Written by Yelena Knight
I am learning to appreciate blank slates; to get comfortable with the unknown, in not feeling like my next steps are planned. I’m beginning again and coming to a realization that I know so little and have so much to learn. When everything is stripped away, or all the goals you set for yourself have been accomplished, the vast nothingness that appears is both terrifying and exciting.
Face the Void
I wish I could sit here and say that I am someone who embraces the void as something exciting, something to be welcomed—but I have spent most of my life avoiding moments like this. I am a type A, goal-oriented personality. From as young as I can remember, I would find myself curled over a notebook writing a list of things I had to do or accomplish.
This habit was reinforced as a competitive athlete where I was taught how to set goals, and the importance of setting them regularly. The skill of setting goals helped get me through my undergraduate degree, when the light at the end of the tunnel seemed so far away, and I would forever be studying the same case.It took seven years, but eventually I found myself crossing the stage and accepting my degree. Immediately after, I began working in my field, doing legal research. My goal setting, meticulous planning, and discipline brought me to this point. But almost right away, I began to feel the sinking feeling that I was lost, standing in a city that I did not know, where I could not speak the language. I was in the void, and I hated it. I tried to set goals, but I had no idea what goals to set. I no longer knew what I wanted, or what my next steps were.
Eventually, even the small steps felt significant; should I go to the gym this morning, or sleep in? Should I spend time with this friend, or stay at home and recharge. Gosh, I spent a lot of time recharging. I was scared, to the point where I would have panic attacks. I hated feeling as if I was not accomplishing anything, yet I did not know where to go next.
I thought I was drowning instead of floating.
I started therapy, and started to work through these feelings of fear. My therapist, who is a Christian, asked me if I trusted God. It was such a simple question, yet I could not answer. I have believed in God for what feels like my entire life. I grew up going to church, reading the Bible, and singing worship songs. My entire family believed in God – I have pastors in my extended family. It was never a question of whether God existed; I simply believed this as fact. As I grew up, I walked through some moments where hope just felt like a word instead of a feeling. I continued to believe in God, but began to question if He could be trusted.
A Big Question
While I grew in my faith as I read the Word, what remained in the back corner of my mind was the question of whether God was a God who I could truly trust with my pain, my heartbreak – the entirety of my life. I began to lean on my own capabilities; my ability to be organized, set goals, and achieve. As long as I believed I could do something, I made sure to make it happen.
It was not until my therapist asked me such a simple question that I realized that I was relying on my own strength, and not God’s
Of course, I have my own spiritual experiences that show me that my faith was real, and I did have a personal relationship with God; but I was beginning to drown those experiences with other’s stories, where my faith was no longer my own, but a number in a collective.
When there is a fork in the road; where nothing in your life makes much sense anymore, even if it appears on paper to be okay, you have to make a decision as to how to move forward. You could stand staring at the Y in the road, paralyzed. These people refuse to change anything, even though they are completely miserable with their lives. Or, you could pick a road and hope for the best
God is Constant
Where God Meets Me
Keeping it Real
Authenticity is what I seek in myself; being real with where I am in my faith. I love Jesus. I love what He did on the cross for us. I believe that God is good, even when it does not make sense. However, I am also learning how to make my faith personal, something that I can access and comprehend in the moments when I do not know what to do