2.29.2012

I just need to get this off my chest.

This is about something I have witnessed and personally experienced countless times. It's something that has been rolling around in my brain and weighing on me heavily the past few days, And then, I read this post and this post this morning. They are so spot on and inspiring, and I knew it was time I said something. Because it's a matter near and dear to my heart. The whole intent behind this post is for me to say: hey, I get it. I've been there, I'm still there many days, and I want to encourage you through it. 


Last night, while I was stretching my weary legs and listening to How I Met Your Mother, a post on facebook caught my eye. A twenty-something girl wrote something to the effect of  "I'm so sick of people getting engaged/married/pregnant. I can't relate to any of you anymore and I don't want to see it all over the place." To be totally honest, my very first thought was how rude! But after reading the comments and mulling it over, it broke my heart a little. This is not the first time I've heard and seen this lately. For every engagement and pregnancy, it seems there are ten people out there exclaiming their exasperation at the amount of weddings and babies on the horizon, like it's something unusual. But so many of us are in our twenties, and this the most common age for weddings and babies. But there's more to it than white dresses and nurseries. This is an issue of insecurity and jealousy. Of feeling left out.

But life is not meant to be a competition. It is not a race to see who will get married first, have the first baby, buy a house, get published, etc. But yet, we make it out to be. We all go through different seasons and stages of life, and we go through them at different times. We're not all supposed to get married at 22. We're not all supposed to buy a house right out of college. We're not all supposed to have a baby in the first five years of marriage. Instead of a discouragement, this should be a comfort. We each have a unique timeline to our lives. One that was crafted specifically for us.

But that's where jealousy comes in. When our timeline doesn't match up with someone else's. When what we believe should take place, doesn't. Jealousy is a bitter little seed that takes root in your heart, whether you notice it or not. And before you realize it, it grows and chokes and suffocates the joy, peace, and contentment out of your life. It leaves you feeling lonely, discouraged, and left out.

But there's even more to it than that. You see, the root of jealousy is always discontentment. If we are content in our own lives, we would have no reason to envy anyone else's. But we are discontent because we feel like we are missing something. That we are owed or entitled to something. That we were jipped.
But you weren't. I want everyone to hear this: you were not jipped. God did not forget about you! You have not been left behind, and you were not lost in the shuffle.

For those of you who are single (I'm using this example because it's what I so often hear, though it can be applied to any situation):  You have the gift of freedom right now. There are some things you just can't do with the responsibility of a spouse. I had a list of things I wanted to do before I got married. I definitely didn't do all of them, but maybe God will incorporate them in my future. Go on an adventure. Enjoy cooking exactly what you want for dinner. You don't have to worry about someone else's preferences. Enjoy only doing laundry for one. Seek God, find out what He has for you to accomplish while you're single. As I mentioned in yesterday's post, marriage is no cake walk. It's not a Disney princess fairytale. It's beautiful and amazing, yes, but it's not a ticket to happiness. Only Jesus can be that.

I know there are times when nothing seems like it's going right. Like the universe is doing everything it can to rub your lonliness, or what have you, in your face. You sign on to facebook to see half your friends list got engaged last night. Or you see the lady in the coffee shop flaunting her ultrasounds and talking about painting the nursery yellow. And you see it everywhere you go, from the bridal magazines on the shelves, to the sparkle of someone else's ring in the sunlight.

And you know what? I'm right there with you. I've wasted so much time wondering what I'm doing wrong. I've sat on my torn, black leather couch in my tiny one bedroom townhouse and wondered why I can't go buy a house and paint my walls grey like every other married couple. I've laid in bed at night and questioned God, asked Him why I don't have as many friends as the next person. Why I feel like I'm so often looked over and ignored. I've read other blogs and wondered why I can't do what they do and why I don't look that way.

But you have to choose to find the beauty and joy in your own life, or a ring/marriage/house/baby/job will never be enough. There will always be something you'll feel is missing. Because the root of the issue isn't that something is missing from your life. The root of the issue is discontentment. Some days, about the only thing I can rejoice over is the comfort of my bed at the end of an awful day. But find those little things that make you happy. Focus on what you can do in this stage of your life.

But most importantly, remember that God knows what He's doing. He has you in this particular stage for a reason. During a particularly rough few months in my life, a lady in Panera told me that God is constantly preparing you for whatever is ahead in life. God is developing you to be the wife/mother that He wants you to be. Just rest in that, and everything else will work itself out.What I've learned in my own life is that the season of yearning and craving for something is quite often a test. It's an opportunity to trust God's will for your life and surrender your own. In all honesty, I was so tired of the dating game. I just wanted to find the guy for me. I had a timeline in my head, and I panicked when God had the audacity to not follow it. It wasn't until I completely laid down my owns plans, desires, and expectations for my husband and trust in God's plan and timing did I catch the eye of the cute boy playing guitar across the room at the Christmas party. I'm just saying, if God were to just give in to our desires, there would be no lesson. There would be no growth.

Like Carissa said (in the first post I linked to), we are all on the same team. We are all trying to figure life out. And hopefully, we are all trying to live for God and find His will for our own individual lives. We need to encourage each other, not spurn each other out of jealousy. If someone close to you gets what you've been on your knees praying for, choose to encourage them and be happy for them. I know it may sound impossible (and this is something I personally struggle with), but God's strength and power is made evident in our weaknesses. Maybe by helping that person, you'll learn some tricks for when you finally experience it for yourself. But whatever you do, don't let bitterness, jealousy, or resentment grow between you and someone. You can still relate to married friends or friends with kids. You still need those friendships. There is something to learn from people in every stage of life, and each one will bring a fresh perspective to yours. Those people are placed in specifically in your life at this specific time for a reason. Learn to thrive and grow where we are, and take full advantage of the joys in your life. Because once you trust God with everything else, the rest will fall into place.

7 comments:

  1. Yes! I totally agree. It seems that as soon as someone announces their engagement on FB, another person writes a status like, "It seems like everyone is getting engaged/pregnant lately! I don't get it! We're young and need to live first!"

    It makes me angry too. But yeah, it's important to remember that God has a plan for each and every single one of us and it's not going to be the same as someone else's, but that's what makes it unique and special.

    Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Girl, this is sooo spot on with what I've been feeling lately. Like seriously, I don't even know what to say. I just needed to hear these words. I go to a small Christian school where it's natural for people to get engaged/married young and it's so easy to want that for myself. I need to start praying for contentment in the "right now." Thank you so much for sharing this, it has been a huge encouragement to me. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I SO needed to read this tonight :)
    So glad that you were brave enough to post it!
    Love this line, "We each have a unique timeline to our lives. One that was crafted specifically for us."

    Thanks girl!
    xo

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wonderful post, Michelle! I am constantly struggling with this EXACT issue! It's like the thorn in my side, always there. It's funny, I wanted a baby so badly and once he came, I started to become jealous of my single friends or friends without kids since I see the freedom they have. Geez!! :) Yet I have seen first hand what God does when I give him all my wants and desires. Why is this still such a big struggle?

    Thank you so much for posting this today....this really speaks into my life right now.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This was a great post, Michelle! Everything in life has become a competition, and that's just no way to live. And it's interesting that sometimes the people who seem to "have it all" really aren't living a focused life or even a happy one. Happiness isn't found in competition, being first, or making the most money.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I would just like to say that I am having a hard time finding blog posts by you I have not already read. This is unacceptable. I need your blog like some people need coffee on a bad day.

    ReplyDelete

Talk to me! If your email is linked to your account, I'll respond to you via email. If not, I'll respond to you right here.