I was driving home from work a few nights ago when the song “Let There Be Light” by Hillsong started playing from my phone. But, I wasn’t listening to a worship playlist. I was actually listening to a very hype, very let's-get-pumped playlist that I’d put together for workouts.
During that drive home, I was in the best.mood.ever. I felt on fire from how productive my day at work had been, in love with the company I work for, and at peace with my life and plans for the summer. Lots of feels. All very good ones.
But when that song came on, I (mentally) halted. What the heck. Why was this on? I started laughing to myself, as if it had been a mistake to include such a slow worship song into my let's-go-run-three-miles-or-at-least-try playlist.
Then I remembered. And it hit me like a ton of bricks.
I had added this specific song to my playlist on the first day back to school in January, knowing I was re-entering the traumatic bubble that, the semester before, had taken me the farthest I’d ever been in my anxiety. Beyond just the angelic chorus, there was one small piece of one small verse that always stood out to me, especially in those weeks of mental blurs - as I craved clarity, energy, rest, and stability.
Restoring sight to the blind
Breaking the curse of the night
For all in darkness
I would listen to this song on repeat and get literal chills every time I heard this one line. It seemed so counterintuitive to me: the lower I sunk, the higher I needed to look.
During that winter semester, I had no clue why God kept slamming doors in my face. At this point, I had applied to 63 different internships, was leading an organization without ever really knowing if I was a good leader, and felt overwhelmed at all times that I was out of control of my health.
On the surface, my life was perfectly fine. In fact, it was good! I was so blessed in so many ways. (I tear up today realizing how out of tune I was with those blessings).
On the inside, I felt out of control. Too many things I was passionate about without knowing how to make a decision. Too many people relying on me without feeling like I was strong enough to keep going. Too many ideas pounding inside my head that I couldn’t focus on just one. Ever.
This lyric meant so much to me because it reminded me that clarity, energy, rest, and stability was accessible and available to me at all times of the day. All I had to do was sing louder.
In a season of doubt or frustration at where you are and what you’re doing, the last thing you want to do is bounce around with your hands in the air praising the universe for giving you this life. Truly, it sounds like the LAST thing I wanted to do.
Feeling out of tune with my purpose and position made me question where the heck God was taking me. I wanted to “cast out my anxiety” on him and let him “take the wheel” and all the things - but I didn’t know how. Complaining about my day wasn’t working. Trying to see a counselor wasn’t working. Soaking myself in bible studies and naps and ‘self-care’-type experiences wasn’t working.
But adding that song to the playlist that I usually only listened to when I wanted to feel powerful reminded me of where that power came from. Shuffling intense music made to empower me to conquer the world would always eventually remind me of Who created the world in the first place. I would remember who was watching me and gracing me with everything I needed to do, to pursue what I needed to pursue.
The epiphany? I sang louder.
I thanked God for the friends that I had - and ended up growing closer with so many incredible people I hadn’t yet had the chance to bond with.
I praised God for the ability to communicate my major, my passions, and my ambitions to company after company without ever hating my own story.
The big one: I trusted - really, genuinely - that God was using this current season in my life to re-direct me towards Him. He was pushing me back towards His goodness, towards His steadfast love for me and my brokenness, and towards His true promises that I would be taken care of.
Even though my to-do list looked tedious, my confidence was masking anxiety, and the jobs I kept craving weren’t working out at all, by the GRACE of God, I developed an excitement to live out the story God was writing for me. That excitement only existed because I took many, many moments to ask for it and then, I was given it, when I absolutelYYY did not deserve it. Tapping into that grace daily kept me singing - really, really loudly.
Future-you needs present-you to be present. If you are feeling unfulfilled, don’t sit still. Spend one minute in the morning to pray over your day. Read the newspaper or a blog article or a book, to learn something you didn’t yet know. Grab coffee with a coworker you’ve always been curious to chat with, switch up your workout routine, or go to sleep for 7.5 hours instead of 6. Figure out how to make the best of every day - in the way only you could appreciate.
Don’t know how? Ask. It might not be a dramatic epiphany. In fact, it might be silent, and it might be silent for a while. But do something. Thank Him for something. Don’t expect drastic change day after day after day. But one month from now? One year from now? Five years from now? God’s taking you there. He’s letting you live your story.
Always remember your season is a season for a reason. H A L L E L U J A H.
Hi, I'm Chlo.
I've been writing and reading and all the storytelling things since I learned as a kid that if you fold and staple construction paper together, it sort of looks like a real book. I have always craved soul serving stories- ones that melt like butter in your mind as you hear your heart explained out loud.
This here is my home away from home. When I'm not exploring neighborhood coffeehouses, driving down the Pacific Coast (again), or loving on all my people - I'm probably here, with you. Come on in! Scroll around. I hope you feel less alone.