My 20s haven’t exactly gone the way I anticipated they would.
The expectations we carry in life are often thwarted. My timelines don’t always play out. Teleportation still isn’t a thing (though I maintain that if they can fax a paper, they can fax a person). Major life milestones aren’t always met. Some of it is my fault. Some of it is outside of my control. And some of it makes me angry. Angry at myself for not achieving more, angry at others, sometimes even angry at God for not following my script. And then I get angry at myself for being angry.
I’m still figuring this out.
I know…another shocker that as an almost-27-year-old I still don’t have life figured out.
But you see, the thing is…I thought I would. I thought I would have all my issues nailed to the wall by now. I thought it would look a lot different than it does. And though I am not unhappy with my life, though I can see countless ways God has spared me, blessed me, and provided above and beyond for me, I still can’t help but feel sorry for myself sometimes.
It’s gross, really. And frustrating. I get frustrated with my own pity parties and I wish I would stop inviting myself to them.
Not long ago I was journaling my list of grievances to God. We all have those areas that no matter how many times we surrender them to Him, we have to keep doing it. Over. And Over. And Over. Again. But as I was generally complaining and lamenting to God about the facets of life that didn’t meet my ideal expectations, I felt Him speak into my void.
You are not a victim.
Wait…what? Are you sure, God? Because I’m feeling pretty victimized by my life right now.
You are not a victim. You are not a victim to your circumstances because I control your circumstances.
I felt myself go “Whoooaaa…” to that epiphany. But then I, of course, kept arguing.
But God, I don’t really feel seen right now. I don’t feel like my needs are being met. I’m tired of waiting for all of the things all of the time.
You are not a victim. Life is not an unfortunate thing that has happened to you. I do not stack the deck against you. I do not thwart your dreams and fail to replace them. I have placed you in the location and season you find yourself in to make a difference, to be present in the moment and connect with me and with others. So, stay planted. Let your roots grow, allowing me to water you. You are not a victim. You do not need to feel sorry for yourself or focus on why this season looks different than you thought. You do not need to compare your circumstances to others…these are YOUR circumstances, this is YOUR life. I’m using all of this to make you who I’ve ordained you to be, not someone else who you THINK has it easier or better than you. I am using all of these hardships, all of these in-between places to draw you to me, to help you to rely ONLY on me.
That is not something to feel victimized by, but to celebrate. You are stronger than you know and I am developing that strength. I do not give you anything you cannot handle. And I do not leave you alone just to flounder. You are not a victim. You are mine.
It’s hard to remember that sometimes. It’s hard to find contentment in God alone when life doesn’t turn out like we imagined. Actually, nothing highlights the areas of life you haven’t surrendered to God faster than this. You know, the areas that just maybe you’ve placed on a pedestal above God (read: idolized). Ouch. That realization is never fun, but it is so necessary.
The plans I have held in my death-grip might just need to be thwarted for a bit so I can learn what contentment, what true dependence and fulfillment in God alone looks like.
I could tie this up with a neat little bow using a statement about letting go and letting God work, finding contentment in whatever life brings…blah, blah.
But that wouldn’t be truthful. I will still struggle to trust God some days. I haven’t arrived yet, and never fully will this side of heaven. There will be some moments when I’ll want to throw in the towel and have my pity party.
But…I am not a victim. Life is a gift, a surprise, even if it doesn’t look like you pictured. I’m learning how to enjoy that. I am beginning to realize that it’s better that way. That I am better because I didn’t get what I wanted, when I wanted it.
The only thing that makes me a victim to my circumstances is acting like one. And I can choose, moment by moment, not to play into that mentality.
I am not a victim to my circumstances because God controls my circumstances.