Ruts and Trenches
I am currently in a bit of a rut. This summer the Lord has allowed me to work less than what I planned to be doing without having to worry about finances and instead focus on helping my local church while they transition from their worship leader leaving. God completely set me up with an unforeseen job that would pay more for three weeks’ worth of work than I would have made working all summer at my other job. This was a total blessing that I will continue to thank Him for but something else has happened due to this time of rest; I don’t really have anything to do.
My focus this summer is simply volunteering in my church’s worship ministry, which only takes up about two days of the week. I have also been able to help set up a small groups ministry in the church, but that takes up only one more day in my week. I know this may seem petty to a few of you reading who are currently swamped with summer classes, two jobs, and family, but both situations have their purpose and intent.
I currently stay up late, wake up even later, watch TV, and eat about one meal a day. I seem to have hit a rut in wondering what I’m supposed to be doing. I come from living at a dorm where I was constantly doing ministry of some sort, hanging out with friends from sun up to sun down, and reading three hours a day. I felt productive and it felt good.
Now I’m doing what I felt the Lord was calling me to do this summer by not working as much and I feel like I have lost the purpose that I had a month ago. I have even lost any desire to read more than the daily news article, which if you know me that is a bad sign.
I have tried reasoning with myself that this is a good thing because with me getting older, this is easily going to be the last summer where I will be able to get away with this. Soon work will never stop and I will start building a family, but right now my schedule harkens back to the traditional summer nights of loitering at old hotels and way too much 7/11 and Waffle House. But even that doesn’t make me take comfort in what I’m doing.
There is an amazing Youtuber, Zefrank, who, while doesn’t have a Christian perspective, I think hit the nail on the head with this topic in his video (prepare for the cursing if you watch it) “An Invocation for Beginnings.” Easily my favorite part of that video is when he says, “Let me not think of my work only as a stepping stone to something else. And if it is, let me become fascinated with the shape of that stone.”
God is very peculiar with how He does things a lot of the time. We get obsessed with how things are supposed to be so often that we forget how they are and why they might be that way within themselves. I had the grand idea of doing constant ministry this summer and being busy with friends, but now we are one-third of the way through the summer months and my highlight was spending one night at a friend’s house. I remember a lesson like this in my early days in my youth group when I wasn’t able to lead worship in the Wednesday night group for a few weeks and I had to struggle with my first “setback” in ministry. In the coming weeks I got the position of student leader, which was essentially a position just under the youth pastor; a huge responsibility for a 16 year old at the time. I think so often we fail to see the works out of God’s even greater plan in the times of our genuine boredom of life.
While the passage’s context doesn’t exactly apply to my situation, I do think that Habakkuk 2:3 reveals an awesome little nugget of God’s character and His ways:
"For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay."
Even after writing and praying about it, this is still a situation I struggle with because of my obsession with production and planning. One of the best things about this whole Christianity thing is that I have a God who has me. He has achieved incredible things since the beginning of time, and what seems to be lack of purpose in my life is a simple task for Him. I can at least take comfort in that.
I can also take comfort in the fact that this life is not about me. My story is a small sub-plot in the greater story of Jesus and His Gospel. No matter what you or I go through, it is a part of the spectacular conclusion of Jesus on His throne and us worshipping Him.