I stood from the window and watched a teen girl wobble about on her skateboard while her boyfriend taught her how to ride it. They looked so happy, the epitome of summer, eyes bright, not a care in the world. They were just enjoying life and suddenly, I felt a pang in my heart akin to grief, something I’ve been feeling more and more lately as I watch kids my age, some younger than me, grow up and race by me. Sometimes, I feel sad.
Chronic migraines make my life different from most, and to be honest, I haven’t hung out with a kid my age in–almost four years now. It never used to bother me before, but now as I approach my nineteenth birthday, it’s almost a milestone I never want to reach because it’s a reminder of what I’ve missed. Then, at the same time, there is a bit of anger at the fact that my illness has forced me to grow up and deal with things that other kids my age probably never have to think about.
I’m running forward, but some days it feels like I’m going nowhere, and I can’t seem to find my equilibrium. I see people racing ahead of me, touching things I can only hope to touch, and experiencing things I can only hope to experience, and I’m left feeling–hopeless.
Is this all there is for me? A constant battle between where I am and where I want to be?
Some people tell me, “No, Bekah! You aren’t falling behind, in fact, you are so far ahead.”
In their eyes, perhaps.
Yes, I have an agent, my book is out with publishers, I’m the co-host of a successful podcast, I’ve pulled myself together enough to touch stars that once used to be a distant dream, and maybe it is selfish, greedy even, for me to want more.
Maybe you feel the same way. Maybe you are also struggling to make sense of your life and wondering why others are leading more successful and blissful lives than you, and maybe, maybe you are in a slump or quiet season in your life that never seems to end and you feel like God has put you on a shelf and forgotten you amongst the other clay creations.
You are not alone, my friend, but there is always hope in God’s Word, and by sitting down with God and hashing this issue out with Him, He’s taught me several things that I would like to share with you today.
- You are not behind in life but rather in step with God.
“I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.” Ecclesiastes 9:11 (KJV)
If God is pacing my life a bit slower than my colleagues and friends, that’s okay, because if I were to rush ahead, I would be leaving Jesus behind. It’s not my responsibility or even my life purpose to be in step with others, because in taking my focus off of God and onto them, I make them my idol of sorts and become more and more tired as I try to live a life that God has not called me to live.
That being said, one can never really leave God behind because He can’t be left behind, but I can move out of step with Him by constantly comparing myself to others and by putting pressure on myself to be all that He has not created me to be.
- Jealousy cultivates misery
While others are hitting milestones, finding success, and living amazing life experiences–rejoice with them! Jealousy towards what they are achieving only makes me feel more discouraged so instead of focusing on myself and what I’m not doing, I turn to lifting my friends up and cheering them on like the proud older sister, friend, and confidant I am.
So, rejoice in their triumphs genuinely and know that their successes are not a reflection on you or your failure, for you haven’t failed because God has you right where He wants and needs you.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” – Romans 12:15 (NIV)
- Take heart
There will be days that you have done the things I’ve mentioned above–and you’ll still feel defeated. This is where you launch yourself fully into the arms of your Heavenly Father because it is only in Him where true peace and contentment can be found. You are more than your struggles, the curveballs that life has thrown you, the sickness in your body, the depression in your mind, and the anxiety in your nervous system, and the hurt festering in your heart.
No matter how stuck you feel, how frozen in time Satan has convinced your mind that you are, you still have something to say, something to give, joy to offer in the lives of others, and love to heal hearts hurting like yours. Show up with confidence in where God has placed you on the race track because this isn’t a race against you and your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, but rather, this is a race between you and Jesus only. Fix your eyes on the Author and Perfecter of your faith and stand strong where you’ve been planted because by doing so, you are sending a message to the enemy that you will not be limited by your struggles and that you will rise above–no matter what.
God hasn’t forgotten you, dear friend so don’t give up hope in Him because He will never give up on you. Cling tight to His promises, the truth found in His Word, and surround yourself with people who will support you through this time of stillness and lift you up when you fall.
Psalm 94:18-19, “I cried out, “I am slipping!” but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.”