Have you ever felt behind in life? Like everyone else is going places, but you’re stuck running on the treadmill? I’ve been there before too.
As a homeschooler, there have been times I have questioned my education. As a selective reader, I have often wondered what books I’m missing out on. As a writer with no finished projects, I constantly feel behind other young writers.
There are so many movies I have never seen, so many video games I have never played, and so many vacations I have never experienced. The list of areas in which I feel behind could go on forever. And, unfortunately, being a devout Christian only makes the feeling worse.
However, I know there are other teenagers out there who feel the same way. Why? Because as alone as we may sometimes feel, there is always someone out there who can relate. We just never realize it because we give in to “group think” and spend hours gawking at all the put-together facades. We assume we are the one who’s behind because we can’t see past everyone else’s walls. No one ever dares to break the ice.
And so, we continue on like a hamster on a treadmill. We’re chasing something, but half the time we don’t know what it is, and the other half it simply eludes our grasp.
We construct walls of our own to hide what’s behind them. We examine our otherwise-happy lives and wonder what’s wrong with us. We think, if only I can work a little harder, I’ll catch up to them.
But can I let you in on a secret?
It’s all an illusion.
Yes, you heard me right. It’s an illusion.
All the feelings of being behind in life are nothing more than that–they’re just feelings. And God knows we can’t trust our feelings.
The devil tries his hardest to make us believe the grass is greener on the other side when, in reality, it never is. And as a result, we waste so much of our precious time pursuing things that were never meant to be ours. God’s plan for so-and-so’s life is not His plan for your life.
Let me offer you some encouragement:
You. Are not. Behind.
The season of life that you are in right now–whatever that looks like–is the season of life that God desires for you. If you don’t have something, it’s because you don’t need it yet. God will provide in His timing. If it were absolutely critical that you read that book, watched that movie, or experienced that vacation your friends did, God would have found a way to get it into your hands or lead you to that place without you ever trying.
I love this quote from Mark Batterson: “God wants you to get where God wants you to go more than you want to get where God wants you to go.”
Read that again:
“God wants you to get where God wants you to go more than you want to get where God wants you to go.”
God has a plan for your life, and He wants it to be fulfilled even more than you do! You don’t have to worry about missing out in life if you’re actively pursuing God.
Your response to this might be something along the lines of, “That sounds great! It’s impossible to be behind in life, and everything I need in order to keep up will be handed to me!” Not quite. That second clause is vital: if you’re actively pursuing God.
It is possible to be behind–and that is by wasting your life chasing the wrong things.
If you spend your time unwisely (by procrastinating, doing things you shouldn’t, repeatedly binging on worthless activities, etc.), you can and will fall behind. Maybe not according to the world’s standards–you may still earn that degree, land that job, raise that family–but according to God’s standards, that isn’t what matters. What matters is that you are faithful with every second given to you, and that you are pursuing Him with every step. In God’s travel agency, the earthly destinations aren’t what’s important–it’s the lessons learned along the way.
If you’re chasing the things of the world, there is no such thing as “caught up.” The world will always drive you to pursue more, bigger, better. There is no lasting satisfaction.
But for the one pursuing God, there is an abundance of joy. There is a sense of knowing that you are right where you ought to be. There is rest, not an endless treadmill that leaves you gasping for air.
The good news about this is that it is never too late to turn around! God can restore missed opportunities, redeem wasted time, and reroute the prodigal son. He has a way of bringing people up to speed.
So, take heart. Even as you work diligently toward your goals, take a breath. You are in a strategically-placed position that will launch you into more than you could ever imagine. If you are faithful to follow and obey God, you will never be behind, and the things you do miss out on in life will be for your good.
Never compromise. Never give up. Never stop believing that God is for you.
Your best is yet to come, but the grass is never greener on the other side.
In Christ now and always,