I received a message from a younger girl the other day and part of it said, “I want your life.” This has actually happened a couple times since I’ve moved to New York City and started pursuing a career in journalism here. Those are just words I know, words that get so easily tossed around. I know I’ve said those sorts of things myself. I know I did when I was in their spot, dreaming about this postgrad life and looking at girls who were already here. But when I read that comment myself the other day, I sat in my room and kind of just wanted to cry. I want to scream and shout and tell them all the straight-up truth. I want to tell them how I’m here now, living that life after college I always dreamed about, and yet I still have just as many, maybe even more, mental breakdowns as I did when I was going to school in my little hometown. I still have sleepless nights now and then because my thoughts are running me wild. I still think of that one boy and sometimes wish he’d show up at my doorstep just like in the movies, even though it will never happen. I still find myself easily comparing what I’m doing to those on either side of me. I still believe the lies on some days that I’m not good enough or worthy or could ever compare. I still walk around here with the same brokenness as I did before I came. I got what I wanted, but it will never be enough. And it’s true for all of us.
I’m here now, and as I was walking through Central Park the other night on a perfect spring evening, with very wonderful friends and taking in the storybook like atmosphere around me (and trust me, it all felt like such a dream… I kept rubbing my eyes to make sure I was awake), I realized what the best part of all of it is. The best part of getting to live in the city I’ve dreamed about since I was in middle school and going after the jobs I’ve always wanted is the reaffirmation. I am reassured time after time, experience after experience, that nothing, nothing else at all, will ever truly satisfy but Jesus Christ Himself. As said by Ty Saltzgiver in Reflections on Discipleship, “The disciple knows the deepest hunger of our heart is only met and satisfied by tasting of God’s love…. once experienced, nothing else satisfies.” I have experienced and tasted the unconditional love of our Savior, and now I can’t find anything that tops it. And nothing ever will. I can go and do all of this stuff, and it will be great and exciting for sure, but I’m still going to have pieces of my heart that will be broken and reoccurring struggles that creep up. I will get disappointed and some days will be really rough. But that’s life. It’s because we live in a fallen and broken world, not because we have a loving and faithful God that is constantly pursuing us even at our worst. On the days I twirl around the park with my friends without a worry in the world, I need Jesus. On the days I don’t want to leave my bed because I’m knee deep in anxiety and my heart feels torn into a million pieces, I need Jesus. I am a work in progress.
We are a work in progress all the way into the Kingdom. And as long as we are abiding in Him, He is going to keep working in and changing us. He’s shaping us into His wholeness in Him. He cares more about who we are becoming in Him than what we are doing for Him. And as I try to wrap my human mind around all of this, I am in awe of the fact that the God of the Universe chooses to use me in the midst of this process. He invites us to be part of the mission. As our broken selves. God loves to use people who don’t necessarily have it all together to do some incredible things. I look at some of the most influential people in my life and they are not perfect by any means. They have their own struggles, their own messes. But what is so special is that they’ve let me into their mess and showed me how to laugh amongst it. They’ve told me that I’ll never regret living this way, for Jesus, and that nothing else will ever compare. That all of this is temporary and God has a pretty incredible place waiting for us. And I’m so glad they’ve told me. I’m so glad I’ve learned and experienced. Because if I hadn’t, I’d be sitting here living my “dream” and thinking, is this all there is?
words by Megan Sauers and photo by Hailey Pierce