I don’t talk about my faith very much. First, I think it’s personal, between me and God. Second, after attending an Evangelical-based university for four years, I have a very strong opinion about witnessing, which is essentially that actions speak louder than words – I attempt to walk the walk in such a way that the people around me will be inspired to ask what’s different about my life; only then I will tell them. As a Christian, I fall short, but I keep trying simply because my life would be much darker without Him at the centre of it.
So, I’m not going to lie – these past three years have been a struggle, a wandering in the desert. Family is not as close as I want; friends I’ve asked for help, haven’t or haven’t been able to; I’ve had people exit my life when I’ve needed them the most. A friend claims “I’m there for you,” but as soon as I share something relating to depression, the subject is changed. Back to the desert I go.
I’ve been banished to the desert before: actually, it was the main motivation for moving to Vancouver. I was still living in Winnipeg at the time, and couldn’t seem to land a full-time job. At one point, I was waitressing in addition to holding down three other casual jobs. I remember the time fondly as a period in my life when I got out of bed in the morning and the first thing I did was to check the calendar to see where I was expected to be that day. But I kept sending out resumes; kept going through the motions of putting one foot in front of the other. Until the day arrived when I landed the job that led me to Vancouver. A new start; a fresh beginning. I was leaving the desert behind.
When I started freelancing about six and a half years ago, it was a struggle. Then it got better as I became more adept at writing for clients. Then in the last three years, it reverted back to a major struggle; I seemed to lose a handful of regulars in a space of a month due to downsizing and relocation. I felt discouraged having to start building a client list from scratch – again.
In The Bible, Exodus tells us the story of the Israelites and how it took them 40 years to get to the Promised Land. In real time, Egypt to Canaan is under 400 miles, an 11-day journey even with the slowest camels on earth. But it was never about arriving; it was always about the journey. God took care of the Israelites, making sure they had food (manna) and water. He didn’t want grumbling or complaining or blaming other people (basically Moses). He wants the struggle of wandering in the desert to yield precious lessons about ourselves – when we are boiled in water, do we become the carrot (mushy), the egg (hard), or the coffee bean (aromatic beverage)?
Two days ago I spoke to my oldest friend in Winnipeg. She’s been very supportive as I trek through the desert. We had been talking for about 10 minutes when she commented on how calm I was, even though everything is in flux; nothing’s certain.
And it hit me – I’ve undergone a sea change. I’m no longer angry at God. I’m done blaming him for lack of clients; failure to land a full-time job; for not being able to go on vacation or buy a new couch. He provides manna and water and a place to live. I hope that I’m not wandering the desert for too much longer. But it’s really okay if I am. I am centred where I should be.