A couple of years ago, I ran across my “Senior Memories” book from High School. I don’t know if graduating seniors get these anymore since everything is digital and in the cloud these days. But in my day it was a cool way to keep memoirs of our years as high school students. It was fun to see all of the pictures and messages from my classmates, some of whom I haven’t seen in years.
While looking through the pages, I came across the “Dreams and Goals” section, which asked to write down where I wanted to be in the next 10 years.
According to my 18 year old self, by the time I was 28, I would have a college degree from Florida A&M University (which I accomplished…Go Rattlers!), become a physical therapist (I became a therapist but of the mind, not of the body), married with twin boys (Nope!), a home on 20 acres (Nope and I’m more interested in downsizing at this point in my life), and I would be driving a Lexus Sports Coupe (there’s still time! Lol!)
Looking at those goals over 20 years later and the ones I achieved and had not achieved, I began to think of all of the “un” places in my life.
We all have “Un” places in our lives…
Unfulfilled desires, unachieved goals, unmet expectations...these are the things that bring us to our knees though not always to pray. But to lament, to cry, to scream, to curse, to become angry, depressed, anxious, and despondent. To make us quit, give up, or to behave in ways that make us stand in the place of God.
These things become idols in our lives. The disappointment becomes the focus of our attention. The discontent becomes the center of our conversation, the dissatisfaction becomes the object of our thoughts. God is only consulted in “Why” moments:
Why me God?
Why not me God?
Why now God?
Why not now God?
Why, why, why?
As much as we are admonished by the Bible, our pastor, daily devotions, Instagram, and Facebook posts to focus on God during these times, we are not always easily swayed.
Our discontent is tangible we can touch it, taste it, and smell it.
Proverbs 13:12a explains it this way “Hope deferred makes the heart sick…”
I had a friend once say that she felt that God was far away due to the myriad of disappointments and challenges she had faced. She felt as though God was behaving as some ethereal being in the sky who knew nothing of her life and was unaware of the unmet, unfulfilled, unattained places in her life. Believing that He had left her to drift alone to deal with the shards of her broken dreams.
But the truth is that God was at the core of all of those “Un” places – just waiting to be invited in.
There is nothing that goes on in our lives….including our thoughts, that God is not aware of. He is well acquainted with the goals we’ve set, the dreams we want to come to fruition and the desires we have. In fact, He allowed us to have those dreams and even gave us some of those desires.
When was the last time you examined your goals and dreams?
Did God give them to you? How do you know?
Did you spend consistent time in the Word to confirm it was truly from God?
Or was it something that you felt you deserved because everyone else had it?
I know I felt that way when it seemed like everyone I knew was getting married. I couldn’t say I was 100% sure that God said that I would get married, but why wouldn’t He? Surely, I deserved to be a wife just as much as those other people, right?
It made me think about King David’s desire to build a temple for God. It was a noble undertaking and he was quite sincere about it. Of all people, surely, David deserved to build God’s temple. And you would think God would agree and say “Oh, Thank you, David! Of course, I’d love that!“
Be He didn’t.
He told David that he would not build the temple but that his son, Solomon, would. God had different plans for David than what David had set for himself. Though he may have been disappointed, David still praised and glorified God for what He already done and would do in his life. (Read I Chronicles 17:1-15)
God’s perspective is not the same as ours.
His goals for us may be totally opposite from the goals we set for ourselves.
Being open to God’s will is what keeps us from drowning in disappointment.
If we focus on what we don’t have or what we didn’t get or why we didn’t get it, we miss out on the thing He DOES have for us. Whenever God says “No”, He is saying “Yes” to something else, we just have to submit to Him to find out what it is. He is just waiting to take precedence over our disappointments, discontent and dis-heartedness. Let Him in!
Have you been dealing with the disappointment of unfulfilled desires, unmet expectations, and unachieved goals? What do you believe God is saying to you in those places? I’d love to hear you thoughts…please leave them in the comments!