Life Lessons Learned on the Strugglebus

I work at J.Crew. If you’ve never worked in retail, you can’t really relate, but if you have, you know the feeling of spending quite some time organizing, folding and size ordering a table only to look at it thirty minutes later and have the table completely messed up. As I drove home from work on Saturday night, I couldn’t help but feel like this situation, which I’ve encountered numerous times the past couple days, was exactly what my life felt like. I worked to nicely order everything and over the course of a couple of weeks, everything fell into disorder. Unlike the tables of clothes, my life isn’t so easy to put back together and reorganize. But, I keep asking myself, “Would you change it? Would you go back?” Over the course of the week, I’ve watched my answer change from yes, to no. Hopefully that doesn’t sound insensitive, but I think its progress. I may be on the strugglebus, or even driving the strugglebus, but I’m learning things here that aren’t easy, but are important for me in walking with Jesus for a lifetime.

One of my high school English teachers would make us repeat the phrase, “Embrace the ambiguity.” In the midst of difficult chapters of literature, when we would get tempted to quit, she would stop us and have us say, “Embrace the ambiguity.” She said that the quicker we got uncomfortable not knowing everything, the more we would enjoy the text and then start to understand it just a little bit better. I like knowns and outcomes. Feelings are my favorite, but sometimes I just need concrete, which leads me to search for answers in places I’m never going to find them. This side of heaven there are things I’ll never know – why people keep bringing me back for final round interviews of jobs that I’m simply not qualified for, is one that I just don’t quite get. Why seemingly good things fall apart is another. The quicker I can abandon my entitlement to know and understand the why, the better off I will be. There are so many things I don’t understand right now, that I’m being forced to embrace the ambiguity that is my life.

I’ve never been good at faking anything. Especially faking being okay. My emotions always give me away. Usually this is really annoying, especially when I’m sad and can’t stop crying, or when I’m just feeling down and the thought of putting on a happy face seems impossible, even if it’s just for a couple hours of work. But, I’m learning that realness and even rawness invites others to be real and raw. I have nothing else to offer the world except me, and the evidence that my life provides to the transforming power of Jesus. The more real I am, the greater Jesus looks to others because they can see just how broken I am, and be encouraged about what it looks like to be loved in spite of that. Being raw encourages authenticity in others.

At this point, I don’t know what next week looks like; I could be starting a new job, or still be at J.Crew. The future is so uncertain that I have to live day by day. I like to plan, but right now, I’m being forced to live in the present. I wake up in the morning and ask Jesus what He has in store for the day. I can’t really worry about the future because I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen. So I can only really take things one day at a time, and trust that God has the rest under control. Plus, at risk of sounding cynical, this prevents me from getting my hopes up about what the future has to offer. I’m still healing from that one, and very thankful that I get to live here in the present not wishing the future would hurry up and get here already. Life on the strugglebus is teaching me the value of the present and how to make the most of it.

What are you learning in the season you’re in… even if you’re not on the strugglebus? Are you a willing learning, or dragging your feet like me?

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