I sat slumped at my desk feeling overwhelmed. I felt very discouraged. Despite having a list of tasks in front of me that I had done before and enjoyed, I couldn’t muster the motivation to start any of them. This had been my reality for months now. I had been overcome by the sadness of unmet expectations that I was not making any significant progress with my work.
I felt as if a wet blanket of sadness had been thrown over me, leaving me feeling suffocated and trapped in a dark place. The more I tried to disentangle myself from this wet blanket of sadness, the more I run out of breath. I kept whispering to myself while taking a deep breath, “Anyele, calm down” and then let out a sigh.
I loathed this feeling because I wanted to be filled with the joy and peace that God gives His children (Romans 15:13, Galatians 5:22), and my faith in His Son was the assurance I, Anyele, had that I am His child (John 1:12). I was sick of the short-lived moments of happiness I had when I thought things had gone my way. I wanted joy that could not be replaced by the sadness of unmet desires and so, with my face set like flint, I set out to find a solution for the misery that ailed me.
And oh! If you are wondering what expectations these were, I’ll let you in on them. The thing is: I have had a perfect plan for my life. A grandiose plan which is devoid of delay and disappointment. I, Anyele, who is not God, know the plans I have for myself. You will not realize how ridiculous I sound unless you also knew that I am very aware of Jeremiah 29:11. But lest I digress…
Where do I start? I felt stuck. All this while I had been looking down at my desk. As I lifted my gaze from my desk, my eyes caught sight of a note pinned on the wall in front of me. It stood out among the many other notes I had pinned on that wall and read: Philippians 4:6-7: Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
That was when the truth hit me. How often I had asked God for all the things I did not have and how very seldom had I taken time over the past months to thank Him for all He had already done! Indeed, there were still things I was looking forward to, but as I pondered in retrospect, I saw that God lovingly cares for me and does for me even far more than I can imagine (1 Peter 3:18, Ephesians 3:20). I began to realize the things He had given me which I had not even specifically prayed for and, oh, I did feel like an ingrate. I thought to myself, “Anyele, how could I have missed it when the truth had been here all along?”.
So instead of succumbing to my routine of being coiled up under my sheets while listening to my melancholy playlist on days like this, I chose focus on the goodness of God. I shifted my gaze from all that I didn’t have and thanked God for all He had done. I decided to not look for joy and peace in what I had or didn’t have. I know that I may relapse sometimes, but I have decided that I will keep this attitude of gratitude to have the joy that lasts.