All right, emergency triage writing time. If I lose the ability to trust myself to trust the plan, this entire thing I’m doing falls apart and I die alone like Carl. 12:30 in the afternoon and no schoolwork or even exercise is not trusting the plan.
The root issue is that causing the IRL old friends meetup to be cancelled through incompetence* really shook me, on top of much else falling apart around me in the last 10 days. As you may be aware, competence is a big deal for me. Between autonomy, mastery, and purpose, 80% of my happiness comes from mastery. I could be happy chained to a post sharpening spears par excellence even knowing those spears would never be used. (This is quite clear to all those people over the years who want the best for me and pointed out this blog is an addictive time sink that serves no serious purpose.)
*Can’t rent a car because driver’s license expired, for lack of cyborganization.
For purpose of illustration (don’t worry, it’s to contextualize the insight following, not just spontaneous toxic ranting):
- I can name 15 pieces of technology that I rely on that broke in the last ten days (e.g. phone) – this is faster than I can fix or replace things
- Work life has recently been a string of failures, largely outside my control
- I haven’t had a face-to-face conversation with another person in a month
- Contact with the internship application process has shaken me (may need to abandon the mass application approach altogether and do outside-the-box approaches only)
- Though I don’t make a point of thinking about it, it galls me that I haven’t written a good blog post in a week
- Family calls have fallen apart for lack of bandwidth on my part (lesson: I can’t do it alone, and the problem is my family is full of Type As who think nothing is their job except their job, and especially family is not their job – I need to do a propaganda campaign about how family is integral to happiness and career success is not)
- Almost complete lack of spiritual life for lack of bandwidth
- Financially can’t afford to slow down the school schedule, hence bandwidth issues
- Despite being in the best shape of my life and getting great sleep every night, I’m getting toxic to a point where it’s hurting my best relationships
- Getting a C- for no fault of my own (even for a measly quiz worth only 1 percent of the final grade) reminded me that I’m not in complete control of my academic destiny, and this semester’s incompetent professors have me worried that [redacted] frontloads all the competent people into the intro classes to suck you in
All right, that was for setting up the following insight.
I always hope I would have the character to thank and praise God even if my life were a complete failure and I were despised, rejected, unhappy, incompetent, hungry, etc. Similarly, I want to be the sort of person who thanks and praises God in good times instead of ascribing all good things to myself and forgetting about him, since I wouldn’t feel like I need him anymore (in the short term…because human). Looking at my situation right now, it’s not really that bad by any stretch of the imagination. As far as failures and setbacks go, these are the tutorial level at worst.
Plus, I’ve been bigly blessed to have seen a concrete glimpse of how God redeems bad things and turns them to good for those who love him and are called according to his plan. I don’t know why he’s so subtle about it, and from my limited perspective this does more harm than good, but I will admit that appreciating that level of subtlety even for a moment lends itself to heights of awe I can’t imagine feeling for more direct forms of intervention. It’s like a masterfully built watch versus fireworks. Fireworks lose their appeal over time, but mind-boggling complexity appeals more and more over time.
Therefore, I can rest my anxieties on these premises:
- God loves me (must be true if the gospel is true),
- God is paying attention to my situation (likely true if I correctly intuited he intervened in my family’s situation), and
- God is competent to redeem all these minor setbacks for a profit (certainly true if I correctly intuited he intervened in my family’s situation)
In conclusion, this is all part of the training pipeline for growing in godliness. Even if I’m delusional or misunderstanding the glimpse of terrifying beauty thing and premises 2 and/or 3 aren’t true, it’s still true that this situation is good training for growing in godliness.