Life sucks and It'll never get better (Refund the Lies part. 3)
If you don’t know, this is the third post of a blog series I’m writing titled “Refund The Lies”. To catch up on the other lies I’m speaking out against, click here. You don’t want to miss any of them. Onto speaking about this week’s lie: Life sucks and it’ll never get better.
When I was a senior in highschool my eyes were set on going to a big university. It’s what I thought I was bred to do. My dad would constantly tell me while I was a toddler: “You’re going to go to the best schools and get a great education. You’re made for it.” I even look back and remember a picture on my wall as a kid that had a 6 car garage with 6 high-end cars alongside a mansion that read,“Justification For A Higher Education.”
Hearing this constantly while growing up made me believe it, but I never imagined the trial and pain I would walk through after having obtained it.
Before I jump into my trial, I have to give you a little history on what I like to call the “pre-trial”. It will give you a glimpse of why and how I got into the biggest trial, so far, of my life.
Growing up, I was the first-born in a high-middle class family. I never wanted for anything… until my parents got a divorce when I was around the age of 14. Then I desperately wanted a one-way ticket away from my family forever.
Things were great on the outside: nice home, lots of cars, and had a good amount of money. But, when you looked inside the four walls of our home there was a lack of love that manifested through crazy verbal fights, yelling, hiding… absolute dysfunction.
I was pretty used to our family malfunctioning like it was. I never really knew anything different and it was only a matter of time till things would blow up. And they did. What was hard about our family’s explosion was the enormous wave of pain that came with it.
Everything in my life flipped upside down in the matter of a week when my parents decided to actually divorce and I had no idea how I was going to get to college anymore. So many thousands of dollars were now being poured into moving vans, lawyer fees and life rearrangements that the idea of me getting a college education at a university was now on the back burner of everyone’s priorities. After all of my hustling in high school and many promises that my college would be paid for, it seemed that nobody cared about my university dream.
My heart was broken.
With all the heartache and broken promises boiling over, I had to leave. So, in a desperate attempt to run away, I did something with major consequences. One word: loans. Actually, let’s make it two words: massive loans. I took out huge student loans to flee from my horrible family carnage and to get to my college dreamland, which I prayed would make it all better.
I went away to college for 4 years on the East Coast (which was an incredible experience by the way) and graduated with student debt.
Now, let’s fast-forward to the summer after college where I went through the 2nd hardest time of my life: I had a few months before my loan payments came due and there was no job in sight! In fact, the economy had just crashed that year.
So, months go by and I submit over 300 applications and I still don’t have a job. Welcome to my trial after the pre-trial. I thought my life was bad before I left to college, then I left to make it better and it just got worse.
I was now over $140,000 in debt without a job and had creditors threatening to take everything I had (which thankfully wasn’t much… just a car and my blood… thank you Jesus). To make things even more heated, I also had a lot of key people in my life assuming I was lazy because they didn’t see fruit coming from my job-hunting efforts.
It seemed as if everyone was against me, nobody understood, and I was all alone.
If you’ve ever been in the same position that I was in, where you think life couldn’t get worse, but it does, you know exactly how I felt. Nothing in me wanted to wake up in the morning and when I did I had this evil thought in my mind yelling at me, saying, “Life sucks and it’ll never get better. Just get used to it.”
I’m not going to lie: I didn’t think too much of the thought when it first started popping up in my mind. I was looking around at all my circumstances and it just seemed to be the essence of truth. That's what lies do: they sneak in unnoticed, get your actions and words to align with them, and then try to destroy your life.
Fortunately, God is faithful and wasn’t going to allow me to believe a lie that could shred my life to pieces. He began showing up in my life to correct the lie with His truth. He did it through friends, community, teachers, His word and everyday random occurrences (which I call God-winks).
So, if you’re in a hard trial right now, take this as a God-wink. He wants to encourage you to not give up, but to keep on pressing and fighting your fight of faith.
Through my own hardships, God began to show me that trials do not dictate or indicate who we are.
Is this hard to believe? Absolutely. When I was in the darkest times of my life, there wasn’t a lot of hope bubbling within me. I felt as if I was a screwup and that because I had messed up so badly, the rest of my life would be filled with financial pain. This, my friends, was wrong thinking.
Through overcoming my own trials, God has began to show me how He uses our trials for our good. Perhaps, like me a few years ago, you’ve weren’t told what lies at the overcoming of a major trial when you believe that God will get you through it. Well, I’m here to tell you. Here are 4 things that you can look forward to gaining when you find yourself passing through a major hardship in your life:
Relying on God when there’s nothing or noone else to lean on throughout a trial is one of the premier ways we end up truly realizing that God is who He’s always told us He is. The testing of our faith through hard times is where our head knowledge of who God is truly becomes heart knowledge.
I had always “known” that God was faithful, full of joy and good, but until I experienced his faithfulness, joy, and goodness for myself when life was dark I didn’t really KNOW first hand.
Experiencing the power of a Ferrari makes it much different that simple reading about it in the manual and hearing about it from friends. It’s the same way with God: we might have heard that God is a certain way, but he truly gets to demonstrate who He is when we rely fully on Him in our uncertainty and trials.
You might think you know who you are, but experiencing major troubles in life will undoubtedly refine your perception of yourself. Having to fight for hope while going through troubled times showed me how much of a fighter I really am. When God didn’t change my circumstances right away and made me fight with all He had put on the inside of me, it gave me glimpses and assurance of who I am that I would have gained in no other way.
I started to realize that I am extremely powerful, that my words can change the course of history, and that I carry a tremendous amount of light within me. Finding these things out make me thankful that God didn’t just lift my circumstances from my path when I asked Him to. He wanted to refine me and show me who I really am.
We can’t operate in the fullness of our calling unless we know who we REALLY are. Therefore, let’s rejoice in our trials because they are the proving ground for what God has placed on the inside of us. Let them show us who we really are and that we have what it takes to make it to our promise land.
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” - Romans 5:3-5
God loves to turn hardships around for our good. He does it simply because He loves us! Through trials he likes to make us complete and whole, just like Him. If it weren’t for the tremendous amount of debt I had, I would have never been enabled to become a major giver in the Kingdom of God. Fire refines the tool.
Through every area of trouble in my life, God has initiated restoration and begun to give me more than I could have ever hoped or imagined (Ephesians 3:20). I can truly say that I’m whole. I’m not just declaring it, I’m living it. All glory be to God!
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” - Romans 8:28
Walking with God through your darkest times will change your relationship with Him forever. It did for me. I no longer want to just experience God on a surface level any more. JUST going to church and hanging with a bible study group is not enough to satisfy me.
I actually start to feel sick if God and I haven’t taken the time to interact on an intimate level with one another. Why? Well, I’ve been to some of the depths of who God is during my dark times and know him on a WAY deeper level now. Yes, instead of trying to figure things out again on my own, I just decided to run after Him with everything I had and let Him handle my mess. Best decision ever!
While I did that, he showed me so many things about myself, who he is, and where my life is going. We got to know each other in such a special way. This has stirred my hunger and I want to know him even more deeply now.
You could somewhat liken this to the difference between someone you know being your friend or your significant other. You love your friends and you hang out often, but the amount of time and effort your pour into a significant other goes way beyond that of most friendships. It makes for deeper intimacy too. Same with God and us when we give him all of us during our trials.
So, the next time that evil thought comes at you and tells you that your life won’t get better, you can now tell it to flee. Now you know the good things that lie on the other side of your hard times.
I hope this blesses you!