As the year of 2016 comes to an end, I have been reflecting on all of the events that have happened during the last twelve months. I completed my student teaching, graduated college, and I recently got hired at a high school. All of these things I am thankful for, and by the grace of God (and a lot of coffee) I finally can say that I am a college graduate and a teacher. However, somehow, I must admit that none of this was adding up for me during the last few weeks.
When I graduated high school I had a four year plan. I would graduate within four years, write a book, and probably be married or close to getting there. I am here to say that none of the above happened. These were also the things that I chose to focus on the last several weeks. Yes, I graduated but it took me five years to get there. No I didn’t write a book ( I realize this now was not a realistic goal, because hello, college). Lastly, I am also as single as a dollar bill. I joke about this, but sometimes it’s hard when you watch your friends get engaged and married, and you begin to wonder if you will ever have that. So instead of focusing on the things that I had accomplished, I began to focus on everything that I wish would have happened.
Let me tell y’all, that this way of thinking is toxic. Instead of being thankful for what God had provided for me, I chose to have a pity party for myself. Isn’t it mind-blowing that when we have so much to be grateful for we still sometimes chose to focus on everything but that? We rob ourselves from joy and we sometimes even miss the bigger picture of it all.
I recently read “The Magnolia Story” written by Chip and Joanna Gaines from “Fixer Upper.” One thing that Joanna mentioned has really made an impact on me.
“I realized that my determination to make things perfect meant I was chasing an empty obsession all day long. Nothing was ever going to be perfect the way I had envisioned it in the past. Did I want to keep spending my energy on that effort, or did I want to step out of that obsession…. I chose the latter – and that made all the difference.”
This really caused me to think about the last five years with a new perspective. No, I may not have graduated “on time,” wrote a book, or gotten married, but I have gained something much greater than all of those things. I absolutely know that God does work all things together for my good.
One example of this is when I found out that I would be completing my student teaching at a high school. I had made up my mind that I wanted to be with the middle school, and maybe in 15 years I would be comfortable with teaching high school students. Much to my dismay, I ended up at a high school and I wondered how in the world I would ever survive (very dramatic times). My student teaching experience ended up being one of the most rewarding parts of my schooling, and I was able to learn so much from my students. The funny part is that this exact high school is the same school that hired me. If I hadn’t completed my student teaching at this school, I most likely wouldn’t even have this job. I don’t believe that things are just a coincidence, but I do believe that even though situations don’t always make sense to us, that God has a plan that will later be revealed.
I am not going to lie and say that I don’t still desire wanting to write a book or getting married, but my perspective is different now. When we are able to see and truly believe that God has a perfect plan for us, we don’t have to worry about “whens” or “ifs.” I want to live a life to where I am focusing on what I do have and what I can do with it. I don’t want to only focus on what I want or think I need, but how I can help with someone else’s needs with what I do have to offer. We have been given life, and that’s not something I want to waste.
Keep on pressing on friends and fighting the good fight. Focus on what God has given you, and how you can help others with it.
Love and prayers for all of you.
“Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created.” – Esther 4:14