Jeremiah 29: 11 “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you; plans to give you hope and a future.”
Repeat after me: I have a uniquely beautiful life. This week I needed to repeat this to myself many times whilst praying for peace in a time of limbo. In When the Waves Threaten to Drown Us I wrote:
I hate labels. I hate boxes. They are so confining, restricting and suffocating. I thought I always had two options to either run and I mean run in the opposite direction to any label imposed or climb into the tiny little box of expectation and stay there… Centrelink rang to set up a compulsory meeting with a Disability Employment Officer as the disability pension, and thus its receivers, are under review. The point of the meeting is to see where I am at and what can be done to get me into employment.
My parents and I went to the Centrelink meeting (I still can’t drive, although I am learning, so any decision I make directly impacts them). In October I completed a job capacity assessment. As a result I am now required to complete eight hours of work, study or volunteering per week to qualify to continue receiving payments. I have a few months to make adjustments. I walked out of the meeting feeling hopeful of all the possibilities.
I thought it would be a fairly straightforward decision, but I kept going back and forth like a pendulum. Study seemed to be the most feasible avenue to hit the eight hours a week requirement rather than work or volunteering. Why? Because a) I had come up empty when applying for jobs in the past and as a family friend, who owns her own business, gently reminded me of the truth, the odds are stacked against me – employers want to make their lives easier and hiring me wouldn’t make good business sense due to the challenges faced by someone with physical limitations so rather than rise to the challenge it is easier and more cost – effective to hire someone else (same goes for volunteering) b) I am volunteering at the moment but it is on a casual basis where time spent varies greatly.
Due to this I swayed more towards going back to study. Options ranged from short courses to something related to my previous degree of a Bachelor of Strategic Communication to learning a language or even studying to become a dietitian (a previous career idea). In a way I was excited at the prospect of more study, as I do like to learn new things, but in a way I wasn’t excited, I knew deep down it had turned into a ‘just tick the box’ moment.
I spoke to someone this week who asked “what are you up to? Helping Mum?” I felt like saying “do I look five to you?” My pride took a massive hit. A wave of anxiety followed as I worried over my current circumstances. As I once again struggled with panic that was telling me to sign up to every degree and short course in the country. I realised I hadn’t really asked Jesus His opinion as to what I should be doing work, study, volunteering or to simply wait as Jesus works behind the scenes on the next chapter of this adventure we call life. Instead I was approaching the three options with the negative mentality of running away. I struggle to not hinge my self-worth on how busy I am or what I am achieving or people’s expectations (real or imagined) or my own for that matter. This is not the first time I have forgotten to involve Jesus in my decision – making process. You can read about it in Unexpected Detour.
Jesus helped to restore peace in my heart. Every time since if I feel panicked about my life or the fact that someone else was achieving something I desired such as landing a job. I would ask Jesus once again for peace and direction and repeat I have a uniquely beautiful life.
It is true that I have a uniquely beautiful life. It is true that you have your own uniquely beautiful life.
It is interesting to note in Jeremiah 29: 11 it says you. Plans for you. To prosper you. Not harm you. To give you hope and a future. Jesus has given you a uniquely beautiful life and it comes with a personalised blueprint. It is for you and only you; not your neighbour, friend or someone you admire – they already have their own.
I might get really excited to study something, volunteering opportunities have the possibility to increase or I may gain some work – who knows but God. He knows the next step in each of our lives we have to learn to trust Him because there is no greater plan than the one God designs for us.
I hope you have the courage to love and embrace your own uniquely beautiful life.