HELLO DEAR FRIENDS!
The highway is not always the best way. When you go to use your GPS you usually are given three different options. One of those options is usually deemed the fastest route. This is something many travelers lean towards on their journey. What is the route that will get me to my destination the quickest? Another thing many often consider is how easy of a road will I be traveling. Is it steep or curvy? Is it well maintained and easily accessible. When all things considered many often follow the same path as everyone else with only slight variation. Many of us live our lives like this. We try to follow the paths of others and what we assume to be the common people. While this can often get us to a destination it also may leave stuff out along the way.
In my life, I have strived to follow the path of everyone else! However, I have begun to learn that the path of everyone else has not lined up with my life thus far. It doesn't look like it will in the future and I am having to learn to be okay with that. I am having to learn that being different is okay. It is actually how I am wired. Goodness, I wish I understood that in high school! It took me 20 years for it to even start to click. The Abbey you would have met just five years ago did not know who she was or what she wanted to do. If I am honest she still does not know. Five years ago she spent her days worrying whether or not she was pleasing those around her. Even more than her worry about pleasing others, she felt an unbearable desire to have it all together.
In school, she had to have the best grades and take the hardest classes. She had to have big dreams and something to show people she was working towards them. It was her goal to make something out of herself. She thought she had to go to a great university and have an exciting career.
As the topic of college began to appear she considered everything. For a time, she wanted to become a lawyer. Other times she wanted to be a doctor or a business owner. She had to be something that people would see and say "wow, she has been successful". It had to be challenging and this was a detrimental mindset that ultimately caused damage to her confidence.
After looking at what felt to be hundreds of schools online she knew that the normal university was not for her. She needed a smaller environment if she was going to thrive. This was a huge decision for her because it felt like she was moving away from the standard for her place in life. The school she was going to was small and quiet. It was not going to have big classes and thousands of opportunities. But she did it and she was so thankful that she did.
The fall semester rolled on by and she felt at home. With people that surrounded her with love and encouragement, she felt like here she could thrive. The place felt right but the degree did not. She had entered the business program at her school as she thought just maybe this would satisfy her need for success. She was wrong, she loved some of it but just did not feel like it was getting her where she wanted to be. The time in school had brought great spiritual growth and so when evaluating future options faith began to play a large factor.
The mindset she created in high school still lingered, but it evolved over time. As it became clear that pursuing career success wasn't right she moved to the idea of pursuing a kind of spiritual success. This came with a decision to change her major; something she NEVER thought she would do. To add to it she decided to change schools as well. In her eyes, this was just like admitting she messed up and that she was wrong but it was easy to justify because it placed her in a religious degree and a religious school. So it had to be the best move, right? It took a great deal of strength but she took the leap. With this leap, she quickly realized she landed on shaky ground. This was not what she thought it was going to be.
The next few months were long and felt like they would never end. She spent many days wrestling with questions of why she felt like she did and what was the cause. This was something she thought would bring so much satisfaction and fulfillment. It brought the opposite by creating a restlessness unlike any other she had known, and emptiness she could not wrap her mind around. She was so sure she had been right. It is when you find the place of cluelessness and defeat that you are able to find answers.
When you realize you may not be the source of answers you have two options. You can either keep fighting it or you can humbly seek out those answers elsewhere. For me, I had to realize that while I was doing things that could make me appear successful or spiritual not that would actually fulfill me. Fulfillment only comes from the Lord and from following His plan.
It is easy to fall into the overwhelming idea of “God’s Plan”. If we are honest many of us try to make God's plan fit our plans or ideas of success. This can be exhausting as it results in us never giving up our own motives and desires. Each one of us has been given talents and passions for things. Instead of seeking out how you and God can make something successful with your life, focus on how you can best you the gifts that God has already given you to glorify Him. Do not worry about what that looks like to everyone else. Do not worry about if it will bring you money or recognition. Simply let your only concern be, “is what I am doing now using the gifts God has given me to glorify Him?” If you let this be your mindset you will see an amazing change.
For me to take upon myself this kind of mindset meant walking away from another me-centered success-driven venture. It meant that I would have to lay down this idea of being outstanding in the eyes of others and only worry about being something that brings Christ’s name glory in the eyes of God. It meant looking at my life and asking myself “what are the gifts and passions that God has given me?” I found that I had many things that I love and that brings me joy but I had packed them away and let them drift into the background.
I was stuck in the cycle of desiring things I held passion for and then pushing them away because they were not things that fit my definition of success. I pushed them away by making myself busy with things that did not bring me joy. I pushed them away because I felt like they were not good enough. In reality, it wasn’t that these things were bad or lacking. It was that I held on to an unhealthy desire for control and recognition. I thought the picture of success I had formed was the key to my happiness.
One of the most beautiful things I have learned about God is that he does not look for you to be successful and accomplished. He looks at your heart and your faithfulness to Him. You have been created to be unique and with that comes a special set of talents and passions. These are enough! You do not have to be something or achieve something you were not created for. You don't have to make it that complicated. Now don't get me wrong there are times that God asks us to step out and do things we are not exactly comfortable with or prepared for. But in those times we still must follow the simple idea of letting all we do be for the glory of God. He will give what is needed; we just must seek to bring glory to Him.
I know I am guilty of overcomplicating God’s plan. Sometimes all we need is to strip it down to the basics of what God has already done and what he has already given. I do not know what He has for tomorrow but I can glorify Him today.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight. Don’t be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. This will be healing for your body and strengthening for your bones. Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the first produce of your entire harvest - Proverbs 3:5-9
The road you take may not be the quickest, or the most traveled but it will be the one that was made for you. This alternate route will have challenging climbs but also some unique views. I am ready for this adventure! How about you?
Sincerely With Love,