Suspended Like a Stapler in Jell-o

photo: Chris Chan, Creative Commons

photo: Chris Chan, Creative Commons

In case you hadn’t noticed, I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve been avoiding it. Much of my writing is reflective and introspective, and honestly I just haven’t been in the mood. Writing for me is like stirring calm water with a stick: mud and plants get disturbed, and what you can’t see lurking on the bottom gets brought to the surface. I’d prefer to keep stuff on the bottom where I can’t see it… where I don’t have to deal with it.

So for the last few months I’ve basically been throwing myself a pity party. In many ways it was an unconscious decision. In fact, I didn’t even realize I was doing it until a few weeks ago. I knew something was off. I’ve been avoiding God: no personal prayer or time in the Word; just going through the motions at church & Bible study. I’ve been lacking motivation for work and even social interaction. In a word, I’ve been wallowing.

Why?

Because I turned 30.

I thought I was ok with it. I got to celebrate with some of my best friends, my family, and even the birth of my niece. All of my older friends told me how great turning 30 was for them. I thought I was at peace with starting a new decade.

But apparently I wasn’t.

Outside I celebrated and smiled and laughed and told the world (and myself) that 30 wasn’t all that different than 29.

Inside I was grieving. I was grieving the loss of another decade. I was grieving another year of life gone without feeling like I’d achieved very much. I was grieving the fact that I finally had to let go of the picture I’d had of my life at 30.

In my picture, there was a husband and kids and maybe a dog. There was a thriving ministry of some kind, investing in the younger generations. There was happiness and domesticity and maybe even white picket fences. There was family and neighbors who had become good friends.

Reality looks nothing like that.

There’s no husband or even the prospect or hint of one. There are no kids, no dogs, no white picket fences, no thriving ministry. I’m alone in an apartment far away from my family.

True there are neighbors who are friends and there’s a church family and there’s the beginnings of investing in the next generation.

But it’s not what I imagined. It’s not exactly what I wanted.

It’s another dream that didn’t become reality.

So I’ve given up. I’ve stopped dreaming altogether. I’ve decided it’s easier, less painful, not to dream, not to want. I’ve numbed the pain with sleep and TV and isolation. I’ve let the loneliness take over.

I retreated from life, opting not to live it because I didn’t want to face the pain. I don’t want to die. I just don’t want to live the life I have. I want to hold my breath and wait until the life I want comes along. I want to skip over the waiting, the longing, the hoping. I want to arrive at the fulfillment, the moment when I’m granted the desires of my heart.

I’ve spent the last few months suspended- like Dwight’s stapler in Jell-o (The Office reference for the win!). I’ve slogged through each day without the strength or breath needed to move myself through the gelatin holding me in place. I wanted to do nothing. I chose to merely exist, to go through the motions, to self-medicate by escaping into other worlds through TV and movies and books. I didn’t know why. I didn’t want to know why cause then I’d have to do something about it.

But I want to do more than just exist.

We studied John 1 last week at I Bible study I started attending. We talked about how there’s no life without light and how Jesus is the light of the world, the light the darkness can’t overcome.

So I’m asking Him for that light. I need Him to shine it around and reveal what’s been happening in my heart. I need Him to bring me back to life.

And that process might include a giant temper tantrum on my part. I want to yell and scream and kick like a little kid. I want to tell Him that I think it sucks that my life doesn’t look the way I planned. I want to say that I hate being 30 and feeling no closer to having a family of my own than I was at 20. I don’t understand why “everyone” else gets to get married and have kids and I still have to be alone. I hate that it feels like He’s holding out on me. I hate that His plan feels like it’s taking forever.

And I hate that every time I get hurt or angry or fed up, I walk away from Him.

Will I ever choose to stick around and trust Him?

Sure, I always seem to find my way back again at some point… but will there ever come a time when I don’t walk away at all?

Perhaps.

For now I’ll just be grateful that He waits patiently with open arms for me to come to my senses and drag myself home again. That He can handle my temper tantrums. That His love for me is unchangeable. And that His picture for my life is better than I can imagine.

About Katie Mumper

Writer. Teacher. Lover of Jesus, music, books.
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3 Responses to Suspended Like a Stapler in Jell-o

  1. shannonedwards452 says:

    Love this. Such a poignant portrayal of the pain of things not turning out “according to the plan”.

  2. Krystle says:

    I went through a very similar thing when I turned 30…. It is still really hard some days. But I promise you that if you cling to our Lord and Savior, (or go running back to his arms after a period of separation), it will always get better. No, it might not be the exact life we envision, but it’s going to be a great one! Know that you are not alone in any of this!!!

  3. lizzyeast says:

    I love love love love this: the honesty, the humor, the truth, and the light! Yes, believe it or not you are shedding God’s light all over this! It feels so good to not be alone, to not feel like the only person disappointed with the life I have. Of course I don’t want to stay here in this muck, but you remind me that I’m not in the muck pit alone. There are dozens of us…DOZENS! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKie-vgUGdI) I truly believe we will make it through and find joy, if we keep working on it.

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