Sometimes we complain about never hearing any yeses from God, and only hearing nos instead. It seems like He’s silent when we want His nod of approval, but emphatically against the things we really desire. My reality, however, has been vastly different recently.
Over the last six months I’ve heard more yeses than I bargained for. There were a few things I would’ve been fine hearing a no about. But God was not only speaking clearly, He was affirming the things I was asking him for. I thought, of course, that His yes meant that things would turn out like I wanted. I thought that if He wasn’t stopping me from going ahead with these plans and these people, it meant that my vision of the future was accurate.
What I didn’t take into consideration was the fact that I had specifically asked Him to give me a sense of unease if these decisions would be harmful to my heart in the long run. He did exactly what I asked – just not in the way I expected.
None of the situations where I heard a definite “Yes” panned out the way I thought they would. But if He never said yes, I would have promptly extracted myself from the process. And all along, his plan was the process. He knew we wouldn’t end up together, but He said yes so that I would learn things about myself that I needed to face – learning what I actually need as well as how willing I am to compromise my needs for what’s readily available. He knew that I wouldn’t actually get the internship of my dreams, but He gave a firm yes so that I could finally figure out who I am and what I want. The process of trying to convince an organization to choose me showed me that I, contrary to my old beliefs, have a lot to offer. It showed me that I’m being useful and fruitful right where I’m at.
My process has been one of self-discovery and truth-telling. I’m learning to be honest with myself about who I really am, and honest with the people around me as well. As I learned from this incredible TED talk, the original definition of courage is simply to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart. I’m learning courage. My process has led me away from unhealthy, immature relationships that I would never have had the audacity to walk away from otherwise. It’s opened up new doors for new relationships that are being built on healthy foundations. My process has shown me the depths of my own self-loathing, my insecurities, my lack of boundaries, my propensity for blaming others, my unhealthy desire to emotionally control people.
There’s just no way to describe in words the newness I have found in the small steps I’ve taken to be free of my old ways. My roommate suggested that we recreate our photoshoot from last August just so we could document the stark differences in the people we used to be and the ones we are today. It’s that obvious. Everyone I catch up with these days begins by saying, “You seem so happy.” And I am. I’m exuding bliss from my very pores.
All because of the process. A year ago, I would’ve been shattered by the recent series of events in my life. I would’ve questioned God’s character – how could He say yes when He knew it wouldn’t happen? How could He lie to me? But today, I can finally see that sometimes, his Yes is given because He knows the process will change me more than the end result I’m asking for. Sometimes we simply need to be transformed so that we realize that what we asked for isn’t really what we needed or truly desired after all.
Don’t get me wrong, this process has been difficult, painful, and emotionally draining at times. But the beauty of being such an introspective person is that right now I can see myself being unfurled, transformed, set free. This is the kind of pain I welcome with open arms – the pain that strips me of the decaying, unhealthy parts and forces me into the light, and into growth. And this will be the pattern for the rest of my life because, as I’ve previously written, I don’t believe in the destination points anymore. This process is what changes me. Here’s to not dating that guy, and not moving to California – the best unanswered prayers of my year.