“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:9
I think I go around beating myself up a lot.
Saying ‘I’m too this’ or ‘not enough that’ and if you tell yourself lies like that after a while, you start to get confused about what’s true. But God doesn’t think like that. His thoughts aren’t focused on things of this earth – His thoughts are heavenly thoughts.
Its funny because one of the main things the church teaches is how valuable we are to God. We’re the reason the Gospel happened. If we didn’t mean that much to God, none of the things involving Jesus would have occurred.
But the number of times I hear some version of “Jesus died for you because of His love for you” and the number of times I actually believe it and let it sink in to my bones are vastly different. I don’t live like I believe it, either.
As if my value wasn’t already secured on a cross thousands of years ago.
I think this most often manifests itself in the way I’m always striving to be successful, to do something cool or to achieve more.
Somehow I started believing the lie that this will prove something to others about my worth.
We are told a lot of times to keep moving forward, whether we’re told through the words or the actions of those around us. If you’re not constantly moving forward, you’re stagnant. And that means you’ve failed. You can see this just in the urgency with which people walk down the sidewalk in Manhattan. There is always a next step you’re supposed to take. There is always another destination.
I think I started focusing on this a lot in my 20s because after college, this idea seems to amp up times a thousand.
You need to graduate college. Find a career. Move out of your parents’ house. Buy a house of your own. Open a savings account. Get married. Have kids. Start a “life” by everyone else’s definition of what a life is. This is what you’re supposed to do in your 20s. You don’t have time to fool around anymore.
I believe something different.
I think your 20s are for learning – nothing more, nothing less. They’re for being honest with yourself. Living life by your own standards. Being human. Experiencing. Trying. Failing. Stopping. Appreciating. I think any age, for that matter, is about those things.
My husband and I were having a conversation about buying a house one day.
We were sitting in the living room, looking at houses, examining our savings account and finding out what we could afford. We had been out with a real estate agent. We went through the process with the bank about what kind of mortgage we could get. We had all of the paperwork. All that was left was to decide. We were sitting in the living room in our apartment surrounded by papers, trying to figure it out.
My husband asked me what I thought about all of the houses we had looked at, and I realized something: I don’t want to buy a house.
I don’t want to buy a house at all.
I’m 25. He’s 33. We’re married. We both have careers. We opened a savings account together a couple of years ago – this is the logical next step, right?
In response, I said to him, “I’m really happy with the way things are right now.”
I found myself wondering what that meant as I said it. Does it mean I’ve failed? Does it mean something is wrong with me? How will people look at it?
My first thought after saying, “I’m really happy with the way things are right now” was “Is something wrong with me?”
The more I thought about it, the more I realized I think that is what’s wrong with me.
I think it’s important to stop and enjoy things as they are, for as long as you need and as long as it makes you happy. You don’t have to stay in the same place your whole life, and probably shouldn’t, according to Mark Twain.
But what is wrong with being still for a while? Besides everyone telling you there’s something wrong with it, of course.
I love our apartment. I love living in NYC. I love the life we have built here over the past three years. I’m not ready to move on yet. Nothing in me wants to live in a suburb. Or buy a home. I don’t want the maintenance. I don’t want the quiet. I don’t want to have to drive everywhere or be responsible for a mortgage. There’s nothing wrong with any of those things – that’s just not me yet.
Once I realized this, I started replacing the lies I constantly told myself – keep going, achieve more, be successful, prove your worth- with something different:
Those sentences, even just reading them now, soothe my soul in a way I can’t even describe because I think we just don’t hear them enough.
It took a long time for these things to start to sink in. Some days I believe them a lot more than others.
But I think the fact that our value is secured by a God whose thoughts and ways are so much higher than ours means we don’t need to place our value in anything else.
We don’t need to find value in whether we are married or single, whether we have kids or too many cats, whether we have a job in our field or a job that we are simply happy with, whether we own a home or whether we are still paying too much to rent in NYC at 25 or 33.
We can move forward when we’re ready. Or we can accept that we need to take a step back. Or we can rest where we are and be still. None of those things defines our worth. None of those things should keep us up at night.
I think there’s something to be said for enjoying life as it comes.
In fact, I think the future will play out how it plays out, and I will have little to do with it.
After all, His thoughts are better. His ways are better than my own.