One of my favorite phrases growing up was “You must learn how to dance in the rain.”
Mainly, it was because I was a dancer at the time, and anything that mentioned dancing immediately meant something to me. However, what I did not realize at the time is that it was much more than just a phrase, but a way of life.
In my current season of life, it has become the only way to truly survive.
I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a year of difficulties for all of us. Life as we knew it changed due to a pandemic. Familiar became foreign, and things seemed more dangerous than they had before… and that was just the first part of the year.
Violence, riots, hurricanes, a brief scare of murderous bugs, and a presidential campaign later, we are lucky to still be standing. This year has been ROUGH.
Honestly, this year has been one of the most difficult years of my life. I lost the only place that ever felt like home, my closest relationships were shattered, I lost two jobs that I loved, I experienced a loss of innocence and experienced a grief so intense and complex. I still have not begun to really understand it. I have seen people change and give up entirely, I have witnessed a fear that is almost tangible seep into those around me.
Although it feels like it has been constantly raining, I have never felt more joy in any other season of my life.
It was not always like this of course. I am human, and I like to gripe. I used the excuse of saying it made me feel better, but of course, that was not true. Complaining about the life Jesus had given me never makes me feel better. I used to actually feel guilty because I would complain, and then either myself, or someone else, would remind me that Jesus died to give me this life. Here I was, not appreciating it.
I was ungrateful, and it did not make me feel any less bad. All the negative emotions only made me angry. When I chose to focus on those emotions, I would always end up feeling worse. One thing would always lead to another, and I would break down, hating my life, considering ending it all so that I would not have to struggle anymore.
I knew that was not what Jesus wanted for me, but I really was not asking Him what He wanted. This was my first problem.
I read my Bible, went to church, I served, I talked to Jesus daily, and I journaled to Him, but I still felt really bad all the time. I often wondered if I was a bad Christian, not doing things correctly or hearing Him correctly. It felt like all of those things He promised me were now impossible ,and the life I wanted was no more.
This wasn’t how it was supposed to be going, and I needed to know how to fix it. I was willing to do anything, except ask Him the one question that would answer it all: What do you want me to do Lord?
So on one of those nights where I teetered between ending my own life and sticking it out, I fell on the floor and not so calmly asked what God wanted from me.
In the middle of my fit, it seemed like all time stopped, and I heard a whisper so soft, that it will be with me forever.
“I want you to choose me.”
I immediately felt that conviction of the Holy Spirit. I loved Jesus with all my heart, but I did not trust Him enough to choose Him and His ways for my life. I knew that if I wanted what Jesus had for me, I had to surrender every single area of my life, every single circumstance, and every single thought. I had to choose Jesus over everything and be along for the ride no matter what expectations I had on how or when those things should happen. I was going to choose Jesus, even when I did not understand what He was doing - even if it meant choosing to walk through the rainiest seasons.
At the time, I did not know that it was going to be the thing to bring me joy. No matter what lie the enemy whispered in my ear or what circumstance the world threw at me, from that point on, none of it mattered because Jesus was there. When I felt like I could not hold on anymore and I broke down, Jesus was there.
It does not mean I am never sad or experience trials. It just means that even when I do, I do not have to feel despaired because Jesus has got everything handled. I only have to follow His leading and lean into surrender, even when I do not understand.
Proverbs 3:5 (NIV) says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”
We are not always going to understand what the Lord is trying to do or why things are happening in the way that they are, but if we lean on Him and not ourselves, we will find joy, even in the middle of all of life’s storms.
Now, I am writing letters to those people I thought I lost to one day give to them when the time is right and dreaming of the family, home, and job God spoke to me sometime ago. In my own understanding, it is impossible, but because I trust in Jesus, I do not have to understand how or when. I am just going dance in the rain until the storm passes.