A while ago, I was in a season in my life where nothing went my way.
I was slumped on the side of my journey, defeated that everyone was getting further ahead of me and frustrated that despite my best efforts, life just didn’t turn out how I wanted it to. I even got to the point where I genuinely felt like God hated me and liked to see me suffer.
One Sunday night during worship, I came to God in our intimate place and suddenly, everything became clear to me. The reason why I kept getting defeated, why I didn’t get what I wanted and why I was running around in circles was because I was fighting with God on every level of my life. I realized that I had this very clear cut vision of how I wanted my life to look like, yet I did not let God have a say in it at all.
Romantically, I was getting impatient. I have been waiting near 23 years for a man who is worthy of my love. I have turned down men refusing to ‘kill time’ with them and not lowering my standard for any less than what I know I deserve. Even though it’s the best thing to do, it’s not to say that it has been easy. I received two separate prophecies almost four year ago giving me encouragement that the man God has in mind for me will be coming soon. Four years ago! I was frustrated that it was taking so long. But something I have come to learn is that when God says ‘soon,’ it really doesn’t mean soon in human terms. Our timing rarely coincides with God’s timing. God has this wonderful way of surprising us when we least expect it. Even though we may become impatient with Him (“God, you said soon. You promised!”), He isn’t going to give us something just because we badly want it. He’s going to do it in His timing, in the place He has in mind, when He believes you are ready. You can save yourself so much heartbreak just by trusting that God will bring about everything perfectly when He sees right. When it does happen and you look back in hindsight, you will realize why it never would have worked out any other way.
However, it was my career plan that was the most frustrating of all. I had a vision that I would think about most nights before I went to sleep of how I wanted my life to look like. I wanted to work for Amnesty International, live in a nice apartment in the city with a beautiful dog, and work on The Lilac Road at night. It made me happy thinking about it, and it was something I was utterly determined to work toward. It was my dream. So, I applied for a job at Amnesty. Unfortunately, it was not responded to. I was also rejected by them last year too. Seeing all my friends working and being successful in their dream career was disheartening for me, and if I am being honest, I was quite angry at God that I didn’t get the job, or any job for that matter. That was when I believed God was against me. However, I realized that night at church that even though I may want to work for an influential non-profit like Amnesty, was that what God had in mind for me? Even though I may want an apartment in the city, is that where God wanted me to live? Do your dreams and goals align with what God may have in mind for you? Does He even have a say in it?
It’s was a hard question to swallow. I didn’t want to hear it or even think about it. It was my dream, it was my life and I wasn’t going to let anybody take it away from me. But it became clear to me that this was exactly why my life had become so out of my control. I was swimming so hard against the current that I literally wore myself out. That night, I decided to let go and let the current take me with its flow. The moment I did, an incredible peace overcame me, and I felt God bless me. He said to me, “This passed this season in your life. You learned the lesson. I’m so proud of you.”
I know inside each of us there’s a dream worth pursuing and risking everything for. It may be a dream some of us have worked all our lives toward. I know how hard it can be to surrender something you are so sure of, to someone who is so unpredictable. We can become very protective of it because we know losing it would be devastating. But here’s the thing that changed everything for me: The dreams and desires you have are there because He put them in your heart. They are there because they excite you and turn you into a wildly passionate person. God loves to see that fire in you. But that doesn’t mean that your dream job is the only job that will make you happy. With God, there are endless possibilities where He will use that passion in you to impact that world and inspire people. You don’t need to surrender your dreams. You don’t need to give them up or stop pursuing them. You just need to stop fighting with God about it and telling Him, “This is how it’s going to go.” Hold your dreams close, but hold it loosely. Hold it knowing that God might just give you something more incredible if you actually share it with Him, too.
I love the simple analogy of how much dogs love chocolate to describe this process of trusting Him. Chocolate is poisonous to dogs (trust me, I learned the hard way. My dog ate all my chocolate buttons once and vomited them that night – on my face!), and no matter how much a dog whines or no matter how cute the puppy face, you’re not going to give it to him because you know that it’s toxic for him. And I like to think that’s what God does for us, too. No matter how much we may beg and plead and cry for what we want, God is not going to give it to us if He knows it’s going to be harmful to us. Of course it hurts Him to see us hurting, and we may be angry at God for a while because of it. But, like a good father, He delays our instant gratification in order to give us something so much more better in the future. When you don’t get that dream job you’ve always wanted, or end up with that dream guy you saw yourself marrying, trust that God withheld it from you because behind His back is something even more wonderful than you ever thought possible. Trust that God loves your life more than you do, and will only allow better and the best. Trust.
No matter how hard you plan your life, it’s never going to turn out exactly how you envision it. It’s such a fickle, unexpected thing. And I learned a valuable lesson in it. I’m here in a new chapter with a ridiculous amount of peace and contentment, telling you something that may save you so much time and frustration: stop fighting against the current. Let yourself go, and it will bring you to where you’re truly meant to be.