As children, we often wonder what the future holds for us. We dream. We imagine. We hope. And for some people, those childhood dreams seem to come about effortlessly. But for most of us, as we struggle along we wonder why life hasn’t panned out exactly as we envisioned.
I was talking to someone recently who was struggling with this in one area of her life. It is hard to face disappointments and even harder to know that in some areas, you simply must submit your desires to God and trust He knows best. As humans, we want to do, to fix. We don’t like to be patient and speaking from a personal standpoint, I definitely have a hard time with trust. So asking me to be patient and simply trust is like asking me to make my anxiety disappear at will– it feels nearly impossible.
When I was in high school, I was convinced I would meet the love of my life and be married before I was twenty. When that didn’t happen, my vision started to change. I thought I was going to marry a significantly older man, possibly someone foreign and someone who was established (read: mature, fabulous job, possibly wealthy). Again, that didn’t seem to be happening. So I turned to an area of my life where I was getting praised and reassured: my career.
In college, my professors told me I was writing the best unit plans they had read in their long careers, that I had a wonderful rapport with my students, that I was going to make an amazing teacher and I’d have no trouble finding a great job. After three years of subbing, it felt like strike three.
Finally, I came home after an exhausting day of subbing and told my family, “I need a break!” Less than a half hour later, I received a text from a family friend offering me a job at the law firm she worked for. Seriously, God? After asking for all of these other dreams and plans, this was the one you heard? Had I just wasted all of that time and money on a masters degree? But ultimately, I was relieved. God knew my heart and mind were in desperate need of a respite, if only to rekindle my love of teaching.
After working at the law firm for about eight months, I was offered a job at a private school teaching full day academic pre-k. It wasn’t my dream job, but I didn’t care. I finally had my own classroom! It was not always an easy year, but I learned so much. And most importantly, I loved my students and fell in love with teaching again.
I worked at that school for one more year and surprisingly, in that year I met my dream man! No, he wasn’t foreign or 38 years old (he’s in fact younger than me), but God knew what really mattered and oh my goodness, I could not have asked for a better person to spend my life with!
Last year, I left that private school to work part time at a Christian preschool. There were many reasons I made this decision, which are personal and I have chosen not to go into here. I know God led me in this decision but it did not mean I had an easy, always happy and fulfilling year. And by December, I made the decision not to return the following school year. I felt God had something else for me. It was a year of restoring some of my foundational beliefs about teaching and I reflect on it often. But it was not where God wanted me the next year. So I applied for jobs like crazy. I interviewed and I was offered opportunities. But nothing felt right. And so it was that I found myself in the beginning of September filling out paperwork to once again become a substitute teacher. Which leads us to my post “Conquering Old Fears“, in which I detailed how I ended up back at the school I left two years ago.
There is much I don’t understand about the journey God has taken me on thus far. But I have to believe that God intends good for my life. He intends for me to live a life in which I can be truly happy.
I’ve only just begun to read “The Happiness Dare” but in it, author Jennifer Dukes Lee used a quote that struck me:
The single most important principle I ever discovered is this: the goal or purpose of the Christian is precisely the pursuit of happiness– in God. The reason for this is that there is no greater way to glorify God than to find in Him the happiness that my soul so desperately craves. – Sam Storms
I can continue to dream new dreams for my life and ask God to direct me in my journey. He is the author of beauty, of happiness, of life itself. When my journey gets messy, I can rest in the assurance that I am not alone and that even in the muck, there will be beauty along the way. It may take me climbing a muddy path to discover the brilliant colors of an autumn day, but it will be worth it.
I know I’ve posted a few videos lately, but right now, if I could recommend one album to you, it would be “Wake Up the Wonder” by Elevation Worship. I literally listen to it everyday on my way to work. This song is one that I encourage you to listen to when you are feeling discouraged along your journey.
This album will be my giveaway this month. In order to enter, please be sure you are following my blog. In addition, please comment on what encourages you along your journey.
Praying that you feel uplifted today; you are not alone!