For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a plan. I’ve had goals and dreams and an unshakeable–mostly–determination to see my plans through. I’ve always sought God and his will for my life, and I am quite fixed on doing the “right thing.”
I would say if I had to describe the biggest need in my life it would be to feel useful. If I’m needed and useful and necessary, I’m good. But what happens when you no longer feel needed or you lose sight of who really needs you?
Lately, a curtain has been drawn in the play of my life and the theater has gone black and it feels as though the Director has disappeared. My five year plan–gone. My inner timeline I never told anyone about–completely gone. The way I thought my life would be going? Mmmm, so different than my best laid plans?
Ever look at your life and think–this wasn’t how I envisioned it?? It’s not that it’s bad! I am truly blessed. I have a stable job, two babysitting jobs I adore, a group of friends that challenges and encourages me…it’s all really good. But it’s not what I planned. I thought I would be “further ahead” by now. What is it with this spirit of comparison? How does one person find themselves further ahead than another? Are we all not on completely different journeys with beautifully unique timelines? Why am I feeling so off kilter?
GK Chesterson said it best when he said “Comparison is the thief of all joy.” I can beat myself up for not being where I want, but at the root it’s simply comparison, which is full of envy…
If any of you reading my little blog are at a crossroads in life and you feel anxious and you’re wondering what God could possibly have in store because your plans are just not happening, then here is my encouragement.
Maybe you’re like me and you have a case of the Martha’s. I love Martha in the Bible, and the more I study her, the more I love her and want to name my daughter Martha. I think our Friend Martha gets a bad rap. I’ve always felt bad for her because it seemed to me that Mary made Martha look bad. Martha was in the kitchen like any good woman 😉 and she was doing a good thing. I imagine she wasn’t consciously building herself up, but as she scrubbed the table and made sure the bread was cooking, I bet she was thinking, “Mary should really be in here. They’re all having a great time in there. I bet no one even remembers I’m in here. I bet even Jesus doesn’t remember. I don’t think I’m all that, but it would be nice to get a little recognition every once in a while. I’m not trying to be a diva, I just want to be noticed.”
Maybe I’ve over-psyvho-analyzed Martha, but often I start out comparing myself to people, and the next thing you know I’m judging them against some invisible standard, and before I know it I’m back thinking about myself.
Meanwhile, I’m missing time with Jesus.
Serving isn’t bad. Having a plan isn’t bad. Being organized and goal oriented isn’t bad. But when I put all that above the most important thing, I truly lose out.
I can pretend my truest need is to be useful, but I think my truest need is actually to be wanted. Because when we reach a point when we are at the baby shower and we can’t get pregnant or we are at the wedding and we want to be married, or we are scrolling through Facebook and we feel alone…we may be envious of other people and we may lash out and say things like “they’re so young to be getting married” or “why are they always posting pictures of their 9 month old.” But underneath alllllll that, I propose we are doubting God’s goodness toward us and wondering if He truly wants and loves us.
I heard a lady say yesterday–“I didn’t doubt that God was good. I could read the Bible and see that. I just doubted that He would be good to me.” My goodness. Cut through me like a knife.
Maybe Martha wasn’t angry with Mary for not helping in the kitchen. Maybe she didn’t think Jesus really wanted to spend time with her.
Maybe it’s not that you hate weddings. Maybe you doubt that God will ever bring your man.
Maybe it’s not that I’m so upset that my life isn’t going how I planned….maybe I’m thinking God forgot about my dreams and that He’s holding out on me.
I want to cry as I write this, because how could we ever doubt the one who loves us so fervently and faithfully. His plans for us are good. He constantly loves us. In dark, uncertain times, He is drawing us into deeper communion and intimacy with him. We are not ahead or behind or worse yet, forgotten. He just wants us to stop trying to be god and be still. Sit at his feet. Choose the better thing. Trust. Remind yourself that God has not ever forgotten you and before you were born, He wrote dreams on your paper heart, and in his perfect timing, they will be fulfilled. I can almost guarantee it will not be how or when you envisioned it. It will be better, because that’s how He rolls. He’s a good father.
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary,who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future