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Have you ever run out of gas? Like the car actually rolls to a slow and dreadful stop and you just know it has let go of its last fumes? *Bonus points if this happens someplace you don’t want to be.
Well – it happened me this week. And I got the location bonus points. Don’t feel bad for me. It is completely my fault. I pushed it too close on my way in to work, stayed too long at work and decided I could make it home in time for dinner and then
go send my husband to go get gas later that night.
I didn’t make it.
You see, as I leave the office, there is a gas station right across the street. However, I was so intent on getting home that I passed up that gas station with the goal of finding one just a little bit closer to my house. I even tried to take a new route to bypass traffic and get me just a little bit further before I HAD to stop at a gas station. I got lost. And I ended up driving in a big circle and thankfully coasted in to the gas station right across the street from my office.
Right back where I started.
I feel like that is how my whole life is going right now. One big, dramatic, and stressful circle. Putting me right back where I was 2 or 3 years ago.
Has anyone else felt like that? It sucks doesn’t it? For me, it makes me feel like I have lost or foolishly squandered all that I have gained over the past few years. It makes me feel like I have to run really hard to try and catch up with all of my other friends before they move on to another life stage and I am left with all of the 22 year olds who just graduated college and share their emotions through relevant Drake lyrics. I feel like all of my friends have happy, healthy, stable, growing families and finances and I am having to start over again.
But am I really going backwards?
Yes, I would love to be starting a family like all of my friends seem to be.
Yes, I would love it if the super cushy emergency fund that we had put in place, could have become a really great travel or furniture (does that mean I have crossed over to the mature side?) fund.
Yes, I would love it if my career was advancing or I felt like I had found my calling.
Yes, all those things would be awesome, but these trials/road bumps are just a part of the journey that God has set for me.
If I hadn’t experienced losing a baby, I would not have known what to say when the same thing happened to a college roommate last month.
If my husband hadn’t lost his job, and the house hadn’t flooded and we didn’t have several large medical expenses, I wouldn’t be paying close attention to my money and would still be taking each paycheck for granted.
If I felt like I had already found my calling, well that would be really terrific, but I wouldn’t be trying out new things, like starting this blog.
And all of those things are good things.
So if you also feel like you are falling behind in the game of life, I challenge you to do these three things:
- Spend time evaluating where you are setting the bar of success in your life. For me (and I think for a lot of us) we set the bar of success based on the lives of our friends or even just our social media friends (FYI, they are not actually your friends). Your story is different from theirs. It’s not better or worse, and it does put you on different playing fields. Everyone is starting from a different point so you can’t compare their success to yours. So take a look at yourself and your family and set goals based on YOU.
- Do some self reflecting and determine where you can make changes to help you move forward again. Example: I want to restock our financial emergency fund. To do this, I had to look at all of the things I was spending money on. Upon doing that, it was clear that I, not my husband, was the one that was making silly spending decisions. Which was great because I was able to take action and make an impact on our monthly expenses. Boom. One step closer to a fatter emergency fund.
- Realize that you are actually not in control. This is BY FAR the hardest thing for me to do. Because of course I am in control, right? Wrong. God is in control, all the time, over everything. And that should be such a relief to us, but if we are honest most of the time it is not. We want to feel like we can fix everything and set our paths right, but we aren’t actually capable of doing anything apart from God. Everything that we think happens because we did something, actually just happened because God made it so or allowed it to be so. Find rest in the good news that you are loved and taken care of by God and He is in control of all of your provisions.
After thinking through those three things, I hope you feel a bit more resolved that your life isn’t derailing and that you don’t have to feel the pressure of putting things back together. And if you only come away with one thing after reading this, I hope you know that you are not the only one that feels like they aren’t where they want to be in their life. But no matter where you are in your life, God knew you would be here and He knows where you are going.