When you aren’t where you thought you would be.

Complete honesty? I have really struggled with the concept of where I currently am. And this includes everything: my career, my body, my health, my finances, and even my blog.

I have these goals that I LOVE to set, and in my head, I’m like “I am so going to accomplish this.” I have this mentality that whatever I put my mind too will always work out. If I try hard enough and work long enough I will always be successful.

Yeah…I kind of laughed too when I wrote that.

But, the problem isn’t that I’m not competent enough or not working hard enough or working long enough. The problem is that I’m chasing after something that I was never meant to chase after. It’s not my “now calling.”

woman in white elbow-sleeved shirt standing near white train in subway

Just recently I started to figure this out. You’d think I would have sorted this already after following Jesus for like 9 years! (almost double digits!! I could cryyyyy).

Back to the point.

I have been chasing after things that were meant for me in a previous season, and not meant to follow me into my new season.

Let me explain. When I start something I am fully committed. I rarely ever let it go unless I am forced to. Which means my responsibilities pile on top of each other.

I don’t like to let anyone down.

But, let’s be serious. If I really take a deep look at the “why I don’t let go” then my honest answer would be to meet the expectations of those whose opinions matter to me.

Go ahead…shake your head and sigh. I did too when I got to the core of it all. I get it.

And you want to know what made me breathe a sigh of relief? To understand that it’s okay that I am not where I thought I would be?

An open and honest conversation with my fiance.

flat lay photography of man and woman holding hands together

Here is the story. I labeled myself as the breadwinner of our family. I was going to be the main provider, with health insurance, good benefits, and be an amazing wife who could love and care for our children (which I don’t have yet).

So, a long time ago (like 2 years into dating – we are now going on year 9) I thought “okay, I need to get this life-thing right, make no mistakes, and get this adult thing down now so I am better prepared for when I become a grown woman who supports her family. Like I said, I make commitments, and that includes my relationships. (TBH – Bruce is the best decision I have EVER made).

So, I set goals. I said to myself:

  1. My credit score is going to be excellent before I am 23.
  2. I am going to have a dedicated budget that manages all my finances before I graduate undergrad so I can manage our budget.
  3. I am going to get my master’s so I can make more money so I can support our family.
  4. I am going to be debt free before I get married so I don’t burden our cash flow.
  5. I am going to pray every single day because that’s what a good wife would do.
  6. I am going to get super fit so I can be healthy so I can be an example for my kids of how we should care for our bodies (kids that I still don’t have).
  7. I am going to start my/our retirement fund so we can retire early without feeling like we can’t.

And the list can literally go on for hours.

In some places of that list, I am preparing so far into the future that I am rushing the present. I can’t even enjoy my smallest wins today because I’m stuck in the thought pattern of “I’m not where I thought I would be. “

I’m being too harsh to MYSELF. Like, for real?! I suck at congratulating myself because nothing is ever enough. I always try to find faults so I can say “I could have done better.”

So, I had a panic attack. My instinct? I have to call Bruce. I told Bruce (my fiance, if you didn’t catch it) how I was feeling. I told him, “I felt like I was a failure. I really wanted to quit school because I was tired, I wanted to quit my job and do something else because I wasn’t completely happy, I wasn’t giving enough to my eTeam and my eGroup because I’m so wrapped up with work and school, and would rather do church instead of work and school, etc. etc.” And, he asked me why I was feeling that way. I was honest.

Because I need to support us. I can’t drop these things or do something else because I have to support our family.

I had set the expectation, without actually talking to Bruce about it, that I was going to provide us with this comfortable lifestyle that successful adults have because it’s my responsibility to provide.

And all he had to tell me was this, paraphrased here, “yeah, you make a lot more than me, but I don’t care what you make. You don’t have to make that much. Even if you were working at a coffee shop with me I would be happy because I’m spending my life with you; not that you’re making enough for us both. We do this together.”

I know it sounds simple, but his words struck a chord in me. I think God purposely put him in my life at a young age because God knows me very very very well. That I would do this. At this point in my life.

The thing is, there is no goal in life that I should be striving to achieve. For the record, goals are GOOD. I am not saying “ditch the goals.” I’m saying, there is no goal in life that I should be striving for in order to gain the approval of even the most important people in my life. Plus, marriage is an “us” thing – not an “I thing.”

woman making face while holding her brown hair

So…my calling?

Not to set expectations on myself for the approval of someone else, even if they didn’t know I was seeking their approval. Sometimes, we don’t know until we are honest about it and have open conversations.

What season am I in?

Well, in my previous season, I was meant to do really well in school. That was my focus that God asked me to do. It was a blessing from him that I needed to manage. In this season? It’s no longer my focus. I’m in school, yes, but I can’t expect myself to perform at the same level this season as my last season when I have other focuses in my “now calling” like my eGroup and my eTeam at church. Does that mean I flunk school? Nope.

It just means that I do my best, and don’t kill myself striving for a goal (like an A) that I can’t keep up with. I need to focus on my “now calling” (or better yet, responsibilities that God has asked me to manage).

For me:

  1. Getting married. We have a wedding to plan and pay for. That is my current focus.
  2. Caring for my eGroup. We are now multiplying into two teams. It’s time to focus on that growth.
  3. Caring for my eTeam. We are a team full of teenagers. They are like my kids, and they deserve my attention.
  4. Finish the Masters. Not BE THE BEST, just finish the race.

And in all of that, I needed to let go of responsibilities that I shouldn’t carry into this season or put on my plate that’s meant for a later season like “trying to get debt free” or “planning for retirement.” Those things will come, or come again, but for now, I need to balance and focus what I’m supposed to manage today.

woman holding mirror

I can only carry a certain amount of weight. If I try to do it all I WILL fail and then really put on the “I am NOT where I’m supposed to be” pout.

The fact is, I AM where I am supposed to be because I am still chasing after Jesus.

In the cheesiest way possible – it’s God’s perfect timing. Not mine.

As women, we really need to learn when to give ourselves a break, celebrate where we are today, and love ourselves for where God put us and where he is taking us. Understand that where I am at today is okay, and the dream I have for the future will come to pass as long as I have my trust and motivation in the right place.

Celebrate TODAY so I don’t miss the present chasing the future.

Sure, I want a new job. I will look when the wedding is over. I don’t need that added pressure. I have been rushing the wedding process that I prayed for because I’m looking for the promise AFTER the wedding. But, what about the promise of GETTING MARRIED. I’m missing it. I need to love where I am or I’m going to MISS the blessing IN FRONT OF ME.

Sure, I want to quit school. That ends this April. I can’t rush to the celebration because I’m tired of waiting or working. The reward of our labor comes in due time.

Remember this in Proverbs 16:9 “In his heart, a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”

Love,

Jennie Laureen

Photo by Zohre Nemati on Unsplash

Photo by Alvin Mahmudov on Unsplash

Photo by Eutah Mizushima on Unsplash

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

Photo by Hean Prinsloo on Unsplash

Photo by Mathieu Stern on Unsplash

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