Today we are going to throw away the timeline. The invisible but rampant timeline that we seem to be hearing over and over in our society. I used to let the timeline make me feel like a flat out failure. I let it make me feel like I wasn't good enough, smart enough or successful enough. I eventually had enough of that pesky timeline that was imprinted on my brain. I remember being asked in high school what I wanted to do with my life. As if any eighteen year old truly knows what they want to do with the rest of their life. The common path that was taught, talked about and pushed was: Graduate high school, go to college, travel, start your career and settle down. In that very order.
I think graduating high school is great (and you should totally graduate and not drop out).
I think college is great.
I think getting married is great.
I think traveling is great.
I think starting a family is great.
I think loving and working hard at your career is great.
But who came up with this timeline? Who says we have to do those those things in that order? Do those life events only bring success when followed in order? Why is there a weird stigma against starting a family before college or starting a career before traveling (you have to have cash to travel I mean, hello?). Graduating high school should obviously come first and foremost... but that goes without saying! If you did everything above in that order that is OKAY too! There doesn't have to be a set order of life events for everyone! I know mamas who are building a career AND loving their family... imagine that! I also have friends who are full-time students and don't want to settle down. That is cool too! I even know people who are married, going to school and working more than one job! Wow! Get this... I even have friends who are doing it all at the same time! I bet they are tired but good for them too! We can celebrate all success no matter what order it comes in!
I remember graduating high school and being SO INCREDIBLY BURNT OUT ON SCHOOL. I had no idea what I wanted to do career wise. I signed up for college classes because I thought I had too. I begrudgingly started taking Early Childhood Education classes but I wasn't fully pursuing it. I wasn't passionate about it. Although now I have two kids who I train and teach so God has a sense of humor, people! ;)
Anyway, why do we get ourselves inside these boxes and tape up our lives inside? We should never base our worth on degrees on the wall, careers, money, status, etc etc etc. So what if you didn't go to college! So what if you don't want to have children! So what if you want to travel for ten years before settling down. We aren't in control. We never have been and never will be.
I remember feeling like a failure when I dropped out of college. I assumed that since I broke the chain of command that I wasn't headed for success. I rebuilt my version of success and I want you to rebuild yours too!
My definition of success is: Following the plans that God has for my life and trusting that He sees the bigger picture.
Proverbs 16:9 says, "A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps."
That is my life verse. I had my life completely planned out. I wanted to follow that timeline to a "T". I am thankful that I just let God take control of my life instead!
We all have a different story. None of them are perfect. No one can do life in a perfect uniform order. All we can do is trust God to lead us down the path He has for us!
God sent me my husband the Summer before my Senior year of high school. I wasn't looking for a soul mate at all. I was going about my business when a little red notification popped up on my Facebook. This super cute guy wanted to know more about me. I always said that I wouldn't meet someone on the internet. Again, God has a sense of humor and knows exactly what we need when we need it. Glad my husband wasn't a psycho... So we met and dated for two years and I couldn't do life without the cute guy. It turned out that he wanted to be with me to so we got engaged in 2015 and four months later we got married! I am a firm believer in marrying the right person. If God sends you your spouse and you're financially ready to get married (we definitely could have been more prepared financially but that was way before we got passionate about our finances) then go for it! There is no perfect age for getting married... unless you're sixteen... that probably isn't the best idea! Obviously...
We got married, conceived a honeymoon baby ( I don't recommend this but if it happens every life is a blessing), moved three times, paid off debt, bought our first home, had a second child, I started working from home doing something I really enjoy and I realized that I have a passion for writing to encourage others. My order is all out of whack, folks! There have been some difficult times and a whole lot tears but it has all been worth it. I wouldn't recommend having a baby right after getting married but it did teach me a whole lot. I never finished college. I decided to be a stay-at-home mama and I swore I would never do that either!
I do often think about what life would be like if I had followed my own plan. It would have looked a lot different. It would have lacked a whole lot of love from the three people I share my home with. It would have most likely resulted in me pursuing a career I wasn't passionate about... because I just recently realized what I am passionate about. It takes some people ten or more years to figure out what they want to do. I am sure God would have given me lots of grace and loved me despite my stubbornness. I am glad He knows best! I am currently a stay-at-home/work-at-home mom to two kids under two, a wife to the best guy on planet earth, an AD Sales Rep for a pretty cool company and I thrive while blogging in all of my spare time. Our life isn't perfect but it is our life and it is perfect for me.
What if God sends you your spouse well before you start you career? What if your career happens after you've had kids? What if you are traveling and God calls you to minister to the people in the middle of Africa? That timeline that seems to be so prevalent in our society leaves out the most important piece of our lives: God's plan for it. God doesn't lay out a clear life plan for us so we can see every part of the story. He does give us direction though. Ask him, friend! He will direct your steps! He will lead you to the right college, the right mate, the right career, and the right path in His perfect order.
Friend, whatever stage of life you're in deserves to be celebrated! As long as you're following God's plan for your life, forget the rest! There is no perfect formula for life! God knows where you are and He has you there for a reason!
Praying God's blessings on you, always!
Picture Credits: Georgia de Lotz https://unsplash.com/@georgiadelotz/portfolio