Have you ever reached a point in your life where you felt so far away from God that it seemed you didn’t know Him anymore? I know I have. My new friend Isabelle recently told me she once experienced the same thing.
Our stories are similar. We are both millennials who grew up in strong Christian households and never really doubted that Jesus was our Savior, and yet, we both reached a time in our lives when we realized that after we left the safety and comfort of the homes we grew up in, we didn’t really know how to LIVE THE LIFE OF FAITH ON OUR OWN.
Isabelle told me, “I knew the Lord, but didn’t really know what it truly meant to be in a relationship with Him. My faith wasn’t really my OWN until I was out in the world DOING it on my own.”
Um--WOW! How perfectly she summed this simple, yet profound truth. I think many Christians struggle with this.
Isabelle’s story is something we can all look to for inspiration:
She was a recent college graduate living and working in Manhattan at a prestigious bank and had done everything society told her she was “supposed” to do to set herself up for happiness--she’d gone to a great college, landed a fabulous job in a fabulous city and was living it up with her best friends post-graduation. But after about a year Isabelle started to realize something was missing.
“I was working insane hours, living for the weekends when suddenly I realized--what am I doing? I finally realized I didn’t ENJOY what I was doing. I was just going through the motions.”
Sundays became the only day of the week when she felt true peace. Every time she went to church, she felt God nudging her a little bit more to let Him in. She felt Him telling her that things didn’t have to be this way--that she was made for more.
Isabelle eventually started following those nudgings, trying to figure out what it was God wanted her to do. She initially thought, “Okay--maybe the problem is just my job. I’m just so slammed I don’t have time to focus on my faith.” So she started looking for jobs.
Right at the time when Isabelle began her job search, her brother, who had been the most consistent person in her life to encourage her in her faith, told her that a position had just opened up at his firm in D.C. that sounded perfect for her.
“At first I was like, NO WAY I do not want to get a job just because my brother recommends me. I wanted to earn it on my own.” Isabelle reminisced.
“But later I came to realize that God was teaching me a lesson in trust AND in humility. And my attitude wasn’t in line with His teachings. The whole point of life with God is that He sends people and opportunities to help us--we’re NOT MEANT to do it on our OWN.”
It turned out that the job at her brother’s firm could not have been more perfect--almost eerily so.She was interviewed by an alumnus from her own college, her lease in New York ended at the EXACT time when the company was asking her to make the move to D.C., AND she got a couple of weeks before she began the job to spend time with her grandparents. Not to mention, both of Isabelle’s siblings had lived in D.C. for years and she eventually wanted to end up there, but thought it would be a move much further down the road. Little did she know that her brother and sister had already been praying for her to make that move years in advance and God was now bringing it all to fruition.
“I realized I would be a fool not to accept this job. This was really the first time I actually felt that the Lord was telling me to do something, and it made sense because everything lined up PERFECTLY. I felt so at peace with it.”
The move turned out to provide more opportunities than Isabelle ever could have imagined. Her hours became less demanding at work, which gave her the time to get involved in a Bible study and to focus on who it was God wanted her to be.
One week her Bible study group leader asked Isabelle to co-lead. After that week, that same co-leader gave her a call. Isabelle told me, “She wanted to know if I would be interested in taking over as the leader. I was in shock.....I had been praying that ‘one day’ God would present me with this opportunity, but definitely not thinking it would come just a few short months/weeks after the seed had been planted.”
By devoting her time to studying God’s word, spending time with Him and truly seeking after HIS heart, Isabelle’s life was transformed and blessed beyond her imagination. She made some sacrifices along the way, but she knows it was all worth it. Suddenly, she realized that she didn’t have to go through life trying to figure everything out on her own. She could put her faith and trust in GOD instead. When she did, His faithfulness amazed her.
I LOVE Isabelle’s story because it includes three steps that I think are crucial to living the life God has planned for you.
She ADMITTED and ACCEPTED that her OWN plans were not working out for her.
She OPENED her heart to God’s direction.
She OBEYED His directions when He gave them.
God’s plans will amaze us when we allow Him to take the reigns! Thank you, Isabelle for your stellar faith and for sharing them here with Haplous! I know they will inspire other heart’s searching for God’s goodness and direction!