Being on "God's Time"

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I never thought I would be so annoyed about setting the clocks forward. Since I already wake up earlier than usual as part of my Lenten resolution, I’ve lost a little more sleep now that Daylight Savings Time has started. And I really could’ve used some extra sleep since my retreat ended on Saturday night.

But as I’ve learned on retreats, you are never really on your own time, but actually “God’s time.” Retreats have schedules, but things rarely go as planned or go as smoothly as we want them to. The same thing applies to real life. We may have all these plans about how we want our day to go, but something always throws us off our schedule. It could be the kids crying, rush hour traffic, an unexpected request from a co-worker, etc. As Taylor Swift said “Life is full of little interruptions.”

One thing I struggle with is how to be flexible with my time while trying to stick to a schedule. I used to plan everything down to the minute to the point that one tiny distraction or interruption would throw me off completely. Now that I work from home, I have to make my own schedule and structure my day in small ways.

Another thing that I also struggle with, when it comes to God’s timing, is trusting in his providence. I have the very awful tendency to compare my life to other people’s. It seems like everyone I know is in a relationship, getting married, having babies, working full-time…and I’m stuck at home, waiting for my life to start.

It wasn’t until I watched Yulin Kuang recap how 2015 was for her that I learned the meaning behind the idea of “Don’t compare your behind the scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel.” She pointed out that she didn’t document her disappointments and that a lot of her year was spent waiting. “So much so that you couldn’t stand it.” It made me realize that everyone has long waiting periods at some point or another. Rome wasn’t built in a day and there’s no such thing as an actual overnight sensation.

I’m only three months into 2016 and I’ve already been on one retreat. I have plans for travelling next month as well as this summer. I contributed to a Bible study and am trying to be consistent with my goals and my prayer life. A lot of my blessings have been of the interior, both this year and throughout my post-college life. But all that waiting led to amazing things in the long run.

I am always on God’s time, even when I don’t want to be. After all, Romans 8:28 says “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”

So let’s hope that whatever God has in store for me this year was worth waiting for.

Prosperity vs. Providence: What You Want Isn't Always What You Need

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I’ve mentioned before that for me, when it comes to relying on God, I like to think more along the lines of believing in providence rather than prosperity.

The word “providence” comes from the word “provide,” which means “to make available” or “to supply.” The word always takes into account what is to come. Prosperity means “successful, flourishing, thriving.” Not that there’s anything wrong with having a life that’s successful, flourishing, or thriving, but at the same time, meditate on this Bible verse: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.”

We live in a society that doesn’t understand the difference between “Need” and “Want.” Blimey Cow did a video on this:

Let’s apply the strategy from Messy Mondays to the things that we want.

Would we really be in serious trouble if we didn’t have the perfect house or a nice car or a million dollars? Pope Francis lives in what is basically an apartment building and only rides in the Popemobile once a week. Not to mention that since he’s a Jesuit, he’s taken a vow of poverty. Would we really be in serious trouble if we missed an episode, or heck a whole season, of the latest hit TV show? I get by pretty fine avoiding How to Get Away With Murder and Game of Thrones. Would we really be in serious trouble if we didn’t get the job we wanted? Well, that’s a bit of a gray area, but honestly, it’s not like getting the corner office is the end-all be-all. It’s good to have a job, but not at the expense of everything else.

We will always want things. It’s part of being human. We may think that we “need” things, but in reality, we may just be wanting something that’s not the best for us right now. Like, hypothetically speaking, say that there’s a girl who always whines about needing a boyfriend. It’s not exactly the end of the world if she doesn’t have one. The trick to figuring out what we need versus what we want involves learning what we can reasonably live without. You may want to go on a trip, but you can’t exactly afford to do so because you need that money for the rent or to pay off the mountain of student loans you have hanging over your head. Although I didn’t exactly make all 30 days of Leah Darrow’s “The Closet Challenge,” the task made me realize what clothes I don’t really use or wear. In other words, it made me learn what kind of clothes I needed as opposed to clothes I wanted but may not wear all the time. It also kept me from asking for new clothes, even though I had the opportunity to get new clothes if I so wanted to.

When we look at our lives and plan for the future, it’s better to have realistic expectations of getting the things that we need. The Gospel of Happiness says that it’s better to have realistic expectations in the long run. The good news is that while we can plan for the future, we can bring God into it by asking Him to provide for what we need. “Give us this day our daily bread,” as it says in the Our Father.

And sometimes, the Lord can give us what we want. I didn’t exactly need to go to Comicpalooza, but I still did and ended up having the time of my life. The way to have realistic expectations about what we want, though, is understanding and accepting that we don’t always get what we want all the time. We will always have what we need. Just that we can’t always get what we want.