Erin Antoch | Staff Writer
The pages of my journals, like the contents of my prayers, are consumed by a lack of clarity.
I’ve begged God to reveal my future thousands of times; cleverly changing the prose in each prayer in attempts to conceal my constant nagging. I used words like “discernment,” “vision” and “clarity” interchangeably, prayer after prayer– too afraid of failure to move in any direction, praying God would let the sun break through the fog so I could see the road ahead.
Really, I wanted to see if it was leading somewhere that I want to go.
I write letters to God. No, I don’t send them, because I’m not out of my mind. They’re prayers, but writing them is therapeutic to me. A happy side effect is that they also serve as a catalog of months upon months worth of recorded trials, decisions, outcries and praises. Pages of joy and triumph in the Lord are followed by tear-stained scribbles of confusion, echoing prayers for clarity and vision.
There are dozens of pages of messy, anxious penmanship asking why God is absent when I am lost. There are sharp words that beg the Lord to show me the way out of relationships. None of these prayers were answered instantly; they revealed their resolutions in time like a mystery novel. These handwritten prayers point to one conclusion:
I did not trust the Lord to make me happy.
What a terrifying revelation to have, especially in a time of such emptiness. I was petrified to lose the joy I clung to, despite the potential abundance of happiness that God wanted to give me. For so long, I didn’t trust that God wanted me to prosper. My need for control took precedence over my need for Christ and I was failing in every sense of the word. So, I did the thing you’re supposed to do when you come face to face with fear: I embraced it.
I stopped praying for new eyes and started praying for a new heart. I stopped searching for clarity and started searching for a stronger faith. I stopped inviting the Lord in at conveniently abysmal moments and started chasing him until my lungs gave out. I trusted that he would slow down and meet me while I regained my breath. I stopped begging for new answers to questions that I already knew the answers to, but was too afraid of the repercussions to confront.
I started listening to the Lord and acting on my problems, and I noticed that suddenly, Jesus wasn’t just the prize at the end of a string of correct moves like a stuffed animal at a carnival game. He wasn’t coming and going depending on what right decisions I made. He was with me no matter what choice I made, but he knew which choices would prosper me and which choices would leave me stuck.
I ended a relationship that made me happy, but caused me to sacrifice spiritually and emotionally. I forced myself to read scripture even when I just couldn’t get out of bed and I met with campus pastors and friends to talk through my emotions. I started applying for jobs and other positions and and I was okay when the answer was no, but received more yes’s than I ever thought I would.
I have no idea where I’m going or what I’m doing, but I can tell you that I feel the Lord again. He never left, he just waited patiently for me to stop screaming so I could hear him tell me to take a step into the fog. Forget clarity; fog lingers everywhere. But, it shouldn’t keep us from moving forward.