Finding Contentment + Opportunity in Unforeseen Times + Places
As we all know + are well (may be too well) aware of, COVID-19 has shifted many plans we’ve had set for 2020. However, those shifted plans haven’t all been for the negative as they seem to be from the outset. And in those shifted plans I hope there have been for you, like there has been for me, some switched priorities + stretched perspectives.
I mentioned in a previous post that this year would have been full of various destinations on my list to explore + experience + exposit through this blog, including New Orleans, Dominican Republican, and a return to Denver for the summer. When all of those aims were taken down one by one, I felt disappointed. But honestly, the feeling didn’t last for long. I realized — by the grace of God intervening in my type-A, control-freak mind — that all of this COVID confusion, chaotic circumstances, corrupted courses were happening for a definitive purpose. And despite them — in the midst of them — God was still working + abundantly providing me with unknown paths + possibilities.
The first of many unforeseen events for this season of life was the start of a new relationship, which if you know me, you know that this is quite new. I won’t spend too much time here (so feel free to ask questions as you’d like), but in short, it has been an incredible blessing for the both of us that was quite timely considering our personal + spiritual growth during this time. The commencement + course of this relationship is one of those instances in which you can see God working in hindsight, but fortunately through the present process as well.
P.S. yes, the bangs were another unexpected venture; a wise + well-planned quarantine impulse decision if I do say so myself. That way, in case I did not like the outcome then I could easily be humiliated + hidden away without anyone noticing. Fortunately, I’m fond of the look :)
On to more eventful changes to my unscheduled summer: I am being certified as a Health Coach! When my college classes went online + my trip to Denver was dropped, I realized that I now had about four months open before school began back again, + I am most definitely not the type of person that could let those months stay vacant (my parents know all too well of my “I’m bored!” complaints — sorry...). So, I began pondering + probing for what I should do — another mission trip? more online classes? an internship? Well, I didn’t have to ruminate or rummage around for long because I then remembered the need I had for some certifications for my future career in Corporate Wellness (or similar field). This particular certification I’m pursuing is online + at-your-own pace — the reviews I read averaged people taking about 3-4 months to complete it — check for me! Further, they just so happened (no coincidences!) to be running a sale at the time I was looking to begin that offered the certification for half-off the original price — double check! So, now I am finished up with that material (I finished earlier than expected because it was intriguing + exciting to finally be studying something that I’m specifically interested in!!) + I will be taking that final certification exam at the start of August — I would appreciate your prayers!
In the midst of career certifications for the summer, the Lord was also still providing for my longing to serve + be on mission. My local church offers an internship for college students under Generation LINK known as Summer LINK in order to educate + equip us to be better church members, disciple-makers, followers of Christ. Throughout the summer we read through + discuss numerous books — including The Gospel and Personal Evangelism by Mark Dever, What is a Healthy Church Member? by Thabiti Anyabwile, Why Should I Join a Church? by Mark Dever, to name a few — serve the local body + surrounding community, lead kids ministry activities + classes, as well as have the privilege of residing with + having collective dinners at the homes of church families. All of these things have been profoundly precious to me, but as was the case with my previous summer spent in Denver, the Father has revealed a bounty of blessing beyond what I expected. I have been able to serve + love + be loved by so many souls outside of the “structured” time we have together as a group doing the internship. Couples have invited me over for breakfast or games or walks in the park, I’ve helped house-sit numerous homes (+ by house-sitting I am also implying watering lots of gardens + picking ripe veggies, as well as taking care of numerous pets including energetic puppies, cats, bunnies, a hamster, fish, etc. — all good things!). I have also gotten to put my passion of administration + organization to practice by cleaning + upgrading areas of the church building, designing handouts + filling out Excel sheets, collaborating with a couple friends to provide photographic + penned media for updates on what all we are doing as interns.
What I thought would be a major bummer summer full of disappointments + dullness, turned out to be considerably enriching + eventful. My pastor has so aptly been going through the book of Ecclesiastes since the beginning of May, + the lessons that I have learned through this study of God's Word have been particularly profound + perfect for us all to learn at this point in time corporately. For one, through Ecclesiastes + through the Coronavirus, we learn our humanity — we are faced with our time-bound, fleeting nature + the understanding that we are not in control. God determines the times + seasons of our lives; whether in prosperity or adversity, joy or sorrow, He is in control — what a relief + blessing! Further, pleasure + prosperity is a gift; a gift that we are not deserving of or guaranteed. Adversity + hardship + death on the other hand, are clear avenues for us to slow down, lean in, + allow time for transformative reflection, by the power of His guiding hand. It’s easy to slip into insecurity + impatience during times when we are not in control or when we do not have a full picture of the situations surrounding us, but by being impatient + longing for the next thing to come, for “better days”, or even for “how things used to be”, we are missing out + denying God’s presence + power, will + work today. These circumstances are flawlessly ordained + orchestrated in our lives for a particular purpose — for our good, growth, glory to Him. The Lord God knows the beginning, the present, the end of the story (Proverbs 8:23, Revelation 1:8) — why do we desire or pine for anything else? why do we not trust Him? I encourage you now as you are reading this, flip open to Ecclesiastes + read it; allow the Word of God to open up before your eyes + meditate deep in your mind. There is nothing new under the sun; what we struggle with + are confronted with today is what those of old have likewise encountered. And God has seen + planned + known it all. We are a speck in His vast masterpiece.
This season of life has been far from normal for all of us, but I think we can agree that that is what we all needed the most. Reconnecting with loved ones, appreciating the still + quiet, diving deep into old hobbies + new-found passions, being challenged to confront the things we thought were gone or done with or worked through, being pleasantly surprised with fortuitous exchanges or encounters or events.
God keeps teaching me to lean more + more into Him rather than rely on my schedules + plans. He is teaching me to be comfortable with unknowns + to love the unexpected.
I am grateful.