I was unhappy, crying in the corner of my apartment, angry at myself and so lost. I was having a “quarter-life” crisis (my co-bloggers laughed at this). I had big goals for myself when I was in high school and college; however, here I was: no house, no babies, little traveling experience, angry at my job that wasted my college degree, no master’s degree. I looked at my unusual array of very successful Facebook “friends”; one was going to Oxford University, another was working in Africa for the UN, another was in the starting her doctorate, another was pregnant, and so the list went on.
Don’t get me wrong, I was very blessed and financially stable. Yet here I was, sitting in my tiny apartment, overweight, with a sales job and “nothing” to show for—I would talk to my family and they would ask me when I was going to lose weight, travel more, get a master’s degree and have a baby. There was an expectation of “Succesfulness” that I was supposed to have reached by now; but my shortcomings were too great.
It wasn’t until I started exploring God’s word that I finally started to drop this expectation of “Successfulness.”
In our lives, we have this image that we hold ourselves up to; some women see themselves as having a powerful corporate position, others want to have a specific body shape, other a large family, and on and on. There are many ways we create these images of “Successfulness”: societal pressures, teachers telling us we can be anything when we “grow-up”, unrealistic movies or TV shows. In my case, it had been established by myself and enforced by my very successful family members, accomplished friends and acquaintances.
Of course, reality hits us and we realize that there is a gap between who we are “supposed to be” and who we are—a gap between success and our shortcomings.
The gap is dangerous, because it’s where our insecurities, our envy, and depression are fermented—like grape juice in a barrel (and just like grape juice in a barrel, too much of it can be toxic). It was the reason I was crying on the floor in the corner of my apartment.
It wasn’t until I put God first, until I surrendered my life to him, until I trusted His will and His way that I was able to be content and experience true peace. Proverbs 3:6 says to put HIM first and everything will fall into place; He will direct us and give us success.
God didn’t all of the sudden help me reach who I was “supposed to be.” Instead, he shattered that image. He gave me a new image; it wasn’t about success and shortcomings—it was about reaching godliness and who I am as a sinner. I could still could lose some weight (and I am working on it), I still don’t have masters or traveled the world; but I am no longer depressed, envious of others or stressed.
Yes, there is still a gap, for it is impossible to reach godliness as a sinner. However, the gap is no longer filled with insecurities and depression but by Grace & Love—by trusting God, I have allowed him to fill that gap. In fact, that gap was guaranteed to be filled when a carpenter chose to die on a cross. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit is actively working on helping us reach godliness.
Romans 8:26 states that the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. I know I have changed; I feel like God has given me a purpose and a lot more energy and wisdom to accomplish this purpose.
Dear sisters, don’t let this image of Successfulness (or who you are “supposed to be”) stop you from reaching what is important—which is being godly. The only way to be godly is to actively seek guidance and trusting the master of godliness: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It’s a continuous struggle for me to this day, but allow me to give you some advice:
- Pray daily, asking God to help you reach godliness. Self-reflect in the presence of the Lord.
- Use the Bible for guidance. My favorite verses that have help me in my struggle are : Proverbs 3:6, Romans 8:26, Proverb 31: 10-31, Phillipians 4:6, James 1:5, Phillipans 3:12-14.
- Realize that you will still stumble. There are times that I still feel a little depressed when I see another lady travel across Europe or get a job that I had previously desired; however, I have to ask God to help get through those negative feelings, trust Him, and help me fill in the gap.
- Know that you might get resistance—when we change our image from “Success” and into godliness, there will be push back. It could be society, friends, co-workers, or family members. Many times the godliness that God wants us to reach runs opposite to what is expected from us. They will simply not understand. I have found in my case that is better to not argue or even try to explain—give it time. The biggest weapon to counteract the resistant is God’s light shining through you.
Thank you Sisters,