Finding Purpose in Our Days
As a single woman with a part-time job in a rural town, it’s all too easy to find myself subconsciously slipping into the belief that the things I do aren’t all that important.
“If your circumstances were different, your life would matter more,” this lie whispers on the worst of days, and I feel myself curling under the weight of shame as they keep piling higher.
“If you were married, you would have more emotional and financial security.”
“If you had a full-time job, people would take you more seriously.”
“If you lived in a city, you would meet more people and have more of an impact.”
Here’s the part where I remind you (and myself) that there is nothing inherently wrong with any of these desires. It is not wrong to hope for a husband. It is not wrong to desire a full-time job. It is not wrong to want a change in your environment. In His grace and goodness, God gives us the freedom to pursue these things, taking steps toward making the changes we see fit and taking them with the assurance that He is ultimately sovereign overall. “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps,” Proverbs 16:9 reminds us.
So no, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to make good changes in your life. There is something wrong with believing that the life stage you’re in isn’t significant enough to make a difference in God’s Kingdom.
The Daily Surrender
At this moment in time, I live at home (read: with my parents) and work for a local library. Half my days are spent behind the front desk, checking books in and out and acting as the Fine Police when necessary. The other half is spent sitting in a rocking chair before an audience of two- to five-year-olds, reading childhood classics like The Very Hungry Caterpillar with as much enthusiasm as I can muster the fifth time around.
Most of the time, I love it. Some of the time, I scroll through social media and wonder how my small life can stack up against the countless engagements, school acceptances, job offers, baby announcements, and National Geographic-worthy travel photos I see.
What about me, Lord? Do you see me down here, quietly chewing on my Chinese food in the corner of the library’s fluorescent-lit break room? Did you forget that I have dreams, too?
Logically, I know the answer to these questions. Emotionally, it’s a whole ‘nother story. Those are the moments when I have to come back to the truths that have been pounded into me since childhood, sitting in silence at the feet of Jesus and allowing His words to trickle from my head to my heart.
Promises to Cling to
“I know the plans I have for you.” (Jeremiah 29:11a)
“He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion.” (Philippians 1:6)
“All my days were written in your book and planned before a single one of them began.” (Psalm 139:16 CSB)
It’s in these promises that I find internal peace, joy, rest, comfort, and confidence—regardless of my external circumstances. They enable me to shake off the burden of lies and shame, to breathe freely in the palm of the One who holds me close to His heart, to risk the stings of rejection and heartache that come with living bravely instead of settling into my comfort zone.
They are what empower me to send the risky text to that boy, knowing that whatever does or doesn’t happen, I’m already fully loved and secure in my relationship with Jesus. They are what strengthen me to face the endless abyss of soul-sucking job boards, trusting that God will open a new door in His perfect timing. They are what give me the courage to seek opportunities in new cities while still feeling a sense of contentment as I drive along the backroads of my one (okay, maybe three) stoplight town.
The Significance of Baby Steps
Not only do these truths give me the strength to take baby steps toward the life I want to live, but they also open my eyes to see the significance of the moment God has me in right now—even if it’s not where I would choose to be.
The shy little girl whose mom told me she was over the moon with pride after working up the courage to say, “Thank you, Miss Kati” at the end of storytime. The veteran with back pain who happily insisted on shoveling snow from our library’s walkway after I helped him navigate some computer trouble. The group of bright-eyed second graders who sent thank you letters after I hosted their field trip. The high school girls who listen with shining eyes as I share my story of how Jesus met me in the depths of loneliness and gave me victory over my fear of being unlovable. The family member or friend who needs a little extra encouragement, to whom I can speak words of truth in a coffee shop rather than through a pixelated screen.
All of these are precious moments I may not have experienced—people I may not have had the chance to love—if my circumstances were different. If I wasn’t single. If I wasn’t working at the library. If I wasn’t living under my parents’ roof in this tiny little town. Are they small? Yes, yes they are, especially in the eyes of a world obsessed with more: more money, more accomplishments, more friends, more followers, more happiness.
But at the end of the day, all those small things add up in the eyes of my Savior. Not because they make Him love me any more (that’s impossible), but because they make His light inside of me shine a little bit brighter for this dark world to see.
He must increase; I must decrease (John 3:30).
Your friend, Kati Lynn
Kati Lynn is a writer, doodler, and storyteller who is slowly but surely learning how to live loved by Jesus. She enjoys hanging out with teenagers who keep her up to date on meme culture and is especially passionate about the ways faith, mental health, and media intersect. You can keep up with her musings on her blog and Instagram @justanotherdavis.