I was talking to a friend recently about unexpected changes in life. I said, “Ten years ago I would never have envisioned myself being here, not even close.” You might find yourself in a position that has you feeling lost, or useless, or so far behind you’re certain you’ll never catch up or get to the point you believe you should be. It could be financially, spiritually, relationally, geographically, or occupationally. Whatever it may be, you find that life has thrown you a curve ball in one or all these areas of your life. Sometimes I like to throw myself a pity party because my life hasn’t turned out the way I expected, but in those times I try to remember some things that help me maintain hope:
- God is in control. Solomon tells us in Proverbs 16:9, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (ESV).
- This world is not my home. No matter what happens to me here, this life is just a drop in the bucket compared to eternity. All trials and heartaches will end when I see Jesus.
- God wants to use me where I am. God doesn’t need me in another state before I can be useful. He doesn’t need me to meet my financial or career goals before I become useful to him. I’m often so certain that if I just get “all my ducks in a row” God will be able to use me. The wonderful truth is that my usefulness to him isn’t dependent on my perception of success. When I embrace that lie is when I become useless to God. Paul reminds us of this truth in 1 Corinthians 1:26-31,
For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
- I should be content wherever I am. Contentment might be one of my greatest battles. When I abandon my eternal perspective I begin to see the things of this life as what is most important. I begin to compare myself with others and view my “failed life” through the lens of my perception of success. The broken dreams and failed plans seem too overwhelming to handle. But when I keep my eternal perspective, I’m able to live with all the unexpected setbacks in life and find contentment where I am.
Don’t be discouraged if you’re not where you want to be. Remember to keep the eternal perspective -God is in control, he wants to use you where you are, and this world is not your home -and you will be able to find contentment in any situation. God bless you in your journey of growth.