Struggle, Revelation, and Growth

By Dakota Moore

I was facing the end of the spring semester and the looming question, “What will I do next?”. In college, the spring is when you seek and snag club or leadership positions for the fall. I was overambitious last year and overloaded myself for the then current semester. I took six classes, was involved in three clubs, and did a semester-long research project. I was stressed dealing with finals and felt that I wasn’t making a lasting impact or doing what God wanted to prepare me for my calling. I didn’t eat appropriately because of busyness, my chronic illnesses flared up, and I lost 10 pounds that month. I had also recently broken things off with my boyfriend and was emotionally hurting while trying to maintain A’s. I was hanging by threads only by holding on to Jesus, and I never wanted to go through anything like that again.

I had taken on so much because I found validation and measured my success by the positions on my resume. I had struggled with this worldly mindset for the past two years, and I was determined that next semester I would do what the Lord would show me to do and nothing else. At first, I didn’t listen out of fear and a lack of faith. So, I applied for SOAR Leader, was offered Presidency of the Psychology Club and Psi Chi chapter, and pursued a position on the school’s College Student Leadership Board while purportedly “slowing down.” I reasoned that the positions I get must be the Lord’s will if God isn’t answering yes or no before the deadline, so it’s up to me. I had to make a hard stop because I was about to set myself up to be in the same place I was before. So, I asked the Lord and realized that if He didn’t say yes or no and I didn’t hear anything from Him, I needed to wait, which was hard. I had to say no to everything except one thing, which the Lord said yes to.

Once I said no to those things, I realized I didn’t have those things to crutch on. I felt empty and began to doubt whether I had made the right decisions.

“That was a great leadership experience. What if I don’t have the skills or resume needed to get the job I want eventually?”

I kept asking God, “What should I be doing?” I felt lost and in limbo! If I want to go to grad school, I need to know what I want to do and start preparing; all God had told me was “Christian ministry.”

Jesus gives us peace. He doesn’t fill us with doubt. I relied on and trusted my skills and resume for the future rather than God.

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27

On Mother’s Day, my family watched Jesus Revolution. Something I pulled from watching the beautiful story is how God used the simple everyday obedience and talents of those who loved him to transform so many lives. It was a simple, profound reminder that if you are faithful to what’s in front of you, he will show you what’s next. How could I ask God to show me what’s next if I wasn’t faithfully doing what he said to do now? How can I complain I can’t hear God when I’m blocking out His voice because I don’t like what He’s saying?

And when I asked, God revealed exactly what I had not done. I needed to work on the blog pieces he had placed on my heart, write the sermons and Bible lessons He gave me, and delve deeper into the word and my Hebrew while applying for scholarships and working full time, amongst other regular responsibilities. He also began to reveal heart postures concerning my vanity, desire for validation, and self-reliance that he wanted to change.

While Christians should plan for the future, focusing on stewarding today well and trusting him with the result is a relief. It removes the anxiety about “securing” your future. When you “trust in the Lord, with all your heart… He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). So, when I felt inadequate and insecure because I didn’t do every leadership activity available, I told God how I felt and asked him to help me place my hope, desires, and future in his hands. I trust the Lord because he has always shown himself faithful and cannot help but be so (2 Tim 2:11-13).

In this time of waiting, I have tried to make room for God to speak. I am cultivating intentionality in making time for daily Bible reading, prayer, and, when possible, worship. I’ll often ask God something in prayer; he’ll answer it and encourage me through a sermon or conversations with brothers and sisters in Christ. He responds to it all, from my daily emotional struggles to when my health makes it hard to get up. I’m learning that God isn’t limited in how he can speak to us (he can get creative!). Still, he has given us some ways to hear from him; thus, we are responsible for making time for listening. He will speak about big things when we sincerely try to get the little things right (I try and often fail, but the Lord’s grace fills the gap). While the Lord hasn’t laid out that roadmap for my life that I thought I wanted, I am experiencing his love and Spirit daily and more profoundly than I ever imagined I could. Even when I have hard days, I smile and sometimes dance because I know the Lord loves me so much. He is revealing and implanting His desires in my heart and wants to grow them to use them for his purposes and glory. Waiting is often a time of struggle, revelation, and growth. But we shouldn’t be discouraged because that’s when the Lord sanctifies us for his work!

All Scripture quotes from New King James Version.

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