The long summer.

It’s been a really long summer. Despite the fact that I’ve been on vacation and experienced so many new things with my family (things which I am SO thankful for!), I’ve felt like this summer has dragged on. I just want it to end. You see, I’m a routine person. I like having things to do that are planned out and routine each week and in the summer, I lack that. I honestly can’t remember which day I’m on. They all seem to blend together. Not having a routine has caused me to come a little bit undone. I crave daily and weekly routine. (My little introverted, planning heart can’t take much more of this haha) In this loss of routine, I’ve also felt a loss of purpose this summer in a big way that I’ve never felt before.

Since each day is open to endless possibilities, it has caused me to loose the sense of purpose I had throughout college and this might be some peoples’ idea of a dream life. It felt great the first couple of weeks to just sit around and do nothing or go out on a whim and hang out with friends, but after a couple of weeks of this, it had me questioning my purpose and abilities. We were made to work, to complete tasks during a day. To fall out of the routine of doing this threw me for a loop.

In June, right after graduation, I had it in my head that I would find a part-time job for the summer and then go right into substituting this fall. Well, it’s August and I still don’t have a part-time job, not for lack of trying. I’ve sent out dozens of applications to various jobs but have yet to find one. The same thing has happened with teaching jobs. I have sat at my computer for hours filling out applications, bettering my resume, and finding the right things to say on a cover letter but have been met with rejection after rejection. It has been so hard feeling so much rejection this summer and it has caused me to feel so much insecurity about my worth and abilities. Do I even have what it takes to be a teacher?

The other day, I’d had enough. I was driving back from a weekend serving middle school students at summer camp (so I was already emotionally tired) and found myself questioning whether or not God had a plan for me. It has been really hard for me to see Jesus working in my life throughout this entire summer. So I asked God to give me purpose again, I asked Him to provide for me, and I asked for Him to be enough. I wanted to feel free from the constant desire to be in a relationship. After months of praying this prayer over and over, I kind of just gave up. And that’s when it hit me. I had been trying to do things on my own strength but I convinced myself that since I was praying about it, I was giving it up to God. In my heart though, I still held on tightly. During that moment, when I was physically and mentally exhausted and I just couldn’t anymore, I realized how much I was trying to fix things on my own strength. Being able to say, “God, I can’t anymore so you have to,” lifted the burden of trying to figure things out and placed my trust where it needed to be.

I’m honestly still trying to figure out why after months of praying that Jesus would be enough in my life and that God would take away this huge desire to not be single, He still hasn’t taken it away. However, I am confident of this: my heartache is not because He loves me any less, but because He wants to use my life for His glory. I’m also trying to figure out what God’s plan for this next season of my life is but I trust that He will provide.

Even through this difficult summer, I’ve learned to trust in God more and more. When I think back over these past few months, I’ve never once lacked peace and the knowledge that God is working in my life each day. My identity still remains in Jesus, knowing that I am enough in Him, no matter where I work or how long I am single.

Jesus died for me. That’s enough to find life in Him and trust in His faithfulness.

And He has been so faithful. This past week, I got calls for not one, but TWO interviews for teaching jobs. Yay!

I am constantly amazed by God’s goodness and am so ready to start this new season in my life. Here’s to the season of FALL, the changing of seasons, flannel, pumpkin spice, falling leaves, scarves, sweaters, boots, new jobs, cold weather, and endless possibilities.

I. LOVE. fall.

Lizzie

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Identity issues.

17492925_10155119152387207_320461336651003053_o

I have identity issues.

For a majority of my life, I’ve struggled with where to place my identity.

People’s approval.

Status.

Relationships.

Guys.

Success

Happiness.

These are just a few of the things that I have put my identity in. And you know what? Each and every one of these things has let me down.

I’m not saying any of these things are inherently bad, but what happens when they become everything that we are, when we place our identity in what was meant to be filled by Christ?

Let’s define identity, for the purpose of this, as:

“Condition or character as to who a person or what a thing is; the qualities, beliefs, etc., that distinguish or identify a person or thing.”

