. He was enveloped by the embarrassed it while I embraced it and turned it on it’s ear. I remembered how much I love story-telling and making light of life’s little situations.
- After class, I spoke to a couple women from the class about the discussion when a gentleman from class asked me for my business card. That is so funny since I just got in new business cards for “writing” this week and decided it may have been a foolish expenditure given I have few circumstances to pass those out. Yet, here is a gentleman who specifically asked me for a card. He asked me what was my profession. I gave my resume of nursing, and now part-time office, then committed verbally to being a full-time writer. And it felt good. Then he adds that he is writing a book and would like to ask me a few questions. He gives me his card, and we part. I am sure he was my God’s comment on number three worry and question above. God was waiting for me to say it out loud and stop questioning why I was given a desire to write.
I came home with a giggle and realized that God was wiping his hands free of those questions and saying to me, “okay, what else you got?”. And yes, that voice in my head was a bit smart-alecky.