I am not a patient person by any means. I would rather buy plants that have already bloomed and arrange them prettily in front of my house than plant the seeds and wait for them to grow. I would rather go into Chick-fil-a and place my order than go through the drive through and have to sit in line even though it will probably end up taking the same amount of time. I'll do anything to make myself feel like I am actually DOING something when I become anxious about a situation. I make lists and phone calls. I write blogs and I analyze every possible scenario. I get the opinions of far too many people. I think about it until I cannot think about it anymore. All of this is a show of my lack of a virtue called patience.
I have found that with impatience comes discontentment. I hate seeing these two words written out. There is something about the "im" in front of patience and the "dis" in front of contentment that makes me cringe. But I digress. With impatience comes discontentment. And I find myself in a seemingly constant state of both. College is a fine example of that. I have changed my major six times. Music and Theater, Theater, English, History, Political Science, and then Journalism and Photography. And the thoughts of what I will do with all of these change from day to day. I'll do theater! I'll be a politician! I'll be a lawyer! I'll run for office! I'll be a college professor! I'll be a journalist, a photographer, a pre-K teacher, a missionary, a Young Life staffer. You name it, I want to be it. Aside from a fire-fighter, a ballet dancer, and a stripper, I have probably aspired to pretty much everything.
I am a planner to a fault. I like to know what I am doing every moment of every day. I schedule to a tee and often to the detriment of my poor sleep deprived body and the disappointment of friends and family. I like to think of myself as a fly-by-the-seat-of-pants kinda girl, but alas, that is only a dream. Often, I find that it doesn't really matter what the plan is as long as I have a plan. One plan keeps me going until the next one comes along.
My latest string of plans have been about as wide spread as you can imagine. I applied to the University of Texas in Austin for admission (for which I was denied), applied to Mission to the World for a year long mission trip to Peru (on which I am currently waiting for the process to pick up a little speed...great...waiting), and am currently in the process of working on a back up plan for the possible failure of my world traveling adventure. This plan involves moving into a cheaper housing situation (possibly known as my parent's home), getting a job, and going to school full time (by full time, I mean as many hours as possible). There is a lot that goes into all of this and a lot of decisions that need to be made pronto. Again, the patience thing (or lack thereof) is getting in the way.
However, I feel God working in me as I go through this unsettling time. While my life is full of uncertainty as far as my earthly plans go, I find that my certainty and faith in my heavenly Father only grows. He is constantly removing parts of my life that have no business being there and replacing them with moments, people, and situations that can only come from Him. When it seems like there can be no reason for various situations that arise, He gently reminds me that I am His and He is mine. His plan is in action and His promises are good. I can call on Him day and night. He never sleeps. He longs for me to call out to Him in the darkness.
"Hey God. You there? Because I am."
I am a refuge in times of trouble. I care for those who trust in me.
"Yeah, I know that."
Do you, Theresa? Are you really trusting in me?
You do not have because you have not asked me.
"Help me in my unbelief."
For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you, and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.
It is so easy to write this down. To pretend like I have all the answers. Please hear me when I say that I do not have all the answers. I worry and panic. I stress out. I don't always ask. However, I know that when I do ask, He willing gives it to me. As I lay in bed last night with the beginnings of what I knew was panic, I cried out to Him for a peace that passes all understanding and He gave it to me. As I worry about my apartment, money, summer and fall plans, boys, jobs, and a host of other things that feel so important, God is gracious. From weekends in Birmingham, to conversations with James Rockwell, car rides with Craig, the sweet-sometimes silent- company of my sisters, loss of jobs, awesome sermons, dinners with Banks, financial uncertainty, the sound of baby chatter, trips to Frontier, time with Young Life kids and leaders, car trouble, the silly laughter of little girls, and sleepless nights, God is gracious. Through the good and the bad, the ups and the downs, His mercy endures forever. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I will praise Him for He is worthy of praise. He does grant me peace. I know that His plan is there and I am trusting, though not perfectly, in Him.
I don't have patience and contentment because I haven't asked for them. I struggle on blooming where I am planted because I am so concerned with moving on to the next thing, that I disregard the possibility that God could be calling me to be still for the time being. My prayer is that I would grow in patience and contentment. I covet your prayers as God begins, or rather continues, to work on these areas of my life.