Hey Google, what should I do with my life?
I was trying to make a difficult decision the other day. Indecision causes stress, or, should I say, it causes me stress, so the weight of it all was getting to me. Do I commit to one option and sacrifice the other? How do I know which option guarantees success? What if option A leads to exhaustion and disappointment? What if option B could be really fulfilling?
These questions kept rolling over and over in my mind like a hamster on a wheel. I felt stuck, stressed, and desperate for clarity. “I wish I could just google it,” I thought. Wouldn’t it be great if Google had all the answers to our most pressing questions?
What should I do with my life?
Do I even have a calling?
Should I take the leap?
Do I need to make a change?
Should I take the job?
Do they actually care?
Is it worth the investment?
Will I be safe?
Will I be loved?
Will I be happy?
To my own dismay, I knew Google wouldn’t have the answer I was looking for. As much as I love typing a question into the toggle bar and clicking “search”, I knew the map of my life wasn’t hiding in a blog on the internet. “So”, I asked myself, “what can I do to find the answer?”
That’s when it came to me. The frustrating truth I’d been trying to avoid. No matter how many podcasts I listened to or blogs I read, how many episodes of Gilmore Girls, or YouTube videos I watched, the answer wouldn’t be found out there. That was all noise. I had to get quiet. The only place I could find my answer was inside.
So, I got up early one morning, walked myself down to my little gym, and sat down. In the quiet. Without my computer or my phone. I closed my eyes and I got quiet. My mind wandered off as it always does, so I did my best to pull it back. It was then that I asked the question, “Is it my ego or my spirit that’s at stake here?”
I didn’t really want to admit it, but it was my ego. I was searching for the easy way out instead of waiting for the thing I really wanted. The easy thing would be immediate, but it would likely bring me back to the same place – searching for a way out. My intuition said, “No, this isn’t it.” That was not the answer I wanted, but it was the answer I received all the same. Some may call what I did that morning prayer, others may call it meditation. Whatever label you want to put on it, so be it. In my eyes, that was a moment of quiet time to let God be louder than the distractions.
I never did Google my question. I desperately wanted to, but what’s the point when you know it won’t be helpful? The wiser part of my heart knew what needed to happen, as uncomfortable as it may have been. I’m not usually one to write about a relationship with God, mostly because I’m still uncomfortable in my own relationship with God, but I believe we all have a sense of what’s for us and what’s not. I’m not suggesting we always listen, myself very much included, but I believe the voice is still there. I wrote an entire chapter in my forthcoming book about the time I very intentionally did not listen and the results of doing so.
In short, it wasn’t great. There was a lot of pain and drinking to escape the reality that I was ignoring my inner knowing. In her memoir, Untamed, Glennon Doyle also writes about the painful disconnect of silencing yourself to try and please everyone else. It’s soul-sucking and, frankly, the projected image is never worth the energy required to maintain the appearance.
So, there I sat that morning. The silence was deafening and my impatience was growing in strength. I had spent days desperately asking for an answer, and I got it. Still, the actions I could take seemed feeble. I hated that. “Why can’t I just make this happen on my own timeline for myself,” I seethed. Oof, the desperate desire for control runs deep in me. The truth is, miracles happen in conjunction with our actions; not as a direct result of our efforts alone.
How beautiful is it to think that we don’t have to control every detail of the story because it’s literally impossible? For some that may be anxiety-inducing. I get it. Been there, done that, and still live in that place sometimes. But, it also means we get to take some of the pressure off. All you can control is the actions you take. God, the Universe, a higher power takes the rest. That partnership is easier to see in hindsight than it is in the moment, but I believe it’s there to benefit us in ways we cannot always understand.
However, the power we can always have is the ability to get crystal clear on what we really want. Is the gratification of the immediate really worth it? Perhaps the question should be, is it worth sacrificing my inner peace and happiness? If it’s difficult to answer those questions, allow me to remind you of some basic truths.
You’re worth more than easy. Life is short, but it’s also long. Fear will always try to keep you safe. That’s the point. That doesn’t mean fear is right. Social media is a highlight reel and comparison will always make you feel like garbage. When your gut is telling you something, listen.
That morning spent in the quiet on my gym floor gave me an answer. It’s not the answer I wanted, but the answer I needed. I said “no” to the wrong things and “YES” to the things that felt right. The results of doing so are still unfolding, but I know I made a decision from clarity, rather than convenience. That will always be worth it.