It was the middle of the night in the middle of winter my freshman year when God spoke to me.
I was skirting the edge of depression and worrying about the future. In this particular case I had worked up the courage to walk across campus to see if some girls I had been hanging out with were around. They weren’t. On the way back to my side of campus I stopped at the lake to calm myself. The part of my brain that I should never listen to (yet always do) was yelling again about how much trouble my future was in. In this case, it was how my fear of approaching women and my general personality and just absolutely everything about me was going to mean that I was not going to find my wife at college even though most people do and that meant I was never going to find a wife in general and so on.
So I went down to the lake to pray.
Now, when I say “pray,” you should read “talked and sometimes yelled out loud at God because there was no one else to listen.” It was more than a little irreverent, but it was what I needed. I poured out everything: how anxious I was about the future, how I was afraid that even if God brought the right person into my life I’d be too stupid to notice her, how lonely I was, and how afraid I was that I’d always be lonely. And while I didn’t hear a voice, my thoughts went in a direction that was completely different from where they were going.
In that moment, it was like God took the scared, freaking out child that I was, took him gently by the shoulders, knelt down, looked him in the eyes, and said, “Evan, I have been watching out for you your entire life. Why would I stop now, especially on something that is this important to you?”
I was still scared. But a lot less freaked out. And—spoiler alert—I found her.
This week, I’ve been skirting the edge of depression (maybe more than skirting, to be honest) and worrying about the future. In this particular case, I’ve been without a job for three months now. I’ve been searching and interviewing, and I’ve been subject to the usual delays and pitfalls of a job search. Despite my relative success at keeping myself busy with a nice side project, I’ve been giving into panic more than I care to admit. The part of my brain that I should never listen to (yet always do) is yelling again about how much trouble my future is in. In this case, it’s how my lack of what I perceive as a robust background is going to mean I can’t get a job and if I do get a job is it going to be one that I will enjoy and not just show up to and will I really be able to do the job if I do get it and so on.
Time to go down to the park to pray, but somehow I don’t think the message has changed.