As is my M.O., I tend to get excited about a project, then leave it, then get excited about it again, then leave it, and so on and so forth. That is my way. I could say that I had a lot going on but that is a lie, I could say that SSEM stuff kept me distracted but it didn’t really, I could say a number of things caused me to abandon this wonderful project but they didn’t. The truth is, I got lazy. Writing is tough, no matter how much I love it, and when I don’t feel motivated and inspired, and especially if I feel demotivated or especially uninspired, I just kind of stop working. It is my way.
This isn’t a vent session, a “I’m a failure!” session, or anything else of that nature. I promise, there is a greater point to this. I just feel convicted that I need to be honest with myself. As I sit here, no day job, lacking contract work for another week, thinking about how much I don’t want to spend the summer on roofs again, and wondering if giving up on ordination is the path I should take, at least for now, I feel like all of my thoughts on this are driving by being lazy and not wanting it to hurt. I wanted the process of ordination to feel like my faith and soul were being worked out and painfully molded into something stronger; I didn’t prepare myself for that process to make my faith weaker, my convictions less black and white, and my confidence in my ability to even minister to people at any sort of professional level to be completely diminished. I told myself the process would be hard; I didn’t realize that I wasn’t prepared for the struggle to be the way that it is.
So, I’ve felt myself giving up. I’ve had staffing agencies contact me to apply for a job doing something that I actually enjoy quite a lot, pays more than well enough, and would be easy for me to do. I’ve applied for those jobs and thought that would be a good place to be. I could do that, I could pretend to be a writer on the side, I could keep preaching at the little church, and just live this life indefinitely. It would be easy, I could make enough money to make it comfortable, and just let it be. 18 months, 2 years, 5 years, I could do it. Try to make enough to let Nora just run with her career while I just let myself fall into a comfortable rhythm that just does that bare minimum.
And by all accounts, that might not be the wrong option. Maybe I misheard God’s call, maybe I got into seminary for the education and now I’m being called in a different direction, maybe I’m just supposed to do this for a while. Maybe I’m supposed to finish my screenplay and novel and that’s the direction I should go. Or maybe I’m delusional, maybe I just didn’t do quite enough, and now I have to suffer an existence for awhile marked by financial and career hardships because I failed.
I don’t know. Honestly, I have no clue. None whatsoever.
That’s supposed to be liberating but it isn’t. No guidance, no direction, jobs that just pay the bills, a car that is taunting me with impending doom, a 350 sq.ft. apartment that we can’t afford to move out of, a motherboard that crapped out, and no motivation to do anything most days. That isn’t freeing; that maddening.
This life that I have found myself in requires me to be honest with myself. I haven’t allowed myself to tell myself that this isn’t where I should be. I haven’t allowed myself to tell God that I think this is crap. I can’t let myself take radical action and abandon all past plans because I have bills that don’t just disappear. I’m not in debt up to my eyeballs, but I am up to my waist and I can’t just stop paying. I have to work, I have to minister somehow, and I’m supposed to be working towards ordination. And I have no clue how to do that all at once.
AND THAT SUCKS!
Job. All I can think of is Job. He goes through Hell, he whines for 37 chapters about it, and all God cares about is that Job remembers how great God is. He doesn’t reprimand him for rightfully complaining about what was happening to him, doesn’t reprimand him for angry, even at God himself; the only thing Job messed up was forgetting the greatness of God. His friends, on the other hand, they weren’t going to fare well. Job had to save them, and he did despite them spending the whole book telling him to be thankful for what he had.
“Thank God because your life sucks!” How often to we get, and give, advice that completely ignores the pain that a person’s situation causes them? We require a certain threshold of pain and torture before someone is allowed to give up or give in; before that, they should be thankful they don’t have it as bad as someone else. And we give advice like “Trust in God” like a BAND-AID that will make this time in life better. We don’t just say, “This sucks!” and acknowledge their pain; instead, we try to find a pithy way to solve their problems and diminish them. That, in turn, teaches us to diminish our problems, convince ourselves that we really aren’t struggling, and not deal with our struggles until we succumb to them. We turn to alcohol, porn, food, sloth (such a good word), or anything else that makes the pain feel less bad, all the while not solving the problem because “it isn’t that bad.”
No cancer, no abuse, food in the cupboards, and bills (mostly) paid? Buck up, shut up, and be thankful for what you have.
So what am I saying? Be honest with yourself first and foremost. If you have no idea what direction you are supposed to be going, that just might not be as okay as people want to make it out to be. If you have no idea where to start, that sucks. Let yourself actually say that. Let yourself get angry, upset, worried about it. I’m not advocating over-reacting, but if you are looking at a year old master’s degree and still no job despite trying your damnedest to find one, you have the right to say you have no idea what you are supposed to do and get mad and worried about that. Be honest about that, and about how that is affecting you. And connected to that, be honest with yourself about what you are doing wrong. You have to be honest about your sins and your situation. This is a double-edged sword.
And also, don’t be that guy/girl who diminishes others’ problems. Just don’t. I hate when people do that so much. Just don’t.
Breathe, mindless rant over. Going to be writing today; don’t know if I’m working on the screenplay, novel, or the Sin series, but I’m writing somewhere today.