Tears glisten amidst echoes of hiccuping cries. A little girl wipes her face furiously behind the school as the other kids squeal on the playground. She resents them for not inviting her to play. She wishes that her mom would come and make things right. 

Jolting awake, she squints at the rising sun through her window. It’s been a while since she thought of her first day of middle school. Shrugging, she gets ready for another day. 

As always, she straightens her covers, brushes her teeth, washes her face, and changes into the clothes she set out the night before. Like clockwork. It’s 7:30 AM. Grabbing a banana from the counter, she heads out. She opens her Bible app to find the daily verse: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15-17). Hm, compelling. Glancing at the time, she rushes to class, and hours pass until she is on her way home to the comfort of her room. 

Feeling beat after dinner, she plops onto the bed and scrolls through Instagram. A glowing ferris wheel, the Disneyland castle, a busy skate park, blurry photos in a parking lot, group photos at an internship—how nice it must be to have such an eventful life. Looking down at herself, she sighs. When will she live in such color?

The next day follows. At 7:30 AM, she leaves for class. The cycle runs its course, and she again finds herself wishing for a Jenga-topple of a change to overturn her life.

Twelve hours later now and it’s evening. Maybe it’s the splashes of white and pink clouds sailing in the breeze or the little ant by her window carrying a breadcrumb to its colony, but seeing the natural world move at a faster pace than she ever has stews the boiling, pent-up feeling in her chest. She picks up her cup of tea from the counter and settles on the edge of her bed, wondering where her life has gone. 

In her twenties and as lost as ever. Days like today have repeated for years on end, beating at the monotonous rhythm that she set for herself. Even after all these years of ironing out all her creases to appear decent, she continues to feel completely helpless when it comes to just about everything: her studies, her career, her family and friendships, her relationship with God… the list is endless. Regret and shame veil her heart as she thinks about how life has just drifted by. What does she have to show for all the time that has passed? Has her life become reduced to her routine? What was college even for? There may be a degree to her name, but that doesn’t mean she has a passion. She is still the little girl hoping her life will improve with time. But nothing about her has changed in the past four years. Still as stubborn as ever, petrified of making decisions and mistakes, caring about the smallest details—nothing has changed. Where did the time go?

Or maybe she’s just a late bloomer, that’s all, and she’ll get there someday, of course… 

Shaking her head and setting her mug on the table, she lies on her back in the fullness of her bed.

Who is she kidding? There she goes again, endlessly hoping for things to develop in her life without even making a move. Too afraid of exploring a life outside her daily routine and too proud to deny the life she built up till now, she digs herself a makeshift abode in the in-between. Never stepping out of line, never growing. She stands paralyzed on that spot for years. Stuck is what she is, her feet sunk in the thick molasses-like goop beneath her. 

How did it get to this? Was it comfort? Was it easy reward? Maybe it was growing up in a household that prioritized future comfort and pushed for the grades needed for the laid-back, high-paying job. After all, she wouldn’t be in college if it were not for this hope. Maybe it was her lack of passion and ambition for anything that bled into the other parts of her life. Maybe it was this society subtly circulating its self-indulgence and idolatry and luxurious comfort into her being.

She stares at the hole in her ceiling feeling unsatisfied, empty, lonely. Rather than feeling stuck, she feels as if she has reverted back to the girl of her dreams: afraid, selfish, and self-righteous. And somehow it’s still 7:30 PM. No time has passed.

The glimmer of the gold engravings on her Bible catches her eye. Dusting off the book, she wonders where her faith went, whether it was real or not. For the longest time, she did the bare minimum to pass as a Christian: attending church, carrying a Bible and pen, writing a verse on her social media bios. That should be enough, right? Then why is she here, splayed on the bed, feeling like a failure of a person, an imposter of a Christian, a nobody who has accomplished nothing? Maybe she should try harder, do more. Maybe God would make a hero out of her yet… but no. Knowing herself all too well, she still wants a God who will give her what she wants and simply agree with her.

Where did all those truths she learned as a child go? Where God is all-powerful, wise, and for her? Where she finally has a purpose, where her vision went beyond the things seen, where her spirit renewed every day? How did time go by so quickly that for years she allowed herself to live under the guise that she was living for God when instead she wanted Him to do everything according to her will? Did she truly give her heart to Him?

Part of her heart squeezes with guilt, thinking now is the time to make a change. But still the other part of her heart whispers, “Unnecessary.” She’s a decent person living an adequate life. The way things are isn’t so bad. She could always just pick up her phone and inject herself with another thousand posts. She could have a good night’s sleep, complete another 24-hour cycle, and feel moderately satisfied. Routine over revelation wasn’t so bad.


She could acknowledge the reality of her rebellious and sinful self, weep over her depravity and repent, and turn back to the God who loves her perfectly.

How easy and enticing the first option is, and how difficult and idealistic the latter sounds. 

The clock reads 7:30 PM. Picking up her cup, she sips the remainder of her tea.

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