I really love One Tree Hill. Two of my housemates and I made the bad decision to start watching it all from the beginning, and I’ve seen the series so many times but somehow it still manages to make me feel like I’m 15 again in my bedroom wearing my pyjamas on a Sunday night watching the DVDs as late as possible before having to go to bed for school the next morning. If I’m honest, I should probably be asleep now – but I felt like I needed to blog, and so blog is what I’m doing.
I’m at that unfortunate stage (or is it exciting? I guess the two words are sort of massively interchangeable at the moment, to be honest) in my life where university is very rapidly coming to a close (3 more full weeks of lectures, anyone? WHAT.) and I have to start making some serious adult-life decisions. I have to properly think about what I’m spending my money on, whether I can afford to keep my battered but lovely car next year, and the dreaded J word – jobs. I’ve sent off applications, spent ages making my CV look pretty and finding a half decent photo of myself to put on the top so that at least they can admire my hair before they move on to someone else’s. I’m preparing for interviews, reading up on different things and trying to polish myself off to the best of my ability and to present my best self when the time comes.
But the problem is, I’m still just Annie at the end of it all.
Is this a massive self-depreciating post? No, actually, it isn’t. This post is being written from a place of panic and self-doubt as I’ve marvelled at the real world in front of me, and as I’ve tried to process the different expectations and hopes that other people around me have had and expressed to me at various points. Growing up is scary. And, as much as I’ve laughed at myself saying it to other people, trusting in Jesus at times like this is pretty scary, too.
The thing is, I know that God has a plan for me and that his plan will come through for me (because, I mean, he’s God!), but it doesn’t always seem to take the panic away all the time for me. I have been so worried about my ability and my experiences. I’ve been comparing myself to other people and looking at what they have and how God has provided for them in so many exciting ways for the future. So many of my friends and people around me at university have their next steps sorted (genuinely, go you, guys, and I’m not even awkwardly saying that out of a place of awkward jealousy), and sometimes I have a tendency to panic more when I see this. If that makes me a bad Christian, then so be it. It’s been a bit difficult to think any other way recently. I’ve had the whole oh, I’m too sinful to do this job, or the well, you aren’t nearly good enough or equipped enough for that, Annie. Just give up now!
Thankfully, God doesn’t think this way about me.
It was when I was watching One Tree Hill I suddenly remembered how much I also loved the soundtrack. The actress who plays Haley (the way-too-gorgeous-for-it-to-be-okay actress up the top there) performs a song called Halo as part of the series and without massively introducing any spoilers to any of you (if there’s anyone else other than the 3 people in my house including myself who watch it regularly out there), my favourite lyric of it all is this:
“I always said that I would make mistakes
I’m only human, and that’s my saving grace”
When I listened to this song and had a serious flashback nostalgia moment the other day, I felt like God was speaking to me through One Tree Hill of all things. Imagine that, eh? Something really got me about the “I’m only human and that’s my saving grace” bit. The thing is, I’m definitely not perfect. I haven’t been perfect when I’ve worried about singleness, or not wearing any makeup, or going through the motions with depression, all of which I’ve blogged about, so why should the future be any different – why should I have to elevate myself to a place of perfection when I look at jobs and leaving uni?
I guess, because, I just want to do the best I can. I always have, and I most definitely probably always will. It’s just part of me.
But what I’ve had to realise all over again in this process, is that it’s not me necessarily that gets the interviews and the jobs and the good grades. It’s God. When I became a Christian and said yes to Jesus, I surrendered and gave over my whole life to Him that He might be glorified through me and that He could use me for whatever He wanted, and whatever His will was for me. So why should I have to worry? Does this mean that I shouldn’t “push doors” as we Christians like to say, and see which ones God opens? Does it mean that I don’t need to work hard at my studies, or put effort into applications?
The effort is on my part too, definitely. But what I’m trying to say here, is that my imperfections and my weaknesses – or, to use the proper scary word: my sin – is not something that holds God back. God is bigger than all of those things, all of that sin – otherwise Jesus wouldn’t have kicked some serious sin-butt on the Cross would he?
Most of us know that God used Moses to change the course of Israelite history. God used Moses to free the Israelites – God’s people – from slavery in Egypt. (Sidenote: anyone seen Prince of Egypt? Flipping cracking film, isn’t it? Lettttttt myyyyy peeeeeeeople GO!) In my Bible in One Year reading (which I’m frantically trying to catch up on, awkward) a few weeks back, I read about God coming to Moses and calling him to go back to Egypt and get the Israelites, and Moses just keeps on telling God all the reasons why he can’t do it:
“Moses objected, ‘They won’t trust me. They won’t listen to a word I say’ … Moses raised another objection to God: ‘Master, please, I don’t talk well. I’ve never been good with words, neither before nor after you spoke to me. I stutter and stammer.'”
(Exodus 4:1 & 10 MSG)
Moses only saw in himself all of the bad things and none of the good. Some would say quite right too, I mean he did kill a man and make a bit of a mess of things. But God saw something else – God saw his potential. He saw his weakness, too, and he didn’t ignore it. But he saw an opportunity to make good of where Moses had gone wrong and turn some things around that needed sorting. He was doing what one of my favourite cliche Christian sayings says of God: “he doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called”. Cracking stuff. God himself says to Moses:
“I’ll be right there to teach you what to say”
(Exodus 4:12 MSG)
I don’t need to put God in a box. In fact, I shouldn’t put God in a box. Are there things I need to work on and are there areas where I mess up? Definitely – but find me a Christian who doesn’t have these areas. But does this mean that these areas are too big for God to handle, or too much for Jesus to overcome? Definitely not. If it’s right, just being Annie will be more than enough, I’m sure.
This time of life is scary – but what’s even scarier is doing this without at least believing a little bit that Jesus has a plan and that he loves me. Thankfully, as the panic starts to settle in, so does my belief all over again and it’s resonating loudly with me again, too. God has definitely got it, and he has definitely got me.
I used the photo up top there because I just love what Haley says. She’s talking about her boyfriend Nathan which is really cute, but – and as awfully cringey this is – it made me think of how I feel about Jesus. When it comes down to it guys, I just love Jesus. He is incredible and I want to serve Him with all of the days of my life – even when I do mess it up or go a bit off course. My heart wants to serve His heart – and where that is exactly I’m so excited (and scared!) to find out. I just need to remember that on the map of my life as drawn out nicely by Jesus (like the D of E ones except way better and much less stressful walking, blisters and rubbish camping weather), the patches where my failings might show up or my sin appears to get in the way, Jesus has already found a bridge to cross over it, and He’s already waiting for me on the other side.
Thank goodness for that, eh?
Peace and blessings x