Saturday, October 17, 2015

"Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be"

I've generally prided myself on the fact that I'm a Christian woman. I believe in God, I believe Jesus died for our sins, I believe that it's important to live a kind and moral life. I believe in counseling people gently, and I believe in trying to love and forgive, imperfect creatures that we are at doing both. I do think that some behavior we all generally view as "okay" is actually immoral, but I also believe I fall short of good behavior quite often. Rather than judging, I try to simply straighten myself out, and be understanding of others, and to try and offer a good example. I fail a lot. But I try.

Lately, though, I've asked myself whether I actually believe in God.

This hurts me at my very core. I know it probably means I am going to hell; I hope I can be forgiven for my doubt, and I believe I can change. But I've become selfish and sad, and it's been harder and harder to have faith.

I guess part of it is that I also kind of want to believe in karma - what goes around, comes around. And, truth be told, I've never felt like I've been a particularly evil person. I actually try to be kind, and to smile, and to help people when needed. That said, I'm not the type of person who does volunteer work all the time either. I've always viewed myself as kind of in the middle - I'm not a great, perfect, super-giving person, but I don't think I've ever done great evil, either. I'm normal, bordering on simply pleasant (if a little annoying at times, and sometimes also a bit selfish). I'm generally neutral ground, with a hope that I can have a positive impact here and there.

That is why I've had such a hard time coping with why such a horrible, evil thing happened to me, and why God let it happen. Why my life and my marriage had to suddenly take this awful turn, even though I'd done no great evil to anyone else, at least not that I'm aware of.

I've been back and forth on this. Is it a test of my faith? Is it just because people did this to me, and I'm meant to turn to God for comfort? Because part of me could accept that, except I'm also told at church to keep praying. But it's felt like my prayers are so empty - like no one is listening. Sometimes, things work out the way I pray them to work out. Other times, bad things win out.

Perhaps I'm not meant to understand. After all, I can't claim to be God. I don't know what the big picture is, and why this puzzle piece has to fall into place like so - with someone suffering and being sad or a bad thing happening - and why another puzzle piece works out. But not knowing the big picture is very frustrating and can be deterring. I want to understand. I want to know - why this, why that? What IS the plan? The fact that this often seems like a one-sided conversation and I'm not allowed to know the other side of things is truly a test of my faith, and makes it so hard to keep going.

So sometimes I get angry, and depressed, and I start to blame God for what happened to me, and I feel like maybe I am just alone out here, and prayer is just another way of talking to myself in an effort to work things out on my own. Or, if God does exist, I have to ask why He let this happen, and what I did that was so bad to deserve this.

And then the guilt starts, about how other people have it worse, and I am pretty damn lucky, with food and clothing and housing and a lot of toys and comforts. But somehow it doesn't all make up for the heartbreak. 

So... being at peace with God... it's a work in progress. I don't know where I'm going to land on that. I just hope that eventually, I do achieve that peace.

Monday, October 12, 2015

"Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time."

I'm going to be honest:

My own career is not going so great at the moment.

I've changed careers too often in my life.

My trajectory since graduating from college has included a brief stint at Radio Shack, a couple years as a student advisor, 18 months at a Harley shop doing marketing and event planning, a clerkship at a divorce law firm while going to law school, 6 months at a law firm that ultimately went under, 1 year at general practice firm, and then opening my own firm about 2 and a half years ago, during which I did freelance writing on the side to make ends meet.

I felt the most grown-up when working for other people. I was forcing myself to suffer, which is what work is all about, right?

Admittedly, a lot of it was my own fault. At first I was just young and stupid and lazy, and I felt soul-drained by corporate life, even though it really wasn't all that bad. But, after that phase, I started working really hard - for really abusive people. From my understanding, that is the norm at most law firms.

So I set out on my own. Freelancing ended up being decent, but really minimal payoff for a lot of work. My own firm has been doing okay. But it has ups and downs, and... to be honest, I don't feel grown-up.

Especially right now. The big problem is my personal life. To be blunt, I'm in a hell of depression and anxiety at the moment. It's circumstantial. It started when my marriage started to fall apart a couple years ago, and it's come and gone since then.

My energy and resources get taken up by my constant depression, and I end up sleeping too much. Sleeping doesn't really help you build a business, in case you weren't aware. I should be out pounding the pavement, establishing professional connections, and doing what I need to do to be profitable. I'm stressed beyond belief that I've stopped generating much business. But then that depressed part of me chimes in and says I should go back to sleep.

I don't feel grown-up anymore. I feel lazy, and uninspired. I don't even have the energy to mock myself for my own lack of initiative. To be honest, I don't work hard right now because I don't feel like it.

And that makes me exactly 10 years old in terms of maturity.

I am disappointed in myself. And I have to ask what I really want. I thought I wanted to be a writer. But writers have to write, and I seem incapable of doing that on any kind of regular basis. I thought I wanted to be an attorney. But I don't seem to enjoy it very much when I do it, or I'd pursue it harder, wouldn't I?

Is it a matter of overcoming some kind of hill that I've just reached at this point? Am I chickening out because the climb is getting too difficult? Or am I looking at the wrong professions? Do I need to be an employee? Is that the only way to get my ass in gear - with someone breathing down my neck? Do I lack the spark of my own internal fire?

Why am I not like other people - why can't I just seem to put on my big girl pants, buckle down, and get to work?

I think about the things I've been productive with recently, and it doesn't really make much money. I love renaissance fairs, performing at them, being an actress and singer. It's uniquely suited to me like nothing else I've tried previously. I guess my hang-up is that I'm not sure if I could make it work and still be as financially successful as I'd like. There are those who make an OK living from it, and then there seem to be mainly people who scrape by, or who end up in financial distress. Furthermore, a lot of the time spent working for a ren fair is on the weekends... week work is usually necessary to make ends meet. Meaning more stuff I don't want to do just so I can try to do what I actually want to do.

So I guess, for this, I'm at an impasse. I need a career. I need one that I can maintain, and be passionate about, and that I can see myself sticking with for more than a few years. Right now, I mainly feel like an empty shell, like it's all been sucked out of me... like I'm suitable for muddling through, coming home, and crashing out in front of the TV endlessly. Like there's nothing else to me. And that kind of void is terrible.