“My life totally sucks.”
I can’t tell you how many days over the past six months I have woken up with that thought. Seriously.
For a while it was daily… now it is less. But it still happens every once in a awhile;
Not that it is true… It is not. My life does not suck. To the contrary, there are a lot of things to be thankful for and joyful about. It is just hard to remember that sometimes. And it is important to be reminded… to gain some perspective… to have some Barnabas-types in your life.
I am not alone. All of us need that and (I think) everyone has those moments — or at least, many of us do.
These days I am living these days with lots of tension… and that does not make me unique. We all do. It is the story of our lives. I don’t mean tension as in stress and anxiety (and there is plenty of that), but the tension we find in the liminal spaces of life. Everyone I know is living in the tension, whether they recognize it or not.
Today I am 35. I am a student, again. I work only part time. I have no real plan for beyond 35. 36? Who knows?
Five years ago, when I turned 30, I was living a dream. For years people had asked me “if you could do anything in the world, what would it be?” My answer was always the same: plant a church with my best friend that would be a place for both seekers and believers to encounter God and become fully devoted to following him in an Acts 2 community.
I know that sounds like a mouthful, but it rolled off my tongue. It was a crystal-clear vision — and it was crystal clear because it was from God. And at age 30, I was living my dream. My hope and expectation was that I would be doing that for 35 years.
And now as I turn 35 I have no dream… little vision… and no sense of what tomorrow will look like. Where I used to dream about 25 year plans, today I worry about… well, today. And as long as I am being honest, let me tell you this: have you ever had the pain of waking up and wondering if your best days are behind you? I have… a lot.
But I am living in the tension — not knowing, not sure, not done.
And, to be honest, for the moment… I am okay with it.
I am going to culinary school, but not 100% sure I am done with ministry. There is tension in that too.
For a long time I didn’t really like myself very much, but lots of other people did. Today, I like myself a lot more and a lot of people don’t. That, too, is tension.
Jesus didn’t die to erase the tension. But he does walk with us through it.
One of the interesting things for me is that most of my friends — the people I have really connected with — in school are also living in tension, transition, liminal moments. Recovering from tragedy and broken relationships, moving on from failed marriages, going back to work… lots of transitions. It has been good to be on the journey — and to share my own — with them.
I honestly believe that you can navigate through any tension, as long as you can name it and address it. I also believe that character is forged in the transitions and tragedy of life. And while I wish there had been a different way, I am thankful for how I am growing, maturing and falling in love with Jesus more and more every day.
So as I turn 35… I will continue to live in the tension.