churning.

oh, friends – i have so many thoughts to share with you, and no idea how to get them all across to you. so i will take this hour i have and get as many of them to you as i possibly can.

it has been a hot minute – approximately a month and a week – since i last wrote a post. this seems to be a season in which i am not writing much, and i do not know if i have made a post about it or not, because i feel as though i’ve gone to write it a number of times and each time i’ve been interrupted. the stories we pen seem to go in seasons, and if there’s one thing i’m learning, it’s that not everything stays the same forever, some things are seasonal, and some things are annual. what i mean by that is that some chunks of life go as they go and fade out forever. for example – i believe that my time of spending Sunday afternoons watching football with my dad or with my friends from church are over. i haven’t spent an afternoon watching football probably since college. my interests on Sunday afternoons are different, now – i work my job at the church during the school year, and if i’m not working, then i have a girlfriend and a group of friends who enjoy being outdoors and hiking. football would be, for present purposes, seasonal. i also used to organize Sunday evening get-togethers at the local outdoor cafe, where people would socialize, write, and/or read. that’s annual – it happens during a certain time of year every year, but it’s not year-round.

i have a lot of frustration with this concept, to be honest. perhaps my biggest struggle over the last couple of years is the sheer number of things i want to do, and the various factors that compete with it – not least of which being my own mood. i’m a moody doer – something can sound appealing in theory, but when the rubber meets the road, if i’m not up for it, i’m not up for it and i won’t do it. and sometimes the opposite is true, sometimes i’m in the mood for something, and other factors won’t allow for it. perhaps my desire is to (like this morning) take a salubrious bike ride in the early spring sun, but it’s a little cold and my morning is better suited reading and having coffee and processing some thoughts. perhaps my desire is to socialize with people, but it’s a night on which i’m busy or my friends are busy, and it doesn’t pan out. i have this blessed problem in which i like everything i get to do – i enjoy my job at the bank, i enjoy my job at church, i enjoy my friends, i enjoy my girlfriend, i enjoy being outside, i enjoy reading, i enjoy playing video games, i enjoy watching movies, i enjoy cooking and having a clean house, but time seems to work in my head like a zero-sum game: something always has to lose in order for me to win. in other words, i always lose because i’m always skipping out on something. (i know i’ve written about this before.)

the last six or seven months of my life have looked something like this: i feel like i have done more than i’ve ever been doing before – working two nights a week at the church, working anywhere from two to six days a week at the bank, writing content for a group i get to be a part of, going to meetings regarding all of the three (church has retreats and auditions and supervisor calls, the bank has branch dinners, and TND has a monthly Saturday meeting) meeting up with my mentee, spending a few evenings/days a week with my girlfriend, etc – and presently i will stop because regardless of whether i’ve actually published these thoughts before because i have written them so many times either in my blog or in my journal that the ideas begin to feel tired, expired, and more like excuses.

the main reason i bring it up is to comment on how i feel about all of it – i don’t much care for being busy. i don’t much care for feeling like i always have somewhere else to be, something else to do, because i’m a fella who likes to operate in large swaths of time and space. i like to feel like i have a whole chunk of time to concentrate on a task – like writing content or a blog or reading a book – and this is a season of life which hasn’t afforded me many of those. (and, admittedly, i’ve done a splendid job wasting a few of them.)

to be honest, it’s easy for me to feel like i’ve been treading water. i feel like i haven’t been making much progress. i feel sometimes like i work two jobs not so much for the love of both of them but for the necessity of the finances (see: the last post about get-to-have-to, i could use it as a note to self) i feel sometimes like i say yes to things because i don’t want to let people down, not because i genuinely want to do them, and/or i say yes thinking that it’d be a good fit with my skill set and my schedule but it turns out to only work for one, the other, or neither of them. it’s easy for me to feel, in relational terms, like i’m treading water with my current relationship because while – and this is a separate conversation entirely – i am extremely satisfied in it, and it is the most serious relationship i’ve ever been in and ever hope to be in, it is also easy for me to think about all the people i see whose relationships are moving faster, who are meeting parents more quickly and discussing marriage more quickly and buying rings and popping the question more quickly, and in doing so, for me to doubt myself and the validity, valiance, and verity of the progress i am making in my own relationship.

it is easy for me to doubt myself as a twenty-seven year old who is paying off credit card debt instead of making payments on a house or a car, who is eating at home six days and five nights a week instead of taking international trips and adding zeroes to my savings account.

in short, it is easy for me to doubt myself.

here is a thought that i have tripped over, however, for months now (and i just checked to see if i’ve written about this before, and i have, just three posts ago.) :

We judge ourselves for things God doesn’t judge us for.

friends, the Kingdom isn’t a meritocracy, and hallelujah for that. (maybe i need to keep writing it over and over until i get it more regularly.) maybe it’s not just the Kingdom, either – maybe in life in general, we are better served by not comparing ourselves to the people around us, their achievements and accomplishments. perhaps the only person you should compare yourself to is you: are you doing better than you were a week ago? a month ago? a year ago?

i realized this about myself the other day – (and readers, i apologize that my life is so self-focused as to only use myself as a reference point. i am hoping it is a trend that will end soon, as i enjoy writing more outwardly and sharing the stories of others instead of just my own) – this past summer, i was living paycheck-to-paycheck. like, real-deal paycheck-to-paycheck, probably even still-going-further-into-debt-paycheck-to-paycheck. i argued with God on several summer mornings about how and when He’d come through with provision, and He always did and i always lamented that it took getting the paycheck for me to feel at peace. since then, i’ve not exactly felt differently – and probably for good reason which i’ll get to in a second – i’ve still felt like i’m paycheck-to-paycheck. i pay all my bills and i get to eat food and honestly, i still get to do fun things like see movies and enjoy a subscription on Apple music and put gas in my car, and i tend to do that with a checking account balance that hovers around the double digits. but i’ll tell you what else: i have been able to put new oil in my car, been able to change necessary tires and do routine upkeep on it (and i’ve even been able to fix a couple of little cosmetic things which has been a huge blessing) i’ve been able to take a trip with my friends to a fun city and do fun things, i was able to organize a big ole friends outing to see the local baseball team and front the cost with relative comfort, and since the turn of the year, i’ve been doing it all with an IRA that’s only going up, a savings account that’s only going up and a credit card balance that’s only going down. i’m beginning to wonder if that’s actually what you could call paycheck-to-paycheck. i say this definitely not to brag, but to keep myself thankful and grateful that God figures out a way to provide – God sees us – and also to encourage myself that sometimes we’re like ducks…we may be churning our feet under the surface and we may be tired and discouraged, but rest assured that we’re moving forward.

i write about myself a lot lately, friends – largely because i’ve not felt like i have a whole lot to give for others so when i do share it invariably contains an element of self-reference, but i so deeply and desperately hope that you find encouragement in it, that it inspires you to examine your own progress and realize that

 

you’re doing just fine.

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