“My life looks nothing like I thought it would.” I hear this phrase often. Actually, I say it often, too. (Maybe that’s why I keep hearing it…) In any case, it’s given me a lot to think about lately. For instance, what exactly did I think my life would look like? And where did those expectations come from?
If I’m honest, I thought I’d marry my guy, work hard at jobs we loved, and have kids about three years in. I wanted three kiddos—all roughly two or three years apart—and a single family home that I could spruce up using my mad DIY skills.
Well, I did marry my guy—and I’m so grateful I did. But, pretty much nothing else has gone as planned. Don’t get me wrong. My life now is incredible. And I can see God’s abundant grace throughout it. But, it’s pretty darn different from what I imagined.
I think a lot of my expectations came from looking at the world around me. Those a little further down the road from me seemed to have certain things (kids, house, great jobs, etc.), so I assumed I would, too. Our culture certainly perpetuates that message. Work hard and you can have a great life.
Just look at what the media feeds us. From a young age, kids are told that if they dream it, they can do it. And it doesn’t stop there. As adults, we’re inundated with stories of dreams come true or of powerful individuals who took their future into their own hands and shaped their destiny.
And, with the fairly recent entrance of social media onto the scene, our view of those around us is getting warped even further. Everyone is putting their best self forward and watching as others do the same. Meanwhile, the standard for what’s “normal” keeps rising to artificial heights.
You took your kids to four playdates AND made them an organic, gluten-free meal? That’s nothing. I did all that AND wrote an organic, gluten-free cookbook.
You made Pinterest-worthy banners for your friend’s bridal shower? Ha. Every event in my life is Pinterest-worthy—down to the hand-lettered notes I place in each of my kid’s lunch boxes.
You might be rolling your eyes by now, but the truth is, we do this. We buy into the idea that our life should look a certain way because someone else’s does. Here’s the reality: their life doesn’t really look like that. I promise. And the more we compare, the more we rob ourselves of joy.
There will ALWAYS be someone who has your dream. Maybe it’s that gal who gets pregnant just by thinking about it. Or that guy who has a killer job that pays well and fulfills his passion. Or that person who never gets sick. Or that family that looks so stinkin’ functional and happy.
When you’re sitting there holding only the pieces of your shattered dream, it’s easy to become resentful. It’s easy to become bitter and angry. After all, don’t you deserve those things?
The truth? No. You don’t. You, me, every single one of us deserves one thing—to pay the natural consequences for our sins. You see, we’ve all fallen short of God’s standard. And that voice that says, “Those are my dreams. I deserve to have those things.” It’s straight-up selfishness and pride. Somehow we’ve convinced ourselves that we’re entitled.
Here’s the good news: Even though we don’t deserve any good things, our great God has given us the BEST thing—salvation through His Son. What’s more, He restores those things that are broken in our lives, because He is a God of redemption.
Will you trust Him with me—trust that He will fill your life with His love and joy no matter what dreams or plans may have fallen apart?
Oh, and here’s my challenge for you this week: Think about what you’re posting to social media and why. Our attempts to make life seem rosy and great can actually make it harder for those who are broken and hurting. Share something real this week using #planbeautifulchallenge. We get to live in authentic community only when those walls come down.