Sometimes discouragement comes your way. Sometimes you feel that there is little you can do. Other days you don’t even know what the goal is. What are you striving for? Why were you made this way, placed in this spot, and brought to this point? What use are you in the world? Some days you feel like Solomon, who had everything we humans hold dear in life, wealth beyond compare, peace and security, wisdom and knowledge, all delights of the flesh, and still bitterly wrote “All is meaningless under the sun.”
Sometimes I think that money would solve my problems. Ever since I was a child I had a favorite fantasy, as simple as it was improbable: that I would be walking along some day and suddenly find a neatly stacked pile of hundred dollars bills falling from the sky and landing right in front of me. It was a favorite fantasy whenever I wanted something I couldn’t possibly afford. When I became a college student the fantasy came to mind not when I wanted material possessions but instead when I wanted security. I wanted to feel safe. I wanted to know that everything would be okay, and that I wouldn’t have to worry about trying to find a part time job every semester.
All that is foolish in more ways than I can count. I am secure. God has taken care of me, and will take care of me in the future. My first two years of college my needs were very small, and I managed to find a job for one semester out of each year. I wanted to work year round, but no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t land a steady job. Then suddenly, when my needs increased, I managed to find an excellent school year round part time job on campus. Then over the summer, working at Mt.Ranier for an excellent wage (considering my lack of experience), I realized that my needs were about to become even greater. I asked God to provide; and suddenly this last year I’ve found myself with three different paying jobs on campus. God provides. He never gives me more than I need (which starts to drive me mad with worry) but he never lets me fall either.
It’s also silly because money doesn’t make you any happier. It doesn’t give you fulfillment or lasting security. Even if a million dollars fell from the stratosphere onto my front porch it wouldn’t guarantee a thing. I could be run over by a bus tomorrow. My apartment could burn down. My family could die in a car crash. Money can’t protect me from the troubles of the world.
Still I can’t help but fantasize about money. I wish I had enough that I could do whatever I wanted to do for a living, rather than what might pay the bills. I could write without having to worry about whether anyone will ever pay me for writing. I could make movies without ever worrying about getting a return on my investment. Money tempts me with the thought of such freedom. Yet those who have the most possessions always seem the least free. Businessmen pull in six figure salaries spend their evenings working late at the office and stress their hearts into an early grave, missing out on the benefits of the money they tirelessly earn. Money won’t make me free.
It is very strange. I have more than enough money, really. For someone my age I have taken care of my finances very well. I know friends who have casually let slip that they only have $12 to their name, until their next paycheck comes in. The last time my own bank account was that low was shortly after I opened it. Yet often all I can think about is “You’re graduating in only a few months. How will you get money? Where will you find a job? What are you going to do when your savings dry up?”
I can’t stand the uncertainty of it all! All my life I’ve never known what I was meant to do. I’ve pleaded to God to let me know what His plan is for my life. Even a little hint would be nice! Am I supposed to become a movie maker? Yeah right. There are millions of young people who want to be moviemakers, people who know more than me, have done more than me, are more talented than me, and still didn’t make the cut. Maybe just video then? Please. You don’t know the difference between an f-stop and a shadowbox. You don’t know how to do proper lighting, filtering, composition, or special effects. You haven’t even tried to make a video in almost a year. Who are you trying to fool. Am I supposed to become a writer? Oh sure. The last piece you tried to publish was rejected by everyone you tried. You’ve never published anything, and even if you do that’s not going to put food on the table. Alright, I’ll work in PR. Great. Work hard covering up the mistakes of some souless cooperation for the rest of your life. That sure is fulfilling work, if you can get it, which you probably can’t given your lack of experience. Fine then I’ll work for a nonprofit and help people. Who would take you? You aren’t going to jump into World Vision straight from college. You’ll end up working at some little nonprofit out there doing work you may not even care about for almost no pay with zero benefits. Well maybe I should become a history professor. Really? Kind of late for that revelation Sparky. You’ve been working on the wrong degree for that. On top of that, do you really want to spend four to six more years of your life getting a doctorate for a career you’re not even sure you want in a field that doesn’t guarantee you a job?
Maybe I’ll just lie on the couch and gather dust then.
Discouragement will always be there, I guess. Even Martin Luther King Jr. doubted himself. Most days I can shrug doubts off. Or at least shove them into the background of my mind. But on days like today they start to sour all my thoughts. I had a great post planned for today. But I couldn’t write it. I just stared at the screen too worried and tired and discouraged to even try. So I wrote this instead.
Writing can be terribly cathartic.