The Joy Is In The Making
So here I am: 25 going on 26, one year out of medical school and a second-year intern living in a really small town. Then the grand question comes to me: what have I done with my life? Yes, I have a medical degree and can now say I’m a doctor, but that’s it!
As I look to other people my age and see yet another engagement shoot, yet another wedding, yet another newborn photo, the doubt begins to creep in...did I make the right decision? You see, I was super ambitious in high school, fully convinced I would be the world’s next big trauma surgeon, operating day in and day out and saving lives. Don’t get me wrong, I still love surgery and medicine, but the past year working as an intern in a state hospital has really taken its toll me.
I realized I lost my love for people, partly lost my love for medicine, and somewhere along the line, lost my complete touch with God. Here I am alone in a one horse town doubting my whole life’s choices. Maybe I would be married by now if I did not further pursue my studies or try to become a specialist. For how long will that put my life on hold? I was in such doubt about all the questions that I was becoming like the man described in James 1.
..For he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. -James 1:6
Last winter, I decided to pick up my crocheting needles again and attempt to crochet a sweater I saw online. As I was making each stitch, eager to get to the finished product, the following words kept coming to me: the joy is in the making. I was trying to rush to get the sweater done so that half way through I lost the fun in creating the sweater, simply rushing through each stitch so I could get to the end. But what then?
The exact same thing was happening to me during my internship. Here I was doing 30 hour calls, rushing through it all to try and see the 100 patients waiting outside. During the day I would rush through my morning routine just to rush through my afternoon lunch to race to gym and race back home. I was becoming more and more anxious as I looked around me, seeing all these people I knew getting all the things I so badly wanted and being left behind, standing still, constantly in the hour of waiting. Night after night I would argue with God, asking why He’s punishing me by leaving me alone, why I can't have my husband, why do I have to do overtime, why why why, to the point of weeping on the floor in complete agony over feeling rejected by God, invisible to the world and hopeless.
How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? -Psalm 13:1
It wasn’t until I went on my annual leave that I realized I was exhausted and burnt out. I was fighting with the ones I loved most over insignificant things, becoming impatient when in fact I had loads of time, and hating my job. It was as though God was pointing out to me what I had become: an angry, loud, and empty young woman whom He had no way of using. He was showing me that like the sweater I was rushing to try and finish, I was rushing at my own life, being so busy with the everyday things and worrying over things beyond my control that I was not putting my trust in God to take control. I wasn’t enjoying the making of my life, the slow molding of the woman God is creating. He wanted me to turn back to Him, to find my rest in Him.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. -Matthew 11:28-30
So, how do you slow it down and enjoy the making?
Stop, take a deep breath, and find God’s peace.
Being a super type A personality, I prayed for God to give me peace and to take that constant sense of urgency away. If you're too busy being busy and anxious, you can’t be in God’s peace and be restful in His presence. Now, when I find my thoughts reeling towards all the things I think I should’ve had or accomplished already, I stop, breathe, and think of God’s promise in Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”
Decide what’s important.
You have to decide what’s important in life. We sometimes take a lot on our plates because we want to prove that we are effective and successful. I had to learn to scale down, instead of juggling five things at the same time. So, I started by doing one thing at a time and finishing that task before I went on to the next one, ticking each one off my list as I went through my day. You’d be surprised to learn that the amount of hours you get in a day is exactly enough.
Stay in the present.
A lot of my anxiety came from continuously worrying about the future and what that would be and how I could try and control what was happening. Realizing I couldn't make all the things that I wanted to happen, happen left me feeling out of control and set my anxiety into overdrive. God so specifically tells us in His word that we don’t need to worry about the future, because He knows our needs long before we even think to ask.
I started to pray that God would open my eyes to all the wonderful things happening around me each day. That I wouldn’t wish for and focus so much on the future that I missed the joys of the present. I decided that I didn't want my life to go by so fast anymore.
Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? -Matthew 6:25-27
I’m not a hundred percent competent in all of the above yet, and sometimes I find myself rushing again and becoming anxious at the passing of time. But, in those five seconds of clarity and coherent thought, the Holy Spirit reminds me of what Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day that the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.” And I know God has my whole life in the palm of His hand. I have nothing to fear... for the future is paved by His hand.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever. -Psalm 23:6