We all fantasize about things and for me I fantasized about turning 30. Many dread this milestone birthday but not me, I looked forward to it and welcomed it with open arms. To me, 30 was the new 20. I had this idea that 30 was the best age to be because at that time I would be done having children (3 to be exact), I’d have my pre-baby body back (or at least working towards it), we’d be settling into our “forever” house, and we’d be financially secure and thriving (aka we’d have a Disney Timeshare, healthy college funds for my little men and a new mini van). Basically all of our major life decisions and life changes would be finished and a thing of the past. I’d finally be able to just ‘be’ and enjoy all that life had to offer.
But what I didn’t realize at the time was that I was setting myself up to be greatly disappointed. Not only, were many of the hopes, dreams and fantasies of life at 30 not exactly a reality (no Disney Timeshare…yet) but in many ways my 30th year was one of my most challenging years thus far. Don’t get me wrong, there were many blessings this year and many things that were right on track with my dreams for where I wanted to be in life when turning 30…
- College funds were opened for my little men
- We had 2 of our desired 3 children – true blessings
- We had just moved into our “forever” house
But despite all of the blessings that I had been given, I allowed myself to wallow in the disappointment of the dreams that hadn’t been fulfilled. The baby that I deeply longed for that despite our trying wasn’t here or on the way, the food allergies that hadn’t been outgrown, the jeans that were getting tighter with each bite of food that I ate, etc. This state-of-mind made every challenge going forward more difficult and a bear to tackle. I felt as though I was not just running a marathon, but I was sprinting a marathon with no finish line in sight. I was always tired and out-of-breath. I kept questioning the, “Why, God?” and the, “When will I be out of this valley?” I felt as though I had been in the valley for so long that I began to wonder if I’d ever come up for air and to feel the warmth of the sun hitting my face.
Now that I’m at the ripe, old, wise age of 31 I’m finally gaining some perspective. Honestly, I’m embarrassed to say that it’s taken 365+ days to get to this place. However, sometimes the work that God is doing can’t be done overnight or even in 6 months. Sometimes, God needs to break us down to the point where our ONLY answer is God and we learn to lean on Him because He is enough.
I didn’t realize just how much I was relying on my own abilities, strengths and understanding until none of it made sense. Anyone who knows me well knows the I’m a type-A, likes to be in control, has my entire day planned out in checklists kind of girl. Do you know what my 30th year was filled with? Lots of inexplainable things that I couldn’t control, couldn’t plan for and straight up couldn’t solve with a checklist. I spent most of my 30th year filled with fear of the unknown. And with as awful as it was, I wouldn’t have changed one thing about it. Why? Because I wouldn’t be where I am today without those valley experiences.
God taught me three things…
- Dreams and fantasies are good, but they can’t take the place of God in our lives and that’s exactly what I’d allowed to happen. I made my dreams and fantasies of where I wanted to be at 30 an idol that stood in the way of my relationship with God. God doesn’t want us to stop dreaming – quite the opposite. He wants us to DREAM BIG WITH HIM. He wants us to invite Him into our dreams so that He may show us how, with His help, they can become an even greater reality.
- The mind is a powerful thing. Our state of mind affects us more than we realize. I’m not saying that if we are always optimistic and have positive thoughts that everything will be hunky dory. But looking back over the past year, I’ve realized that I added a lot of unnecessary pain to my days because I was dwelling on the have-not’s instead of the have’s and could-be’s.
- I need to live in the here and now. I spent the last year constantly wishing away the days knowing that eventually things had to get better. I missed out on so many moments with my family because I wasn’t fully present. Despite my Wonder Woman efforts, I can’t control everything. I need to let go of the what-if’s and have-nots. I need to give those to God and let Him be in control, so I can be more available to my little men. Because ultimately, God is going to work everything out in His time anyways despite what I try to do to control it. Because Why? – Because God’s in control. During the last 4 months I’ve been reading a book written by Rachel Macy Stafford called, “Hands Free Mama: A Guide To Putting Down The Phone, Burning The To-Do List, And Letting Go Of Perfection To Grasp What Really Matters!” Rachel taught me the importance of being fully present and what I’m truly losing when I’m not. I can’t recommend this book enough! Life changing – Read it!
I made some new resolutions when I turned 31 and I’m determined that this year will be my best year, yet!
What about you? Have you allowed the disappointment of unfulfilled dreams or life’s unexpected twists and turns to prevent you from fully living in the now? Are you focusing on the negative and missing out on all of the small ways that God blesses you each day? I’ve been there and it’s a black hole. God promises to bless us, but it’s not always in the way that we hope or expect. I encourage you to take each negative thought captive to God and focus on the positive things in your day. Eventually your entire being will change from the inside out.
From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another.
My good and incredibly wise friend, Kelly, shared this song, “God Day,” with me and it’s become part of my morning routine. Starting my day with God in control makes for a much better day and a much better me!
Praying that every day going forward will be a ‘God Day’ for you!