Some things I have learned along the way...
As I approach turning 30 next month, I have been realizing many things in my life. And I would love to share this with you because I know many of you feel the same way...and don't talk about it. And if you have never felt an ounce of jealousy, bless your heart.
I have been known in the past to, in secret, be aggravated when people succeed and question all the time, "why not me???"
I have identified with struggles more than successes.
Looking back on things, I could tell you that is because things were often rough for me as a child. I did not identify with success in Gods eyes, but in the eyes of the world. As a child, the foundation is set for the way you look at the world and with my parents horrible divorce and all that goes along with that, I did not identify with anything. I expected challenges, I became used to the bad. I grew up looking for validation in anything or anyone who would give it to me. Needless to say, I sought it out but never found it. Looking back on my childhood, even though things were hard for me, I am now grateful because it is part of my story.
I did not go to college. I hated school so much that I graduated a whole year early so I could get out. I had many jobs as a teenager. I worked for my dad at his hair salons, I was a weight loss consultant for Jenny Craig, I worked in sales at a gym...I was a waitress at many bars and restaurants. And five years ago I opened my own weight loss consulting business called A Balanced Approach. It also failed. I was lost with no idea of who I was or what was to come. I bounced around from job to job never finding passion or satisfaction in anything. I was not thriving, I was surviving.
I was jealous whenever someone had success or was able to carry out a dream. I had always dreamed of being an artist but never saw how it could work. I never saw beyond my circumstances.
If I look at what has happened for me in the past few months I just cant believe the amount of Grace and Mercy God has given me in this area of my life.
I started painting again after ten years. This happened 3 months ago. And I am amazed at the opportunities that God has opened up for me because of this. But I have to tell you it is not because of anything I have done.
Its because of what HE has done.
If I would have picked up a paint brush and started navigating through how to build my own shop or deal with clients...I would have failed back then. All the businesses that I have created in the last ten years have failed. All the paths I have walked have led me to nowhere.
But that's what I thought...until now.
Every single attempt and failure has led me to right here. Every single mistake I have made has given me that much more character and strength. God has been softening my heart and showing me His love all these years even when I didn't see it. It wasn't that I was a failure, it was that I was in the wrong space, and just needed more time.
His plans are perfect yet I did not trust in them.
I keep going back to this one scripture.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
The one thing missing in all my plans, was Him.
I was listening to a podcast yesterday by an artist who chronicled her story from beginning to end. She talked about how she hated working for companies and needed to break out. She tried so many things over years and years but it never seemed to go anywhere. Then she started painting...and it felt right. She racked up lots of credit card debt and took big risks. She lived her dream. And now she is an author and artist with a very successful etsy shop. But there was one part of her story that really resonated with me. She worked in a gallery for about a year when she first started painting. She watched all the other artists sell their work and she did not sell one piece of her own. It took about 6 months for people even to notice her. But she said this was the greatest period of her journey because this is where she learned gratitude, patience and humility.
She was jealous, just like me.
I am finding as I become older and wiser, that this part of my soul is getting wiped clean. I am finding so much joy in watching others succeed because I know there is a time and place for everyone here. I once felt looked over and picked through. Like there was no real reason or purpose for me. I blamed everyone else for my failures and didn't see the big picture. And no, I have not made it big time...yet. But in my heart I feel like I already have. Because I feel less ugly on the inside. I feel better encouraging others because it encourages me. I feel better seeing the good in people because it brings out the good in me. I feel better waiting patiently on the Lord, waking up each morning anticipating His next move, even when our bank account is at a big fat ZERO.
The greatest thing I have learned through all of my failures, is that they are not failures. They are set ups God uses to bring me to the next level. And I should never compare my story to someone elses. We are all created so unique with such different talents and gifts, it would be such a waste of time and spirit to compare anything. Jealousy and comparison is such a thief of Joy...
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Trust in this today. And don't be jealous. Live the life God created in you! Be you! And don't look at success through the eyes of the world. Jesus had a pretty rough life here on earth...tortured and laughed at He still continued to live with the strongest faith and hope. If you feel jealous of someone or their circumstances, try counting your own blessings. Know today that your time is near...and give all your fears to God. Ask Him to plan your days...lead your steps.
I still think, with my bank account near zero...that it is the journey that is the sweetest. Because the things I have learned during my roughest days are shaping me into tomorrow.
It is when I am the most lost, I find God.
It is when I feel the weakest, He gives me the most strength.
You are on the verge of something great! Don't ever give up hope! You are not overlooked, you are not picked through! You are a special child of God who knew you before you were born, and He has great plans for you. All the things you are going through right now are leading you to where He wants you to be. And I could think of no better place to be then in His hands.