“You don’t have to do everything right now, Sweet Pea. Lord willing, you have your whole life ahead of you.” I haven’t forgotten this encouragement my dad gave me sometime in undergrad. His words helped me take advantage of my college years, and now that I’m finished, not look back at them with regret. However, now that I have indeed finished college and can see the end of my RUF internship, I’ve asked myself, shaking, “What do I do?”
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve really begun to lust after this idea of “desiring permanence.” I’ve begun to daydream about what my life would look like if I moved to a state indefinitely, took a job that wasn’t a two year program, or met someone and fell in love. If your 2016 social media feed was anything like mine, approximately 2/3 of your friends and followers fit into one of the above three categories. On a macro scale, my heart is full and excited and emphatically celebrating; however, when I zoom in and look at the microcosms of my heart, I’ve discovered something big: fear. This fear, I’ve come to understand, is a two sided coin. I’m afraid of both stepping into something permanent, and simultaneously afraid not to. Quite frankly, it’s paralyzing, and because of this blog series’ title, I must admit that I haven’t necessarily found contentment in it.
While I’m thankful I’m not content in my fear, I’ve realized that I’m scared of my fear. I don’t want to remain this way, but I do want the Lord to meet me where I am. Over the past few months, I’ve been reading through the Psalms and a phrase that is littered throughout this poetic book is, “steadfast love.” Referring to the depth of the Father’s love for us, “steadfast”describes a devoted and permanent affection that is everlasting, enduring and without a foreseeable end. It’s everywhere and I haven’t been able to escape it, although I’ve tried. Repeatedly, the steadfast love of the Lord strikes holes in my fear and doesn’t stop ruining it despite my best efforts.
The false sense of security fear gives me is replaced with actual security in the arms of my Father. You see, the permanence I so desperately want is a permanence I already have–“for as high as the heaves are above the earth, so great is [the Lord’s] steadfast love towards those who fear him” (Ps 103:11). Finding contentment in my fear means letting go of trying to control the reality that I am actually afraid and allowing Jesus to be “merciful and gracious…abounding in steadfast love” (Ps 103:8).
This internship has allowed me to see my fear, and equipped me to run to the One who can absolve it. It’s allowed me to admit shortcomings to my students, and model what repentance looks like. I have a lot to learn, and a long way to go, but like my dad said, “You don’t have to do everything right now, Sweet Pea.”