Last year, God finally answered yes to my years-long prayer request for the “Big Thing.” It doesn’t really matter what the Big Thing was. Maybe it was healing, a financial breakthrough, a reconciled relationship, a job or some other change in circumstance. Whatever it was, my waiting experience was like that of so many other people: a constant fight with the lingering fear that God was punishing me for wanting it too badly.
I went through a long, dark time a few years ago. I prayed that God would end it, that He would set me free from the people and circumstances that vexed me. He did not.
Throughout my 20s, one of the biggest sources of stress in my life was the fear that God didn’t really love me and that I would never really know where I stood with Him. At one one point, however, I put His love to the test: I went on a sinning spree that took me further than I wanted to go and convinced there was no way back.
In 2009, I was at a friend’s birthday party when my vision suddenly became distorted. I could hear and see everyone, but it felt like I was in a dream. About 15 seconds later, I came out of it. I walked over to my friend, who’s a doctor, and tried to describe what happened. “Maybe you’ve got superpowers,” he said, and we both chuckled. Soon thereafter, I stopped chuckling.
Yesterday, my wife and I had visitors over, and my newborn son started crying — probably because he was tired and needed to go to sleep. We tried to play it cool while attempting to calm him down. We even gave our visitors a shot at soothing him, but none of it worked. He kept on crying, so I finally left the room and went upstairs to console him. It took 30 minutes, and it required a lot of creativity.
Last week, a series of minor, negative events happened throughout the morning. It started with a bit of unexpected, disappointing news, and the dominos just kept falling from there. By mid-afternoon, my chest felt tight with anxiety, and my breathing was slightly more shallow than normal. When I got home, I made dinner for my daughters and tried to distract myself from the heaviness inside by checking my email and social media. It didn’t work.
When I was in seventh grade, I wrote in my journal that I wanted to be an attorney when I grew up, because “attorneys get to do my three favorite things: argue, be dramatic and be right.” In that same journal entry, I also sheepishly acknowledged that being an attorney probably wasn’t a reality for me.
Eight years ago this month, I was at a hat-themed party in Washington, D.C., feeling an acute level of insecurity. In a variety of areas of my life, I was dealing with a lack of integrity, self-control, and spiritual maturity. And although I’m sure my personal life could’ve been worse, it was bad enough that I knew I wouldn’t be getting married for at least another couple of years.