A Rusty Pail

We have all been there: Too many things to do and not enough time, Commitments to your friends and family, or maybe the financial pressures of the world are weighing you down. I do not want to be a Debbie Downer, but sometimes life is just a full of crap gathering in a rusty pail. As you grow older, there are so many more responsibilities and challenges that come into your life. I think the biggest challenge is simply figuring out what to do with your life. This has been a big struggle for me and my husband lately. I believe we are blessed in many ways, but things just seem to be a big mess. I have no clue what type of career to have or what I should do for work. All my life I’ve really only wanted to be part of a family and have children of my own. I feel like that is what I have been called to.

Now, I’m sure there is someone out there reeling in shock that an educated woman would want to be a homemaker in this day and age. However, I cannot think of any greater joy than raising my own children. On top of that joyful thought, I think I could do well in many careers. I have a good education and have experience in many different fields. I have worked in ministry, worked in a library, worked as a copy-editor, and so many more areas. Despite this, I cannot help but feel lost in regards to where to go from here. Do I pursue the current masters degree I am in now? Do I pursue a different one? Do I start a family? Do I do nothing? All of these questions racing around make me question why God has yet to direct me. I have prayed for direction and yet I still feel lost. Does God always tell us what to do? Maybe that’s just it. Maybe God is open to all the ideas I have. Or maybe I am unwilling to listen.

A lot of these feelings come down to being lost and a sense of hopelessness. It is very difficult to choose the “right” path to take when the world has so many different ideas of what success is. It is difficult to have a feeling of success when you have very little money and you are told financial freedom is success. It is so difficult to save and to get your life on track especially after accumulating school debt. Let me tell you, debt is one of the worst things you could do to yourself. I do believe having some debt from school is an investment, but it is still a very stressful experience. Given the rant above, what is success? Should I feel successful? Should I feel successful even if I have no idea what to do with my life?

I want to say yes, but I have no idea why. A roof over my head, food to eat, and people who care are successes in some sense. However, where is God in all this despair? Maybe He is the calming force that is telling me everything will be okay while that rusty pail is filling up. Whatever it is, I will hold onto that small cry of yes until I have the means to say I am successful for… Yes.

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Things I Have Learned From my Fish Tank

Okay, so this will be weird but owning a fish tank has really made me grow as a person. No I’m not some crazy fish advocate or something, there is a story here though, I promise. This past year has been pretty hard at times. One of my closest friend’s died in a tragic accident, my Grandma passed away, and my childhood pet cat died as well. I was beginning to feel a little lonely and sad at all the deaths that occurred and tried to get a new pet cat to hug and have around. I am not a crazy cat lady, but I do find it comforting to have a pet. Anyway, I was unable to house a new cat in my current living situation so it got me thinking of fish. I could comfortably own fish where I live, they would keep me company in an odd sort of fishy way, and it would give me something to do while I was going through so much bad. It was a good plan! (Despite the fact that fish can’t hug.) It turns out it was a good plan, but a really hard plan to execute. I found myself very quickly sympathizing with God and what He might go through while taking care of us. I’m definitely not trying to demean God or be heretical, but I definitely thought of what He must go through trying to take care of humans.

First, my fish kept dying. It turns out fish need really specific living conditions that I had NO idea about. Lesson 1: research about the fish you intend to keep! The tank was too small and then the water was too acidic. Then there was not enough heat and not enough places to hide. God is a genius. It is so hard to create safe living conditions in a small, little, itsy bitsy 10- gallon tank and God has the entire universe to take care of. How he got all the conditions right for life, I don’t know if I could ever fathom.

Second, feeding the fish can be nightmarish. I may be exaggerating a bit, but I’ve come to learn that certain fish are very picky eaters. Moreover, some fish eat other fish and others only eat plant matter. Then you have to figure out which fish can go with which other fish! The fact that God provides us with food is beyond me. It is hard to feed 5 little fish.

Third, they bring such joy. I never really cared for the idea of fish much before this. I thought some fish were really creepy. However, after owning these little guys for some time, I have come to love them in a strange way. They have no names other than “little fishy guy” and they do weird things that I don’t understand, but their is something special about them. When I sit in front of their tank and they swim over and stare right at me, I know that it is something like a little fishy hello. I imagine God must feel like that sometimes with us. We do something sort of weird and not exactly how He may communicate, but He knows that we are saying a little humany hello to Him and that must bring Him great joy.

All in all, I’m glad I got some fish although I would still like a cat one day. In such a simple way, God has somehow used His creation to speak to me and reflect on His sovereignty over the Universe. Academics are great teaching and learning tools, but sometimes living life brings the most meaningful and memorable lessons.

-Katie