When I was a little girl, all I wanted was to be a grown up. I dreamed about living in a big city, walking to work in my sparkly high heels while hailing a cab like the successful & confident women in all the romantic comedies did. I'd order my latte at a cute little coffee shop just right around the corner from my office where the barista would know my name & order, and then I'd casually walk to work uttering to myself I made it.
Flash forward a decade and here I am approaching my 24th birthday at my second job post-college, nowhere near first name basis with my barista because I can't afford to see her more than twice a month. At a time when 13 year old me thought I'd be thriving, I couldn't feel more confused, scared, alone, ashamed, and simply... lost. I mean I know Kate Hudson didn't have the whole 'love' thing down at the beginning of How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, but she managed to by the end—not to mention being loved by her boss at work, being the leader of her successful friend group, rocking low-back dresses to happy hour, and actually liking the taste of dirty martinis. Ugh!
Despite my current scenario of feeling lost and confused in this unforgiving world, my mind often forgets what my heart knows to be true. Feeling worried about the future would be one massive stressor if I truly was doing this whole 'life' thing alone, but you see—God is guiding me through it. Even when I'm too busy complaining about not being able to buy a daily cup of coffee to even notice, he's holding my hand tightly.
"In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps."
Nevertheless, I'm often blinded by the societal pressures of needing to have it all together, and I tend to forget that God has everything under control. This past year has been really tough, but I'm finding that there is always beauty at the end of the struggle. Here are some things I've learned this year that may help you out when you're struggling, too:
1. Comparison is the thief of joy.
We all do it. We look at our friends or coworkers or bloggers on Instagram and have this sense of insecurity and jealousy wash over us, taking our actual contentment about our lives and diminishing it because of what someone else has. I'm no exception—I do it all the time, whether it's witnessing an amazing milestone happening to a friend or seeing someone on my Facebook feed get a job promotion—why do I turn something exciting happening to someone else into a pity party for myself?
Comparing our circumstances to those around us is robbing us of the joy God is providing to us each and every day. It's definitely not easy, but always remember to stay in your own lane. What's happening in your best friend's life, your co-workers life, or the people on your social media feeds is their road, not yours. God has a beautiful, glorious, exciting, and fulfilling journey of your very own, but you must trust in His timing for it to unfold, which will make it all the sweeter.
Which brings me to my next lesson...
2. In His time, my time will come.
You know the saying, "When you start to make plans, God laughs"? Ugh, it is so painfully true.
To keep it short, I've had a weird year. Last year at this time, I thought for sure that I would settle down in Iowa City, IA. with a good job and a cute little house in a town that I loved calling home, but unfortunately God had other plans.
I now live in Des Moines, IA. after getting laid off from my first job and accepting a new job in a completely new industry at a biiiig company. Though the initial rush of excitement and possibility was swirling around in my mind immediately upon accepting the job, it has since worn off and I'm contemplating every inch of my decision to pick up and move away from a place I had grown so comfortable. I question every day if I'm in the right place, at the right job, making the right decisions... all the while I'm worrying about my future and praying for immediate answers so this difficult season can be put in the past. But God's timing doesn't work like that. There's a reason behind this madness of struggle, and though I may not be able to see what exactly I'm doing here, God is working quietly in me and through me for something much greater.
It's completely natural for us to want to look ahead to the future and start planning that dream life, but we're running the extreme risk of missing out on the beauty and pain and growth that God is putting in front of us right now. Though you may feel alone or confused with time feeling as if it's at a complete stand still, always remember that God is preparing you for the next season of life—even if it doesn't quite feel that way in the moment.
3. My purpose is in Him.
The daily grind of waking up to show up can get old, fast. Amid all of the daily pressures of finding a fulfilling career, living in an exciting city, finding a romantic relationship that keeps you interested, and maintaining your health, the meaning behind what you're doing—and why—can get kinda lost.
It's times like these growing periods of struggle and confusion where I let my mind wander off into Pity-land, stressing about my circumstances and then feeling sorry for myself that I'm in this all alone. But then I remember that I'm never alone, and as financially scarce as my bank account may be or as monotonous as my 9 to 5 may seem—God is here, and boy is he cooking up something good. And I think it's also important to note that,
The purpose of my life is not to get married, start a family, & keep a good paying job to simply say "I'm happy" as I crawl into bed each night. The purpose of my life is to honor God with my whole heart through my thoughts, words, and actions so that one day I will be reunited with Him in Heaven.
I've definitely let my infatuation with the insignificant details of this world cloud my view of what's really important. It's a constant struggle, and God knows that I'm not perfect but in the end it is my duty as a Christian to remain grounded in God and know in my heart that getting a promotion at work or having all organic food in my pantry will not determine whether or not I've lived a successful life, but rather my undying love for Jesus Christ is what will ultimately set me free when all the things this life has to offer are said and done.
I'm constantly learning new things about myself as a woman in the year 2018 and how my faith will ultimately carry me through this madness. The crazy thing about God is: he yearns so deeply for us to reach out to Him, especially in our times of need. He loves for us to talk to Him, spend time with Him in scripture, and rely on Him for strength because we simply weren't made to do this alone.
If you're feeling lost, worried, or confused about anything going on in your life, I pray that you find it in your heart to let go of the fear of not being good enough and let God show you that you aren't just good enough, but you're destined for the greatest ending of all: an amazing, beautiful, unimaginable eternity in Heaven, regardless of how much money you make or what job title you hold.
And on that uplifting note, I'm going to make a cup of hot chocolate, snuggle up under the covers, and smile in contentment knowing that no matter how tough, painful, or confusing life may seem tonight—God is holding my hand tightly, giving me the strength to carry on. Looking fabulous in the process is definitely optional—but obviously, highly encouraged.