I am at an age in life where it seems as though every day some friend somewhere is making some exciting announcement about his or her life.  I'm going to backpack across Europe! I'm engaged! I'm pregnant! I'm moving to (insert glamorous place) to (insert glamorous job)! I'm awesome at my life and marriage and career and reproduction!

These are all wonderful things.  After a while, though, one starts to hear these things and feel really insecure about her own life.  It starts to feel small, drudgerous, and flailing.  That is, at least, if you're anything like me, which I suspect many of you are.  

It isn't that you aren't happy for your friends and their beautiful homes, budding careers, shiny cars, flat stomachs, and fertile wombs.  It isn't even that you feel you deserve it any more than they do.  You know that we're all completely and equally undeserving of such wonderful blessings.  So what is the problem?  Why does it hurt?  Why does this happy news make you feel so unhappy?

In my life, I can usually answer this by simply stating "I'm just not content with where God has called me."  I feel like my plans and my desires are better.  On paper, it sure seems that way.  Who wouldn't want a real job and an income instead of accruing sickening amounts of debt in grad school?  Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to own a home instead of paying ridiculous rent for a crummy apartment for 5 years?  Who wouldn't want a naturally lean body instead of having to work out or count dumb old points?  Who wouldn't want ovaries that work instead of a bunch of little cysts that give you facial hair? 

Well, I guess I now have to raise my hand and say, "I wouldn't."  For the first time in a long time (maybe ever), I am beginning to look at all aspects of my life and see them in a much different light.  I am reaching a point where I can confidently say that I know I am exactly where I am supposed to be.  I know there is a greater purpose in everything.  It sounds so cliche, but it's true.  I know it.  I feel it.  God's word affirms it. 
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Don't misunderstand this verse.  God isn't telling Israel that it's going to be a bed of roses.  In fact, they're about to face 70 years of exile from their homes.  They're going to serve an earthly Babylonian king who is corrupt.  They're going to face famine and disease.  So what is their future hope?  It is the same hope God gave to Abraham over 1000 years before:
The word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward. (Genesis 15:1)
The Lord himself is my hope, my future, my delight, my reward.  It isn't in my earthly circumstances.  This is marvelous.  God himself.  Just think of it.

I feel a shift in my heart.  I can be happy for my friends and admire what they have without feeling so terrible about my own life.  How? Because I know that while my life may not look so fabulous to others or even to me at times, I'm where I'm supposed to be.  And I know that when this is no longer where the right place for me, God will open a door to something different.  For better or worse, my hope is built on nothing less.

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Mrs. Gibby said...

So, I'm not entirely sure if you remember me from AG. But, we were there and then we moved to Germany.
Your bit about ovaries with cysts that make you grow facial hair... I'm there. So, I perused your posts labeled infertility.
I was diagnosed with PCOS in 2002 (I'm 33 yrs old now). It was 5 years before we were able to adopt, and we were blessed with Jax. His whole story has God's hand written all over it (KB is familiar with it). And then, we were getting ready to start an adoption from the foster care system and we got orders to Germany. And then, God put a baby in my womb... I know infertility is hanging around AG and trying to torment so many of the women and men there. And we do allow it to torment us for some time before we are able to surrender it all to God and accept that his timing is perfect and that his plans are not ours and his plans are so much better than ours.
Anyway, that's it. Just felt I was supposed to say something. (love your blog, by the way)

Mrs. Gibby said...

Whoa... Sorry that comment got so long. I have a tendency to do that.

sarah said...

i know it...i have been praying for you, i know how hard and painful it can be and how difficult it can be to think rightly in certain situations.

it occurred to me sunday that i can sing these songs about God being faithful and believe it, but then i wonder if i would feel the same way if we didn't have sam. i hope so, but i have my doubts, and that's an area that needs work for me.

mechen said...

- Watson is probably eating too fast. Try picking up his food after a few bites and slowing him down. Also, we started Odo on Nutra for sensitive stomachs, and that helped with the puking.
- It's easy to see others' lives as so much more together, more exciting, more glamorous. But the person going to Germany is going to be lonely as HELL for a while and might well gain 20 lbs on German beer. The person who just bought a house now has to spend $700 on mole control rather than $700 on a trip to Mexico. And the girl with the career instead of the grad school debt could hit a glass ceiling and go back to grad school when she's 36. So don't forget to see your own blessings: the future career, the apartment that gives you freedom, the children that will come later when you're established and have the time and cash to take care of them. You are blessed!

Courtney said...

Great post, Chelsea. You read my mind. I feel like every time I log on Facebook or see a friend one more person is pregnant. It's hard. But God has been so kind to me in this trying season of waiting. I feel like you do, that he has me where he wants me (even though I long for a different situation), and that is good for me right now. Praying and hoping with you, friend.

Josie Beck said...

Holy moly. I don't think I have EVER related to a blog post more!!!
Ugh I have struggled with this SO much in my life. And thinking I am a horrible person and horrible friends for being envious of success and good things in my best of friends' lives....
This is such a great perspective, and I too am finally learning (still struggling!) how to attain this contentment and security in the Lord, and my identity IN Him!
Thank you SO much for sharing and being so vulnerable. That is a quality I appreciate MOST in a person!
Love to you!


Sara said...

I just found your blog and LOVE it! Your pictures are gorgeous and your puppy is adorable! I'm in St. Louis too and it's always nice to meet a neighbor online!

Thank you for this post. You said so many things I've been dealing with lately, I feel like you're in my head.

Joy said...

I found this today, just as I was supposed to. Thank you, friend.