This quote is one of my very favorites. I think it speaks so deeply to me because for the past 3-4 years I have felt really dissatisfied by my life. After graduating college in 2010 I spent a year trying to break into Publishing. I struggled, took cleaning jobs, babysitting jobs, retail jobs, to pay the bills, and it was a steady succession of closed doors. I lost count of the applications I sent out but it was in the hundreds. I still feel confused as to what my career path is and trapped. I joke at times that it will be crystal clear what door I am to walk through one day since so many are closing–one open door won’t be hard to miss. But what do you do when there isn’t a door? Do you bust through sheet rock?
I know that I was made by God’s hands and we were all placed in the world as a reflection of God–made in His image in fact– but it’s still crazy to think that He dreamed us all up individually in His heart. The same God who made tons of variations of flowers, species of animals, constellations, etc is the same one that said You know what? I could use one of her. Wouldn’t it be cool if she was interested in this? Wouldn’t it be awesome if she was talented in that? What if? What could she do?
I was surfing the web earlier today and came across this great story:
“There once was a man who netted three trout from a mountain stream and carefully placed them side-by-side on a thick patch of grass. Before he removed them from the water, they were like a liquid ballet in motion. Fluid. Graceful. Vibrant. Alive.
After he netted them, it was another story.
As the trout lay on the grass, they were motionless. Their eyes were fixed. They gasped for air, and they looked — and acted — stupid.
The man noticed they seemed unhappy, so he talked to them, hoping that his encouragement would change them.
“Little fish, don’t be sad. You’ll like the grass. Just try it out for a while.”
No movement. No response. No change.
A few more seconds passed. The man’s neighbor walked by. “Hey, Bob! Come and check out these fish!”
Bob sauntered over and the man explained that he was certain the fish could adjust. “I’m sure they could prosper here on the grass. Don’t you agree?”
“Why not?” Bob replied. So he also tried to tell the fish it would be good if they learned to like the grass. After all, he liked the grass. Why shouldn’t they?
Still, the fish didn’t blink. They just lay there looking dumber by the second.
Finally, a little boy approached exclaimed, “What are you doing? Put them back! They can’t be all they’ve been created to be when they are out of the water.”
Finally convinced, the man carefully placed each fish back in the stream. After splashing for a split second, all three swam away effortlessly. Again, it was like a liquid ballet. What ease! What grace! What beauty!
In that moment, the man realized that no matter how long the fish lay there they would never adjust to the grass, and would never be satisfied — no matter how much he (or anyone else) told them otherwise. Even if the fish tried to convince themselves they could learn to like the grass, they never would, and they would never prosper. In fact, they would eventually die.
Do you feel like a fish out of water? Your prolonged dissatisfaction, God-given gifts, passions and the voices of others could be telling you that you were created for another purpose. And like these fish, if you feel like you are dying inside, listen up. It could be just what you need to push you into another, more satisfying ocean.
Listen to your dissatisfaction
We’ve been taught to believe that dissatisfaction is a bad thing, and that we should do everything possible to avoid it. Shove it down. Ignore it. Act like it doesn’t bother us. Take a pill. Plaster on a smile. Buy something new, or decide that misery is part of “bearing our cross.” But above all, don’t consider that God might be using it to make us uncomfortable so we’ll want to swim in another ocean where our gifts can shine.
Don’t get me wrong; dissatisfaction can be a result of spiritual warfare (Eph. 6:10-12) and not an indication that we are out of God’s will. But it can also be a road sign that He has another purpose for us. So if you’re miserable in your current career or job, (and you have been for a long time), you’ve prayed, sought counsel from others, looked for guidance through Scripture, and you’re still miserable, consider that God may have another plan.” – Discovering Your God-Given Purpose by Shana Schutte
Wow. I can relate. So often it’s easy to listen to other Christians who say that you should have the joy of the Lord always, that you shouldn’t complain, that you should be okay with the weight of the world because after all Christ endured way more than us. Right? I’ve certainly heard it all. And it can make you feel bad like–what’s wrong with ME? Why am I such a brat? Haha. But it’s not always the case. It’s more of a matter of am I so unhappy because deep down the Spirit is convicting me of doing something that I wasn’t made for? Am I dissatisfied deeply because I am not doing what would make me most happy and more importantly what God has planted within me?
I struggle to know what I am here for. I feel lost most days. It’s hard when people are all around you hustling in the city: recording albums, booking photo shoots, going out on auditions, getting promoted, doing their residencies, finishing their Master’s, starting their own businesses, and the list goes on. And you’re still hearing crickets. Like yeah I work in ________ (industry) but I didn’t choose it. I don’t like it. I’m just paying the bills. I’m still waiting on the Lord. I’m trying not to be disillusioned by life or settle for what I’m in because I know it isn’t right.
Today I remind myself that I was thought up by the Creator of all things. He didn’t make me like other flowers, or stars, or animals–all of these things have multiple varieties so why wouldn’t He do the same with His children? Even though He had tons of variety He still thought to invent something different. To tweak what He has already made before. Something unique. And He sees me the same. What might seem mundane, run of the mill, forgettable about my life at the moment is not the final chapter. I have been placed in the world for a purpose.
Thank you Father for the unique plan you have for my life. Thank you for sending Jesus to invite me into the kind of life that He lived. Jesus came so that I could know intimately that the road before me could be walked down, and also know how to complete it step-by-step (1 Peter 2:24). Give me the ability to hear Your voice in a way that is even clearer and unmistakable. Illuminate boldly the path I am to take. In Your name. Amen.
Photo Credit: Found on Etsy