When You Don’t Know Where You’re Headed

Mental Illness

There are moments that I don’t know why I am where I am. I don’t know why I’m at this school so far from my family, taking classes that often feel irrelevant; working towards a major I’m no longer certain of and a future I don’t know how to bring into existence.

Moment by moment I have to remind myself: this is where God wants me. I whisper it to myself over and over as I feel the anxiety rising, the demands of the future, the uncertainty in the present: Abba is good and He loves me. Abba is good and He knows what I need.

This is the school that my good Father chose for me. He knows what college, what classes, what connections I need. Even if I don’t see the purpose of my life right now, He is using what I am learning and the relationships I am building down the road. And it will be good because He loves me. He will fill me up with good things; He will not leave me empty.

I have full confidence that this is the God I know. I know Him, His character, how He seeks the best for me and loves making me smile and laughing at my jokes. He is a God who cries when I am in pain, who is constantly showing me how He can take what is broken in my life, what is broken in me, then making it beautiful and whole. I believe in a God who “does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone” (Lamentations 3:33). And I wonder if others know this God too, how good He is, how much He loves us. Because it changes everything.

He is not a petty or spiteful God. He is not a God who is waiting to condemn the slightest slip-up or to squelch any laughter He hears. His concerns are so much bigger than the tiny things we fret over, like whether it’s okay to curse or what questions are too heretical to ask. He wants to transform us on the inside with the power of His love, not conform us to specific rules and behaviors so we look good on the outside. He is so much bigger than any question we could ever ask or any mistake we could ever make.

This God, this God I feel so deeply that I know, He is far more concerned about my heart than He is about my behaviors. When my behavior changes—whether that means I volunteer more, or break a bad habit, or devote myself to prayer and Bible study—He wants it to be because I love Him and know I am loved by Him—not because I am afraid or ashamed or obligated.

He wants to reassure me that I am secure in Him so that I can be my best self, my fullest self, with all of my quirks and hobbies and passions and humor.

He wants me to know Him in my own way, whether I do that best through traditional means like group prayer and worship, or whether I find Him better through writing or on quiet walks in the woods. Because He is the one who created me to communicate with Him the way I do—and whether or not that way is different than someone else’s, it is something He created in me, and never something to be ashamed of.

He wants me—and you—to stop worrying about fitting into one “correct” mold.

He wants us to settle our hearts, settle into His love, and know that He is good and He is for us.

To let go of all the anxieties we hold about pleasing Him, because He is already pleased with us. know that He came to give us life and life abundant, and anything that is stealing that life from us is not from Him. To believe that He will take what is difficult and painful and broken, even the things He didn’t want for us, and make something new and redeemed in us.

This God, this Abba who loves me, is the one I hold onto when my life feels uncertain—because His love is the one thing I am certain of. Because I know Him, I know everything is going to be okay. And I know He has called me here, to love the people around me, to learn the material in front of me, to grow more fully into myself. He is preparing me for a future I can’t imagine yet, and so I can breathe easier and accept the beauties and blessings of the life I have right now.

 


 

Tori Margaret is passionate about writing honestly, loving deeply, and walking with people through their stories. She writes about her struggle with depression, anxiety, and OCD to encourage others that they are not alone and to open the door for real conversations about real suffering. She has written for TWLOHA, a non-profit devoted to supporting people with mental illness. Her latest work on her struggle against fear is a science fiction novella, The Last Valkyrie, which will release in January 2017. You can find more of Tori’s writing at her blog, BoldBrightBeautiful.com, or connect with her in our Writing group.

Image by Rachel Adkins


June 23, 2017

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