Friday, October 3, 2014

The Here & The Now

"Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work 
you've been given and then sink yourself into that. 
Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare 
yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility 
for doing the creative best you can with your own life."
Galatians 6:4-5, The Message Version

We will talk about comparing seasons later in the month, but today I want to center our hearts on our current season. Where you are right now. Your season is made up of many elements, as is mine. Sometimes they're social labels (single, engaged, married, etc) or job title (student, teacher, designer, engineer, unemployed, and so on). Location and living arrangements play a part, as well as physical, mental, and spiritual health.

For me it helps to write it out. When I find myself yearning for the next season, it's important to keep in mind all the details of my current life stage, the good and the bad, the enjoyable elements and the ones that weigh heavily on my chest. 

Bailey Jean: Twenty-three, single, graduate student. Three months into a post-Seattle routine, settling in after an adventure year. An apartment of my own to retreat to and decorate, the comfort and ease of being near campus. Pursuing theatre, in the thick of directing and Shakespeare classes. Growing social media and blogging presence, but the greatest blessing is the growing community. Slightly burnt out after a blogging challenge last month, but engaged in a second one. The oldest sister of three, but 5 hours from home. Volunteering with Young Life, engaging with the leaders and helping with YL college weekly, stage managing a show, searching for a home church and Bible study. Promises of new levels of intimacy with Jesus. Eager to simplify and celebrate life. Unhappy with physical health, determined to make changes. Poor self-control and discipline there.  
(I'll stop here. Goodness knows I could go on and on.)

Writing about my season turned into writing about my mind- and heart-state. They go hand in hand. The perspective with which you view your season makes all the difference. The first three labels I used are the areas in which I most struggle and that are most apparent in my season. 

My age and the assumptions people make about it, the weight I put on it and the expectations I have of what I "should" have done or be doing by now. My misconception and limited view of what others have already accomplished by this time. My worry about a lack of authority and other people's opinions of my work, calling, and plans.

My relationship status and the lies I have been believing about the weight it holds over my identity and worth. My desire to date and marry someday and the constant reminders that neither are in my immediate future. My tendency to compare and complain, or to cling to my desires instead of joyfully surrendering them (which is not the same as giving up on them, by the way). 

My job title or lack thereof. My place in school as a first year, a newbie, but as a college graduate with a degree in hand. My worry of becoming financially in dependent and debt free, eager to put down roots and cultivate a healthy work environment, and the realization that my first "real job" will be when I'm twenty-five. 

These three areas have the potential to be the most life-draining but also the most life-giving.

It is all about how I respond to these feelings and how surrendered each of these frustrations are at the feet of Jesus. I have to return to the scripture. "Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given..." even if it is different than everyone else's, "and then sink yourself into that." Fully immerse, engage, and embrace it! 

"Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life."

To get anywhere with a map, you have to know where you're beginning. To fully embrace your season, you have to search it out and pinpoint your present place. On our map, X marks the spot where transformation begins. By the way, that day is today. That place is here and now. Get exited. I know I am.

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