Lately, I've been sick and tired of feeling like I have no say whatsoever in my life. Why should I always have to do as I'm told? Why should I be forced to provide financial security while my husband finishes grad school? Why should I be expected to complete work tasks that aren't in my job description? Why am I stuck in a life trajectory that doesn't seem to be leading toward my dreams? Why am I spending so much time doing what others need or expect from me? Why am I killing myself trying to figure out what God wants me to be doing? When do I get to do what I want to do? When do I get to enjoy myself or be at peace or take it easy? It's my life, isn't it?
And after I have one of these little tirades, I rein myself in and remember the cold, hard truth. No, as a matter of fact, it isn't my life. I didn't will myself into existence. I didn't buy myself a free pass. I haven't redeemed my sins. I am not independent of the God who made me, and I don't have sole ownership over a life that is irrevocably entwined with the lives of others. Although I am clearly a very important player in my life, it's not all about me.
That is really hard to swallow sometimes. Nobody really wants to be a servant or a slave, no matter how much he or she loves the master. We want to be a trusted team member, a valued colleague, a beloved family member. And sometimes we are, but sometimes we have to just shut up and do as we're told. When I was a child, like all children, I found it dreadfully unfair that I should have to do what the adults said simply because they're adults. And yet, here I am, knowing that I must obey God whether His instructions make any sense to me or not simply because He is God. Jonah didn't want to go to Ninevah, darn it, but in the end he went. I know it will be the same with me, but still I fight it sometimes.
Jonah didn't take any satisfaction in the fact that his actions saved an entire city from destruction. Likewise, I don't always care that my hard work is appreciated by my employer or that my husband values the sacrifices I make for my family. Sometimes I just want something for me. But as God explained to Jonah, there's the greater good to be considered. I should be able to find a truer happiness in serving God and serving the people I love than the happiness that comes with simply satisfying myself. Knowing that doesn't automatically make it easier for me to be happy, but it does lend me the perseverance and the faith I need to continue my search for the inner peace that I know will come from joyfully obeying the will of God in my life and willingly serving those around me.