26 Oct Feeling Behind
I led a group of high school girls for four years, and there was a time that I was sure one of them would be married before I was.
I felt stuck in my singleness, and it was just a matter of time before one of my girls passed me. My last community group started with a few singles who were married in a few years. In that same group, the couples who were already married were having kids, and the ones who had kids, were having more.
And there I was—always seeming to be a few phases of life behind. Sometimes I would be disheartened because I felt I couldn’t relate to their circumstances. Sometimes I would be jealous because I wanted to be further along in my life, and I felt God was withholding something from me. Sometimes I would be content with God’s sovereignty—it just depended on the day.
Like the Israelites (5 years is not as dramatic as 400—but still) I tried to be faithful in my present circumstance while I waited for something to be different. Like the Israelites, the Lord was teaching me something in my waiting, but I can’t deny that those many years of watching others move through stages of life were hard at times.
And then last year I started dating, and I had never been more thankful to be surrounded by those that were “ahead” who could help me navigate the struggle that is dating in this culture.
A few months later, I was engaged and found myself leaning on those who had been there before. They provided encouragement and practical advice about marriage, which was amazingly helpful for me to prepare as best as possible for what was ahead. It’s like hiking a trail for the first time with someone who knows it like the back of their hand. It’s as if they were saying, “this rock is a little wobbly, step here instead; this path is thick with weeds, go down this one instead.” My life was blessed with the wisdom of those before me.
“I had never been more thankful to be surrounded by those that were ‘ahead’ who could help me navigate the struggle that is dating in this culture.”
Moses experienced this same blessing through his father-in-law. Jethro must have known first hand the exhausting nature of leading a group of people and provided practical advice on how to make it manageable. Moses listened and was spared hardship, just as I have been with those who have gone before me.
So let us not be discouraged when we feel “behind” others. We should seek and heed the wisdom and guidance of the godly to be prepared for what the Lord might have in store for us. We are all being made to be more like Christ, and as I have been reminded before, each of us requires a different curriculum. We are to be learning from one another, not sad or jealous of other’s circumstances, but rejoicing in others’ wisdom and heeding wise advice.
“So let us not be discouraged when we feel ‘behind’ others.”
For those of you who feel blessed to be “ahead,” be willing to provide wisdom to those who have not yet walked down your path. Do not think that looking back means looking down on and be thankful for the opportunity to serve others. Perhaps the Lord had you experience certain hardships so that with your wisdom, someone else won’t have to.
I would like to say my time of being “behind” is over, but because I think the Lord has a sense of humor, I’m now leading an A Woman’s Words study with some incredible women—all of whom have children. So naturally, I’m a phase of life behind again, but I am rejoicing in it. Bring on the wisdom and guidance, ladies. I’m all ears. Let us all pray our hearts are open to the wisdom of believers who have gone before us.
While Jackie is officially employed as a physical therapist, she is also known around the church for baking chocolate chip cookies and cupcakes. She loves serving in Forge and recently just graduated her group of high school girls she has led for the past 4 years. Given a free day, she would love to spend it outside with her husband exploring a new place she’s never been before. Jackie attends our Pelham campus.