For years of our lives, we are waiting. We dream of that shimmering white dress that we’ll wear as we lilt down the aisle towards the one we love. We dream of a cute house complete with shutters, DIY project successes, and a wrap around porch. We dream of traveling the world, making a huge difference, having the cutest babies and dressing them in the cutest clothes, going to a prestigious university and majoring in something cool, knocking one goal off of our bucket list at a time. Constant pinnacles of living life as is ideal.
I remember being a little girl and already longing for this magical day to arrive where a switch was flipped in my life, and all of the sudden it met up to my expectations. It would be “the day my life would start.” All of the sudden, I’d have an intense, burning passion to make the Lord known, and I would be audacious. Instead of doing the seemingly pointless tasks of day-to-day life, I’d be doing “important things.” I’d be so bold as to travel around the world telling anyone and everyone about Jesus, and I’d have the money to do so. Life would be picturesque; I’d constantly be feeling it. I’d be married to the perfect guy. I’d have the perfect family. Yeah, all I was waiting for was the magical day this was all to begin.
Days and weeks of longing turned into years, and I began to wonder how long this day was really going to take to come to fruition. I also started to wonder if it really existed.
I’m in college now. Yes, life got a little more action packed (okay well, maybe a lot), but I also realized something. Life was never going to meet up to the idealistic, tidy, pretty picture in my mind. Life is messy. Life looks a lot like days of being completely stressed out, days of feeling insignificant, and days where you have no clue what the next step is or why you are in the place in life you are. Life looks like staring at stacks of paper and not getting out of your dorm room for what seems like years. Life looks like unexpected situations messing up your plans. Life looks like people that you love leaving. Life looks like disappointing friendships, and it also looks like things not happening in the systematic, timely manner you always expected.
But that’s okay. The Lord has a plan that is so overwhelmingly better than any our creative and overly-analytical minds can conjure up. He loves us so much that He chooses to take those expectations we have, and trash them. He is THE designer, THE creative, and He sees life for what it truly is and was meant to be. Maybe my life won’t be what I expected. Maybe there will be more trials, maybe I won’t live in a cute house with shutters, maybe pursuing the Lord won’t be this easy, natural thing. It is all worth it though, because living a life in pursuit of Christ is immeasurably more satisfying, more adventurous, and more rewarding than any relationship, any amount of money, or any career plan.
Philippians 3:8 says, “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.” He is worth it. Worth the criticism. Worth the sacrifices. Worth the loss of control.
The truth is, my life started sometime in the summer when I was about seven years old, on my knees in the floor of my parent’s room. That is where I met Jesus, the one who would make every struggle, every changed plan, every breath of life worth it. He anchors me, he gives me passion, and He promises so much more than I could hope to experience here in the life to come.
Maybe life seems mundane right now. Maybe you feel like you are not doing anything significant. I’ve been there before, and it honestly takes daily waging war against that mindset. It takes immersing yourself in the truth of the Lord’s promises.
Pursue the Lord. Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek Me (God) and find Me when you seek Me with all of your heart.” Instead of just reading the verse of the day and saying a quick prayer, which I know is tempting when you live a fast-paced lifestyle, truly chase Him with everything you have. Your job, your friends, your hobbies. Fall deeper in love with being in His presence through the discipline of making it a routine. Then every other aspect of your life will fall into place. Maybe not the way that your 8-year-old little girl imagination expected it to happen, but it will be better. He likes to defy our expectations, so get ready for an adventure. It’ll be unique; it won’t look like your best friend’s story or the stories you see in the movies. It probably won’t be easy, and it definitely, at times, will make absolutely no sense. You’ll ask questions, you’ll be confused, but don’t forget the God that was faithful enough to send His own Son to the cross to relentlessly chase after our hearts. He is able to make the pieces of your life fall together in a more beautiful way than any expectation could dictate.
Just like the day my life started, your life started the day you fell in love with Jesus. Let everything we do grow out of the love He showed us, whether it be going on a mission trip or studying for our midterm exams.
“Now to Him who is able to do infinitely more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen” Ephesians 3:20-21
“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21
The minute I thought I had the concepts written in this post down, I quickly, quickly realized I did not. I often write from a place that the Lord has been working on in my life, and working implies that He’s not finished there yet. My life is not together. The Lord has been using this, though, to do a major work in my heart, and I pray that He’ll do that work in your heart as well.
words by Savannah Cooper and photo by Ivy Hansen