On April 24th it dawned on me—I was already halfway through my 25th year.
Time slips by all too lightning fast.
I felt the ache of wishing my life were different, the pressure to “catch up” with cultural expectations of where everyone my age should typically be.
Where was I really?
No boyfriend or husband. No college degree. No babies.
Yet, I have traces of those things.
I’m currently using a Christian dating app with cautious wisdom and input from godly adults in my life.
I’m working on my Associate in Arts at my community college with the objective of eventually transferring to get my Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling—a sticker that says, “future counselor” in cursive is stuck to my laptop as an inspiring reminder of my goal.
I also regularly advocate for the imprisoned children of Uganda through heading up a project sharing the news of Jesus’ love declared in cards with well wishes from the makers as well as Rainbow Loom bracelets. I take every opportunity to share updates and needs.
Growing Where We’re Planted
Late one night, I listened to a SHE Podcast episode by Jordan Lee Dooley.
Her words evoked from me a sweet sigh of relief as I realized life doesn’t have to go according to any particular “plan”, instead we should cultivate what we are given—slowly.
This part had me scrambling to pull up “Notes” on my phone to capture and save: “You can only grow where you are planted not where you think you should be.”
What I gather from that statement is this: For all the wishing we have for a life other than the one we’ve been gifted growth simply won’t happen. If we’re given sunflower seeds, we can’t expect blooms from iris bulbs.You can only grow where you are planted not where you think you should be. For all the wishing we have for a life other than the one we’ve been gifted, growth simply won’t happen. Click To Tweet
Some plants require high energy and sunlight, some need shade, some need both, and as Jordan mentions, some plants need more tending yet don’t yield all you expect them to! Yet other times, vegetation can surprise you and thrive without good soil and attention like her cucumber plant which grew in rocky ground from a randomly tossed seed.
It’s time to cultivate nothing less than the exact life God has created us for.
There is this example, this cycle, in Creation of hard ground, tillage, seeds, watering, growing, weeding, harvesting, dying, and decomposing, then it starts all over again. When we’re seemingly “stuck” on one of the more visibly inactive stages, it can be disheartening. The growth and harvest are obviously more exciting yet most of the steps aren’t pretty.
But slow growth could actually be interpreted as God’s very best gift, one far better than we ever dared imagine.The blessings God gives us must not be tossed aside with a spirit of ingratitude just because they aren’t the exact replica of the present we desired most. Click To Tweet
The blessings God gives us must not be tossed aside with a spirit of ingratitude just because they aren’t the exact replica of the present we desired most.
So, as we hope on this journey, perhaps our thinking can shift and change for the better. Maybe we can grasp all the loveliness right at our fingertips if we only unclasp our hands gripping our ideal life in exchange for welcoming the abundant life Jesus came to bestow.
How To Handle Deep Longings Biblically
There’s nothing wrong with dreaming, by the way! I want to emphasize that. You can dream and pray and surrender the ache in your soul for that thing you’re passionate about or the door you wish would open. The pins you saved for “someday” on Pinterest. The desire for motherhood that hits deep within your heart as you watch a mom do her thing, cuddling a sweet newborn on Instagram stories. Or maybe that cute selfie of a couple or picture of an engagement ring on Facebook that makes you keenly aware of your bare left hand. You fill in the blank of which scenario impresses longing in the walls of your being.
The importance in all of this is to exchange dreams for prayers that both acknowledge them and in turn surrender them to Jesus. Either way, then, you’re covered.
Often, I’ll be doing okay but run into something on social media that tears open my unmet hopes all over again.There is grace for every feeling that surfaces as we bring it to the loving Shepherd and Overseer of our soul who offers us merciful compassion each and every time, each and every day. Click To Tweet
The act of surrender, and effort not to compare, may need to take place ten or more times a day. Don’t be discouraged if that happens! There is grace for every feeling that surfaces as we bring it to the loving Shepherd and Overseer of our soul who offers us merciful compassion each and every time, each and every day (1 Peter 2:25; Lamentations 3:22-23).
One thing to guard against would be the urge to complain or wallow in self-pity and disappointment at what we deem our “plight”. I’m guilty of this. But Jesus can help with that too—we only have to confess it to Him with a heart of honesty and a plea for help (1 John 1:9).
If circumstances seem like a thorny scraggle of a mess, rest assured, “For everything there is a season…” and Christ “….has made everything beautiful in its time…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1a;11).
There is nothing more comforting than the truth that all will be made right. We aren’t cheated out of good things in our life. We are given the best Gift ever possible in this life and for eternity through Salvation in Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Romans 8:32, “He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?”
All things. What a promise! We are safe—and have an abundance of spiritual wealth—which should be enough to spark such joy in our journey with Him (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). We have been given everything we need to embody true contentment as well as to have genuine fulfillment.
As we tend the garden of our lives, let’s let our souls rest just a little bit more each day in the blessings and good gifts from our Savior as He helps us thrive and grow.
How do you handle deep longing? What verses have proven a comfort to you during the season you are currently living in?