"If you feel that's what you're called to do, don't you think God would find a way for you to make a living doing that? ...It sounds like you're looking for a job because of your need to have an answer. I also hear that you're trying to obtain financial freedom in the next two years. My question to you is, what is preventing you from experiencing freedom today?" (not exactly verbatim, but close.)
His words hit me like a dagger.
He, in that moment, made me question everything I was doing and my reasons for doing so. I sat quietly, not answering, as everyone else just looked at me, waiting. For a second I thought,"this is exactly why I didn't want to come out tonight." My weekend had a rough start and I had an inkling I was going to receive some much needed spiritual guidance that I was unsure I had the energy for.
I sat quietly for a few seconds longer, in awe at how effectively God uses him to speak to me. I finally broke the silence, diverting instead of answering the question. Then I sat there distracted for the remainder of the time we were all hanging out that night. I had trouble falling asleep when I got home. "Why don't I feel free?" kept scrolling through my mind as I laid in the dark, alone and frustrated.
I didn’t want to face the answer and hoped my mind would quiet down long enough to fall asleep.
Earlier this year, I set out on this journey to explore what I really want to do with my life, who I want to serve and the impact I want to have. If you’re like me and you’re interested in many things, but not passionate about any single thing, then you know this is a difficult task.
So I asked for guidance and opened myself to be led to the thing I’m called to do. Bits and pieces were revealed to me, but not the whole picture. I wasn’t given a step by step manual. So I was faced with performing a task or overcoming a challenge, and then and only then would the next thing be revealed.
That’s not how I typically roll. Nah. I like a nice, neat, and orderly set of instructions that lead to a known outcome. But I didn’t receive that. So I became resistant, impatient, and frustrated. I was ready to stop exploring, stop playing, and start working. I was ready to have an answer when people asked what I did for work. I needed to be able to articulate what I was working on, even though I didn’t exactly know what it was. More importantly, I needed to know that whatever path I was heading down there would be some money waiting for me and a ticket to financial freedom.
My shoulders became heavy from bearing the weight of discomfort. My mind and heart were laced with guilt for leaving my husband to be our sole provider. So I forced it and started working on something I came up with on my own. I did the financial projections. I searched for the building. I did the market research. But no real progress was being made. I felt like I was standing in the same exact spot, doing the things I needed to be doing in order to move forward, yet not actually moving forward.
I would occasionally ask Him if I was heading in the right direction, and if I had His support, but I didn’t stop to listen for the answer. I just kept chugging along, making make believe progress. And then a few weeks ago, I stopped chugging along, acknowledged that I wasn’t really going anywhere, and asked for clarity.
When I sought this out, all of the images, and bits and pieces that I had received earlier this year flooded in. And I knew, I had been working on the wrong thing for the wrong reasons. If I’m being honest, all along I knew, but I only just admitted it on this day. This is when I caught myself making energy budget cuts and decided to cut back and focus on my writing and creative interests.
I recently listened to Sarah Jakes Roberts say that “God moves things out of the way so that our issues can rise to the surface.” Well, after making these cuts, it got quiet again and arise they did.
My financial insecurities took their place front and center. I started searching for jobs because there was no clear timeline for when my creative pursuits would produce green fruit.
My friend forced me to face the fact that I don’t trust God and my identity is wrapped up in what I achieve and the work that I do.
“What is preventing you from experiencing freedom today?” he asked.
My answer: I’m financially insecure and too impatient to trust that my calling will make a way for me. My self-worth is partially based on my accolades and title. And I like to be in control, and know where I’m going.
And this is probably why I’m running in circles, searching for freedom, not experiencing it.
Instead of seeking to obtain freedom someday a few years from now, He wants me to be free today, in every moment, in every breath, as I am today.
My educated guess is that I'm not alone. I pose the same question to you that my friend asked me.
What is preventing you from experiencing freedom today?
Until next time,