The majority of my friends have either graduated undergrad within the past 4-5 years or so or are currently preparing for that walk across the stage. It’s an exciting time but also very uncertain. As we each walk out our separate paths, we’ve come to the realization that adulthood has not rolled out a special red carpet or posted a beautiful welcome banner for any of us. And while many of us had great plans coming in to college, we’re all only able to check one or two things, if that, off of our list. The one or two things we can check off probably didn’t come about the way we envisioned they would. Whether school takes longer than anticipated, that dream job never comes, or discovering that what you love is the complete opposite of what you now owe thousands of dollars for, life has a rather humorous way of showing you who’s in control…hint: not you.
What happens to us after that? We often start life out as little girls who have planned their whole lives, from marriage to career. We obsess over games like MASH, making fun of the crazy odds one another would receive, all the while knowing that it’s all just a silly game. There’s no way we’d only have the same amount of control over our lives as we would in a game of MASH. Media prepared us oh so well. Make good grades. Become popular. Work exceptionally hard at what you do. Pick a career a/o find a good man. Have lots of money. Nice house. 2.5 kids and a picket fence. All of it was achievable without stumbling blocks. Except reality hits and you realize it all hasn’t happened like that for you. What do you do when you find yourself in transition and it feels like you’re on the bottom of the totem pole? God, I don’t even need all the extra perks of life, I just want to make my contribution to the world and I can’t even do that!
Get off the Barbie shelf!
In fact get out of that aisle, out of that store! Society never tells us that T.V. life is plastic and that God doesn’t operate in accordance to the time lines we’ve created. So, we go from the extreme of banking on our perfect life plan to practically giving up our dreams when it doesn’t happen the way we’d planned it. Lady, I want to let you know that your dream is still valid! As a determined creature, you must make up in your mind that God saying, “Not your way,” is not Him telling you, “No”, and therefore your disappointment will not make you stagnant!
You ever remember being a kid and seeing your mom make a big cake or pie? As that sweet smells fills your nostrils, you tilt your head back a little, close your eyes and envision yourself indulging in that decadent desert. That feeling of euphoria comes over you as your mouth begins to water, and you set your sight toward that kitchen! You already know which tall glass you’re gonna pull out of the cabinet for your milk, to compliment that oh so tempting dessert. You practically run to the kitchen and ask, “Mom can I have just a little piece of cake?” Or if you’re just that bold you already have the knife in hand. Before the knife is able to meet the icing, you feel a firm grip stopping your hand. “No, you’ll spoil your dinner!”, exclaims your mother. “Oh, just a little piece, Mama?”, you rebuttal. “I said, No,” she says. You trudge back to your room in defeat.
What in your life has caused you to trudge away from God’s plan for your life in defeat? If that little girl knew that her mom was making sure that she received the proper nutrients and strength to build her growing body rather then allowing her to skip that process and jump straight to the sweet finale, she’d be telling her mom, “Thank you, for not giving in to my will.” So often it feels as though, “No,” happens to us. It causes us to feel defeated. Whether we’re the product of many rejections after going for something, we’re sure God told us to go for. Or, we’ve experienced a spiritual and mental beating that makes us feel as though we’re no longer good enough for the sweet finale. We find ourselves asking God, “Why would You allow me to smell that sweet smell, to see myself eating that decadent dessert, if you knew you were just going to reject me? Or if You knew I wasn’t good enough to eat it?”
Often times we’ll find that God never stamped an eternal, “No” on our dreams and desires. If He showed it to us then it’s possible. But what kind of Father would He be, if he allowed us to receive reward without the character, strength, or life skills to maintain it? Sure, I want my cake before dinner but if I’m allowed it, it will stunt my growth. And while it tastes so good for that moment, hours later I will be needing something to satisfy me for more than just a moment. Having dinner first is what brings validation to my having desert. What you’re experiencing now will bring validation to what you receive later. God loves you too much to just hand it to you. You’ve got to do some growing, learn how to navigate hardships, work for it even when it seems impossible.
“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.” – Jeremiah 29:11
Are we trying to get there, on our terms or His? Do we trust that He is still all-powerful and able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20), when major obstacles come to throw us off? Are we seeking His Kingdom or are we looking to do things in a perfect, cookie cutter pattern the way it seems to be happening for those around us? This is how we prove we’re ready! You’re not counted out because of what hurt you, left you or happened for others but didn’t happen for you. As long as you have breath in your body, your dream is still valid, lady. Trust God enough to dream His way. Even the pitfalls were designed to give Him glory.
I ask that You be with your daughters today. Help us to be ladies of divine strength, not relying on our own selves. Give us the courage to throw out our plans, and fall full force into Your arms, knowing that You truly have the perfect plan. Help us to remember, that Your delay is not a denial. Let that not be cliche for us but let it be made real in each of our lives. I come against every negative voice or thought that would tell us that we’re not good enough, that we’re too broken, too damaged or too weak for the lives You’ve destined for us. Remind us that we’re only great through You. Remind us that You want our broken pieces and died for our frustrations. You resurrected with all victory so that we too could be victorious and rise out of everything that tried to damage us for good, everything that “counted us out”, everything that caused us to have the wool pulled over our eyes, everything that lied to us, or spoke down to us. Your love causes us to be greater than our mishaps, greater than our misfortune. Your love for us brings hope where we’ve been rejected because your love already planned for every seemingly negative experience and has us rising to the top. Help us to seek Your will and Your kingdom, not our own. Thank You for seeing us accomplishing the dreams You’ve given us even when we don’t. Give us Your eyes, a new tenacity, a boldness, strategy, ideas and hope. I pray You guide our way, like only you can. In Jesus Name, Amen.
No Longer on the Barbie Shelf