I am a person who likes formal beginnings. I enter into new things with plans and resolutions, with ideas and lots of hope. I try to start new phases with everything pulled together. (Actually, I generally try to live my life with everything pulled together.)
But right now? My room is a mess. I haven’t finished half of the things I wanted to do before school starts, including writing myself a series of pep talks for rough days. I’m stressing away my final hours of summer. And why?
Because I am a person who likes formal beginnings, who tries to start new phases with everything pulled together.
I’ve made such a big deal about Junior Year Haley being better, wiser, less stressed, friendlier, etc. I’ve had such a vision for my junior year self, like she’s this other person whom I am destined to become. The only problem is, Junior Year Haley is also perfect, and therefore, pretty out of reach. She has everything figured out. She makes new friends with ease. She is a constant prayer warrior, gentle-hearted servant, loving friend. And for the past few weeks, I have been doing everything in my power to frantically morph myself into her before the year starts.
But tonight, I ran out of a few things: time, energy, and hope. I have less than thirty-six hours before the new school year begins, and Junior Year Haley had too much to do. I’m getting exhausted trying to keep up with my own expectations, and Junior Year Haley’s emotional strength was being evasive. I’m so stressed that I’m beginning to think Junior Year Haley doesn’t even exist… but then I stop and think. And I realize that I don’t think she should.
What has God called me to do? Not to become Junior Year Haley, that’s for sure. If anywhere in the Bible, God told us to pull ourselves together before He could work… we’d all be screwed. Fortunately, that’s not what He says. He says, through Paul, that it is He who works in us to will and to act according to His good purpose (Philippians 2:13). It is not up to us to get all of our ducks in a row before we follow Him. It is up to us to listen and obey, listen and trust, listen and follow. It is our job to let Him work, not to work for Him.
Right now, God is not telling me to clean my room and finish the eight million things I feel like I have to do and take more AP classes before I even think about drawing close to Him. He is telling me to trust that He is going to do immeasurably more (Ephesians 3:20-21) this year. He is telling me to depend on Him for everything I need, especially peace. He is telling me that growth is the way, not rapidly trying to figure everything out on my own. I need to be okay with not having all the answers. I need to be okay with not having everything exactly how I planned and exactly the way that makes me comfortable. I need to know that I am growing closer to Jesus each day and that He will never stop loving me just the way I am.
It’s not about pulling ourselves together. It’s not even about God pulling us together. It’s about trusting Him every single step of the way, living in dependence on His provision, power, and unconditional love as we change and grow to be less of ourselves and more of Him.