I can’t tell you how many times I told God that: “But this isn’t where I want to be.”
By my sophomore year in high school, I was convinced that if I was at any other school, life would instantly be better, and my problems would magically disappear .
I didn’t want to be in that season of life; a season riddled with friend problems, insecurities and pain.
Even as a graduating senior, I thought nothing good would come from this time. I told God that all I got from that period was lots of tears, deep wounds and trust issues, loneliness and bitterness.
But when I look back now, I see him at work. I see that my tears drew my family closer together.
I see now that he has turned my wounds and trust issues that developed in that time, into a deep appreciation for the friendships that do and will last.
I see that he used my loneliness to draw me into him. He used my bitterness to really show me that my heart needed a lot of work.
Fast forward to the middle of my freshman year of college, and I was saying the same thing.
“God, I don’t want to be here.”
I would look at that view of UF and feel sick.
I was again convinced of something false. I was convinced I had made the biggest mistake of my life coming to UF.
The transfer applications open in my browser on any day that spring screamed what I thought was the truth: I didn’t want to be here. This wasn’t the place for me. I needed to get out.
But I didn’t leave for some reason. I stuck around, despite my attempt to convince God that I needed to be somewhere else.
Looking at the present, I see why he put me through that and kept me a Gator.
My freshman pain is the reason why I appreciate and seek true community so much. My freshman pain gave me perspective and showed me how much I blew small issues out of proportion. My freshman pain showed me truly, that God’s plan is always greater.
Sometimes I just have to wait it out, even if “I don’t want to be there.”
Just two days ago, I caught myself saying that again.
At the beginning of this semester, I had a dream of a summer planned with one goal in mind: to not be Orlando this summer. Circumstance after circumstance happened, and my “dream of a summer” completely fell through.
And guess where I’m 95% sure I’ll be this summer?
You guessed it: home. In Orlando. The one place I said, “No definitely not,” to.
Right after my plan exploded right in my face, I stomped my foot, and hit God with that whiney statement: “But God, I don’t want to be in Orlando this summer.”
With no other choice, I sat back and waited. I prayed for something to come up, so I wasn’t just sitting at home all summer.
Without giving too much away because I have nothing secured yet, something did come up.
In a completely chance way.
A dream of an opportunity if it works out, in the one place I didn’t want to be this summer.
Sitting here today, I’m face-palming myself and smiling.
Because who am I to ever say that where God is placing me isn’t the place to be?
Learning slowly but surely to stop telling him that I don’t want to be right in the middle of his glorious, perfect plan.
Because in the end, it always works out better than I could have ever planned.
Know this: it is so cool, freeing and humbling to just be wherever God puts you in life.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
God’s timing is so sweet, friends. Lean in, and trust it.
Related posts: Buckling up through chronic pain: when it takes me down, but God meets me in the valleys.
I don’t know why, I wish I did. But for some reason for the whole month of March, my body didn’t want to give me a break.
Some family and friends could hear it in my voice or read it on my face: I was in a full out boxing match with Cerebral Palsy for an entire month, and it was trying to take me out.
This has always been my life. Some weeks are better than others with my pain. Sometimes, those few hard, painful weeks quickly turn into a full month. Sometimes there’s a concrete cause for why my pain dial has suddenly cranked up that I can change or fix, sometimes there’s not.
March was a double whammy. It was a few random painful weeks that turned into a full month of pain that had no concrete cause that I could think of.
I remember realizing probably the second Sunday that I was in for it.
Tears burned as I was just trying to load my clothes into the washer. I remember limping back to my room, hopping on my bed and for the 30 minutes my stuff was in the washer, just lying there, not moving and doing my best not to cry too much.
I called my dad and told him that this was one of the worse spells of pain I could ever remember and that it felt debilitating.
He knows my pain tolerance is very high, so the fact I described it as “debilitating,” I knew would worry him. But the tone in his “I’m sorry Scooter,” told me that he knew I was crying even though I was trying to hide that fact.
I knew to some extent that this was just a side effect of being a CP kid and living completely on my own in college. And as I’ve discovered, college pace is fast and full, and CP and I don’t always keep up with it that well.
But what frustrated me was that while it was a busy week, it really wasn’t much different than previous weeks. What frustrated me was that I knew that it wasn’t anything that I did or was specifically doing that caused the pain. It was simply just my handicap body saying: “Jordan, I’m done.”
So, there was nothing I could do to help the pain stop. All I could do was lay on my bed. Fighting it mentally.
I’ve always said that as a physically disabled kid, the mental fight is actually harder than anything I face physically. Anger is easy to turn to, the “why” questions like to hide around almost every corner.
I knew that I couldn’t do that this time. And frankly, I was way too tired to be mad and scream at God.
Sitting in the middle of March, something in me told me this wasn’t going to let up, so I needed to buckle up.
I knew I was I going deep into a CP-pain-driven-valley. But on that Sunday, I made the choice not to be mad this time.
My prayer was simply for God to meet me there. To me meet me there and help me keep pushing. To help me keep smiling a smile that wasn’t through gritted teeth, trying to not let anyone know that my insides were screaming. A smile that was genuine. A smile that was strong, channeling the Jordan who somehow walked on a broken femur this summer, a day after surgery.
I prayed for that Jordan to show up and for the crying Jordan to leave.
And y’all, the main point to this post is this: when you ask him to, like really actually ask him to, God shows up.
Through my tears, I was begging him to. And boy, did he.
The back half of March was just as painful. I woke up every morning, and my shoulders screamed, my back cracked, and it felt like my legs said: “Sorry J, not doing today,” everyday.
But here’s the catch: I was happy because I was dependent on God. I was tired, but okay.
God placed thing after thing and friend after friend in my life to distract me from the fact that it felt like my body was shutting down. The happiness due to dependency showed up in my social life and school.
I hung out with more people than I probably ever have because I learned that it’s sometimes better to fight the pain off in the moment and just cry about it later instead of skipping things, just so I could be alone.
The week of a Macro exam would’ve had the old me spiraling out of control and stressing. Because I suck at Macro, and heightened pain only makes studying harder.
But I just buckled up. I put in my best. Early mornings with lots of coffee, and late nights sometimes with ice packs on everything that hurt.
And God met me there. Coffee, ice packs and all. I did better on that Macro exam than I initially thought I did. And I fully believe it’s because I decided not to stress, because I knew that if I gave my best, God would meet me there.
My point is not that you can now be aware of my chronic pain. Because the name “chronic pain” tells you all you need to know.
My point is not to show you that CP kids have a high pain tolerance. Because that’s not always true.
My point is that God is bigger than my pain and my pain tolerance.
And that he can use that to teach me things.
He can use the pain to make me stronger. Physically and spiritually.
My point is that even in your lowest of lows, God can meet you there and he will meet you there, in the smack dab middle of your deepest valley.
And that’s something to celebrate.
I’ll close with one of my signature lines that will hopefully put a smile on your face: the small able-bodied Jordan inside me is doing kart wheels right now she’s so happy.
Fighting pain with a smile, and a Jesus dependency.