The last few weeks, I have been so nearly paralyzed by fear that I am surprised I haven’t been experiencing daily panic attacks. But here I am, functional and engaged with life as always–unparalyzed but distant, distracted, and discouraged. I’ve been afraid because of how the world looks, how the country looks, how I feel and the situations I’m in. I’ve questioned every decision I’ve made in the last few years because what if I really haven’t been doing this right? What if I’ve screwed myself over? What if I’m too late, too afraid, too unsure?
And then I remember that, although the world likes to make us feel that our time is running out and it’s too late, there is no limit or restrictions to where and when God works.
One of the major reasons I’ve been so hot on the questioning these last few weeks is that I’ve just started my senior year of university. I’m student teaching and learning a lot, but still, in all that I’m experiencing, I keep asking myself where I would be if I’d chosen something else. What if I was in business, design, marketing… the list of places I “could” be goes on forever. Because I can’t do everything and that really sucks. And I’m reminded of the way the world views success and progress, and then I remember that I’m in my twenties. I don’t have to have everything figured out, I don’t have to teach forever, and my career life has just started. We can become so easily consumed by the things that we aren’t doing instead of devoting ourselves to the things we are.
It is easy to become obsessed with the “what if’s” and “if only’s.”
So, in the midst of the panicking and uncertainty, we would do well to remember that our lives are not what we haven’t done, and it’s a remarkable waste to throw by the wayside our Now in envy and fear of the “could be’s.”
And when I have all those thoughts of “what if I had done something else?” I remember what Aslan says in the Chronicles of Narnia, “To know what would have happened, child?… No. Nobody is ever told that.” (C.S. Lewis) It is no good dwelling on the what ifs of the never happened events that I wonder about. There is only wasting time involved in wondering how things could have been.
When I’m having the most difficult days in education or when I’m wondering whether or not I should have done something different, I remember all the moments God and I have had together throughout this insane life, and I rest a little easier. This isn’t about what we haven’t done, or honestly, even what we have done—we aren’t defined by our accomplishments or lack thereof. We are defined by the fact that we have been honored to be a part of the Imago Dei and nothing can change that. There are so many things that we can do in our lives—so many places to go, careers to have, people to meet—but at the end of the day, all we can do is ask the Lord where He might have us go. For now He has called me to teaching, and He has called you to something too—so on that note, instead of worrying about what we may or may not be missing out on, “We must go on and take the adventure that comes to us.” (C.S. Lewis)