If there’s one thing you should know about the car I drive, it’s that the air conditioning is incredibly temperamental, which is fine in winter when you don’t actually want cold air blowing full force on your face, but in summer it means that whenever I step out of the car I feel like my face is half melted off because the air-con decided not to work (thank you very much).
I was driving home in early January after having caught up with a friend. My face was slimy and my mascara had smudged its way down to my cheeks, mixing in with the sweaty foundation I had used on a whim in an attempt to hide my sunburn.
I was listening to some good old ABBA (as you do on a summers day) (and on an autumn day) (and any time of year) with the windows rolled down, hoping that the breeze, as warm as it was, would wipe away all evidence of whatever was going on with my face.
I was listening to one of ABBA’s funky dance numbers, so imagine my surprise when this thought dropped into my mind:
“If the rest of your life is like this, could you be content in God?”
What is the ‘this’ of that question?
Let’s see. I was feeling somewhat sombre after having caught up with my friend. She had close friends, a job, a church, a diploma; she was stable in her life and secure in the things surrounding her. I, on the other hand, had moved back home a month earlier, and had never felt more insecure about the rest of my life. Even though I knew I hadn’t made the wrong choice in moving to Sydney for the last two years, nor moving back home at the end of them, I couldn’t help but feel a little backward.
On the way home after meeting up with her, I was thinking about everything I was unsure of. All the uncertainties of my life. I wished I had a job, or at least a good answer when she asked me what I was doing with myself. (Does ‘reading in my pyjamas’ count?)
I didn’t really do anything to stop myself from thinking negatively. I just turned up the volume to ABBA and hoped that they’d tell me what to do. And then in the middle of my ABBA party-for-one, I’m reminded that, though my life doesn’t look like what I thought, I should still be satisfied in who God is and who He says is.
The things that make up our lives aren’t bad things; jobs, friends, hobbies, our families, and we should aspire to have things and do things and I think we should want change. If we were always comfortable, nothing would ever change and we’d remain the same. It’s also not wrong to have goals, to aim for something more. There’s nothing wrong with not enjoying your job or not feeling at home in your church.
But in this context, I needed to be reminded of the fact that those things that make people look good, or make them look like they ‘have everything’ aren’t everything. I needed to be told that God is my constant, and that those other things shouldn’t matter as much as they did.
If the rest of my life was spent job hunting, not having supportive friends five minutes away, and sewing in my pyjamas (which isn’t actually all that bad in my humble opinion. Remember chicken shorts? If I had a job they wouldn’t exist.) could I still be satisfied in the fact that I am God’s child? Could I feel content in knowing that I have life because of Jesus Christ, regardless of what surrounded me?
We were never promised an easy life, and as a Christian I need to be reminded that what happens now isn’t all there is. Somethings seem like the end of the world, but should that stuff dictate our attitude?
Campers, you may be thinking ‘this happened last month why is she telling us this now?’
Well, I’m glad you asked!
Yesterday I met up with another friend (for brunch) (mmm, crepes) and she actually said something that reminded me of all this. She just commented how all of our friends from high school did something slightly different when leaving high school, and I don’t think any of us did it ‘wrong’; we all did what suited us at the time.
I can’t compare my two months at home with my friend who’s had two years to establish herself here. Our lives look completely different, and I can’t say that she has it better or worse; she just did things differently to me.
I found it strange that God spoke to me in the midst of ABBA, but I like it, and I think it’s pretty cool of Him to do. In the big picture, He knew that’s what I needed to be reminded of at that moment. God’s timing is perfect; whether in the context of speaking to you while ABBA is on, or in the context of wanting a job or a new church and not knowing when you’ll find one.
I think I’ll always remember this time of my life. Whether vaguely or in great detail, it’s definitely been momentous to my relationship with God. The many lessons I’ve learnt in the past few months will shape me and my response to situations in the future. Times like this build character and question your reactions to things; ultimately showing what’s going on in your heart. And I think that by having my attitude, behaviour, and ultimate trust in what God is up to challenged, it just means I can learn and grow. So much of His true character has been revealed to me in the past few months; aspects of God that I’ve never really thought too hard about before. There’s always something He can reveal to you, in any season of your life, because He wants us to know Him deeply. Ultimately, seeing the depth of His love through all of His actions.
Moral of the story? Listen to ABBA.
Okay, so that was a poor joke, and definitely not the moral of the story. But I laughed a little.
P.S. I’m making tacos tonight!