“We won’t be distracted by comparison if we are captivated with purpose.” ~Bob Goff
Do you ever wish you could get a glimpse of the future? Maybe not every single detail of every year, but a quick peek at life in five or ten years? Sometimes I wish I could be given a tiny preview of where I’ll be, just to know. Because I think perhaps that will bring me some comfort in where I’m at now.
But honestly, I don’t think it would give me comfort because I wouldn’t understand it. Ten years ago, if I had had a glimpse of where I’m at now, I might have said, “Seriously? And you’re happy with that?!” I wouldn’t have had any idea of all the little pieces that came together over the years to make me stronger, more confident, and more peaceful in what God was doing in my life.
Just last night I was re-reading journal entries on my computer from ten to twelve years ago, when I was 18 to 20. And merely reading them reminded me of how immature I was. How insecure I was in myself, how searching I was for my identity, how uncertain I was of what I wanted to do with my life. How desperate I was to be in a relationship and get married.
I had no idea of how God would use the circumstances of the next decade to refine me, help me grow, and shape me into the person He meant for me to become – and that by the time I was thirty, I would have peace in all that I had. And all that I would have wasn’t the fantasy dream I pictured at age 18. Rather, it would be the sweetest of surprise gifts that I hadn’t expected.
Because of that, I could write this in my journal the other morning –
“I’m feeling so content and at peace this morning. My sister’s getting married in two weeks; I own this beautiful, darling house; I started up my fifth year of teaching fifth grade; we have a three-day weekend; I get to have my teacher friends over for dinner tonight; my HYPE job is growing all the time; I finished writing a book recently – life is pretty much everything I could want it to be. I’m so grateful to be in this place.”
Here’s what I’ve learned about life and being where you want to be – it’s not the circumstances themselves that make you content, it’s how you react to them. And how you react to them is based on how grounded you are in Christ.
Ultimately, having Christ is everything I could ever want. And because of that, I am enabled to see all the rest of my life with grateful eyes. If I wanted, I could turn everything in that previous journal entry into a negative light based on how I perceived it. I could complain about the busyness of weddings, of living in this house alone, of the exhaustion of starting another school year, of being stretched too thin with so many involvements – and if I did, I would be discontent and unhappy with where I was in life.
If I look at my life and compare it to someone else’s, thinking my life is sub-par compared to theirs, then I won’t be where I want to be. But if I look at my life and allow myself to be captivated by the purpose that God has given it, then I am exactly where I want to be.
I can be bitter that I didn’t have a dream come true that I dreamed at age twenty. Or I can be astonished with delight from dreams come true that I didn’t know existed at age twenty.
I can be sulky that I don’t have what the girl next to me at church has, or I can turn to the other girl next to me and give her some of the hope and joy inside of me.
I can be annoyed at the seeming “hum-drum” of everyday life, or I can relish the quiet, balanced routine of an ordinary life being allowed to make daily impacts on the lives of others.
I can lose myself in tiredness, or I can take a quick power nap and get back up to light my candles, sip my tea, and attack my goals once again.
Having peace, contentment, delight, and excitement over all that God is giving me in life? Yes, this is exactly where I wanted to be – and even more so. He has given me more than I deserve in this life, and I’m not here to boast about it. I’m here to serve Him with it in faithfulness, passing it on to the next person who needs it.
So, if you’re wondering if this is all that life has to offer you, maybe look around at some of the unexpected gifts in your life and see them with fresh eyes. You might be captivated with the delight of them as well – and you’ll realize that God has you exactly where He wants you.