People’s approval. The more I have sought to gain the approval of my peers, the lonelier I’ve felt. When I place my identity in what others think of me, my self-confidence and identity stem from how many friends I have in real life (and on Facebook) and the amount of followers I have on Instagram. How fickle that can be. I have seen that in these times when the approval of people matters the most, I develop surface level relationships in order to be well liked and neglect those relationships that matter the most. And because I placed my identity in whether people liked me, it caused ups and downs, and it was exhausting.

Status. This one goes right along with the approval of other people. When I thought it was more important to be elevated to the highest position, to be regarded as highly spiritual and a leader, I felt the furthest away from Christ. My relationship with Him was not authentic, it felt more like a show. As my time as a leader came to a close, I felt lost because I determined that I wasn’t needed anymore and I felt neglected. The result of both of these things was loss of purpose. And because I placed my identity in whether or not I was needed and had status, it caused ups and downs, and it was exhausting.

Relationships. This is not referring to romantic relationships (I’ll get to that one next). What I’m referring to is placing your identity in having deep friendships, having a best friend. I’ve always envied those people who have that one person in their lives that they do everything with. I never had that until recently (shoutout to my roomie!). But when I placed my identity in striving to find that one person whom I could become best friends with, I denied God the chance to enter my heart in that capacity. Growing up, I was shy and introverted. All I wanted was to be someone’s best friend but rarely left the walls of my home. I remember being rejected by people growing up and this led to me closing myself off. In middle school I was lonely. In high school I was lonely. For the first part of college, I felt awfully lonely as well. And because I placed my identity in friendships, it caused ups and downs, and it was exhausting.

Guys. For much of my life, I have dreamed of the man I am going to marry. I have prayed for him and longed for him to be in my life. But he still hasn’t come. Because I placed my identity in guys, a gaping hole was formed. I would pine after guys, often times new guys I met would instantly capture my attention. My emotions went up. Then, nothing would happen. My emotions would plummet. I was faced with a question I’m still wrestling through: would I still have faith and trust in God if He told me that I was called to be single the rest of my life? Because I placed my identity in my relationship status, it caused ups and downs and it was exhausting.

Success. School has always come easy to me. I really didn’t have to put too much effort into getting good grades throughout high school and even into the first few years of college. Then I started teaching. While I knew the book smarts of teaching, I struggled with the balance of multitasking, solving disputes, and providing students with interactive and engaging activities. I was way outside of my comfort zone and because I had placed my identity in success, as it became harder, and my self-worth and confidence were hard to come by. I struggled with believing that this was where God had called me and began to question His plan for my life. And because I placed me identity in success, it caused ups and downs. And it was exhausting.

Happiness. There have been two major times in my life when I have felt the joy and happiness sucked out of me. First, in middle school and even into the beginning of high school, I was so lonely. I was the subject of gossip and teasing by girls in my classes. I felt anything but joy. In order to break away from the hurt, I turned to watching copious amounts of TV. I would immerse myself in fake reality because the lives of those on TV seemed so much happier than mine. Happiness was failing me. Second, this past year, my family unit fell apart. I took so much pride and happiness in my family and how strong we were. But there were cracks that no one perceived as ready to break open. There was very little happiness amidst so much hurt and pain. And because I placed my identity in how happy I was and whether or not life was great, I felt emotional ups and downs.

It was exhausting. Draining. Life-sucking.

But then, Jesus entered. Well actually, He was always there, just waiting for me to say, “Yes. Jesus, be my identity.” So then, my identity became Jesus and things changed drastically.

People’s approval. Jesus. Approval.

Status. Jesus. Daughter of a King.

Relationships. Jesus. Close relationships.

Guys. Jesus. Content in singleness.

Success. Jesus. Self-worth.

Happiness. Jesus. JOY.

The ups and downs were replaced with constant love. My self-confidence and worth were no longer rooted in the things that sucked the life from me.

They were found in the giver of life. That is something to rejoice in!

If you find yourself placing your identity in things that are life-taking, turn to the One who promises a well that will never run dry. Don’t believe the lies. Jesus died for you and me, He is enough. Trust in that today.

Lizzie