Luke 3:23 states “Jesus Himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry.” It is widely regarded by historians, biblical scholars, and us common folk the son of Joseph was crucified and resurrected at the age of thirty three. A little less than three hours from completing my thirty-fourth trip around the sun, I find myself sitting in front of my laptop, in a contemplative state.
My first thought? “I finally have an answer to the question “What Would Jesus Do?” He’d read his audience and think make up something fly to say off the top of His head…people will figure out what He means later.” As I leave thirty three behind, I think about how absolutely clueless someone who is thirty three actually is.
I say that in jest.
Over the past week or so, a few friends have reached out to me solely offer some words of encouragement. Multiple messages along the lines of “hang in there” in a condensed period of time meant something was off and I hadn’t noticed it. They noticed heaviness in my spirit. I couldn’t deny it; I was on the verge of burnout.
It was just another Friday when I woke up and proceeded with my regular routine. The only kind of celebration I had in mind was to do absolutely nothing, take a nap, and do more nothing. For as long as I can remember, from the first day of school until today, I tend to reflect on the past year and do some self-inventory. In the past year, my faith, mental, and spiritual fortitude haven’t been tested this much since I was twenty five. Postulating and attempting to put all of it into perspective have left me feeling very, well, heavy.
My thirty third birthday began with my car stalling out on the Grand Central Parkway. In a bellow of white smoke, I made a deal with God to get me back home safely. Due to a lack of funds, it sat in front of my house until late August and is currently sitting in my garage with a shit ton of tickets on it I still haven’t paid for. Happy Thanksgiving.
A few days later, on a Monday morning, I started my prayer with God with the phrase He knows it’s time to make some kind of immediate change: God, something’s gotta shake. I told Him I was thankful for my job and will do my best as long as I have it, but I hated it. It sucked the life out of me. All of my momentum as a writer ceased. He only time I had to write was while I was at work. Cydney’s podcast hadn’t aired in almost two years. I had other projects I wanted to tart but I was too tired to execute. I was miserable.
God answered my prayer. I was let go Friday afternoon. I took this as a sign that it was time to finally get to work on my calling. I finished and released the Christmas Album I made with my cousin that’d been sitting on hard drives since 2010. I didn’t post anything; but I started writing with purpose again. I learned how to produce and edit film. I started producing music again and even wrote a few songs. I told my daughter and nephew it was time to start doing the podcast again. I spent almost the entire first half of thirty three, holed up in my room, getting busy. My goal for 2019 was to attract the team I needed because on my own, I wouldn’t be much more than my friends’ favorite writer.
As a creative, wrestling with crippling self-doubt and over-thinking is a lifestyle. My childhood insecurity of feeling misunderstood prompted me to constantly wonder whether or not people would “get it.” I was putting in way too many hours for any of this to be some shit my friends just said “This is cool” and gave me some menial pat on the back. Nah, the stakes were much bigger than that.
In the late spring, I came right back to God and said “Something’s gotta shake.” I knew what my level of talent was; but in the confines of parenting duties in Long Island, I had no idea who paid attention to anything I’d done, if at all. God once again answered me. This in itself is worth a few thousand words in written form. Some won’t be written; but if you catch me in person, I may have an entertaining story or two to tell you.
On the surface, much of what was perceived as a season of harvest was God dangling a proverbial carrot; a little something to hold me over. Many of my questions over the past few years were answered and left me with just one: why?
For the past two or three months, I’ve wondered what was the purpose of all I’d been through and this test of faith during a year I’d expected to play out very differently.
My eyes burned and bags formed due to physical and emotional fatigue, I almost decided to sleep most of the morning and not even write this. I took a shower and guess as I washed the funk of thirty three off, God answered my question.
“Chad, I chose you. You don’t have a choice in this. You don’t need to know why or what to anything; just do…that’s your job. It isn’t for you to worry about what it is people see in you. Whatever you do, you’re supposed to just do and put it out into the world. People will take whatever they want from it and interpret whatever you do based on their unique experiences that I’ve put them through. You job is to jut do your part and make this world-MY world-a better place.”
I stepped out of the shower feeling much different.