This is 43

Have you ever had a boss or future employer ask, “So, where do you see yourself in five years?” No matter how many times I am asked that question, my answer is always the same, “I have no idea.” It is ironic, given that I am a control freak who likes to plan, but for some reason looking forward down the road of life hasn’t been my go-to. I’ve always believed that God really knows what is best, so I’ve left the five, ten, and 20-year planning up to Him.

But here’s what’s funny, I turned 43 this week, and it looks nothing like I thought it would.

Oh, I know what you are thinking. How could I possibly know what 43 should be if I’ve never had a goal or vision board? I agree, and yet, I find myself unsettled by what the end of my early-forties looks like. I didn’t expect to still be as fluffy as ever, out of shape, and exhausted all the time. I never thought I would be out of work for nine months, hoping each day for the phone to ring. Who doesn’t dream of owning a home by the time they cross the four-decade threshold? But alas, I’m still a renter. Oh, and here’s the big one — I still don’t know what God created me to do!

Jeremiah 1:5 states, “Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you: A prophet to the nations — that’s what I had in mind for you.” (MSG, emphasis mine). God hasn’t tapped me to be a prophet, but I know He has a designated role for me to play while here on earth. The details are still fuzzy, but the more frustrated I become with my, “This is 43?!?!” thoughts, the more I press into Him for what He wants to show me. My ideas — and what I find acceptable at this age — are far different than God’s ideas. The Bible says His thoughts and His ways are higher than ours, which I am relying on because what I am seeing right now is a hot mess, lol!

Deep down, I always thought I would have life figured out by my forties.

Yeah, not so much. In fact, I feel the exact opposite. Somehow, in my flawed perspective, I decided that making life “fall into place” should have been my responsibility. Taking care of my health, finding the right job, living in the perfect place, loving and supporting family unconditionally, all were mine to handle — all by myself. God gave me common sense and a good work ethic; I should have been able to knock stuff out of the park. But, with age, I’ve realized that none of those things were, or could be, done 100% in my own power. God’s hand has always been a guiding factor in my life.

I will never have things totally figured out, and I am not supposed to.

I will continue to gain wisdom and understanding as the years pass, but I will always need to be dependent on God — and that’s a good thing. Self-reliance tends to lead to dark, lonely places. If anything, that’s the biggest lesson I have learned since turning the big 4–0.

Sometimes God strips away the comforts of life to make way for the best comfort we could ever have — Him!

The last three years have been emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually draining. I have questioned everything about myself and have felt downright lost. Everything I “relied” on (physical appearance, financial security, sense of purpose, etc.) was stripped away in one form or another, and I was left broken and crying before God. Countless times I have looked in the mirror unable to recognize the person staring back at me — only a shell of my former self.

Not once did I think that God set out to make me miserable. Nope, I did that all on my own. But, as things changed and life took unexpected turns, God became real to me in ways I would have never known otherwise. He has handled me with kid-gloves and a very tender heart. He has allowed me to bear all my ugliness and then has shown me kindness and patience. This comes through Scripture, a message, or encouragement from a friend. Even though the process has been mostly brought on by desperation, I am closer to God and understanding His love and character, than I’ve ever been. Could anything be more valuable? I dare say no.

Nothing about where I am right now comes as a surprise to God.

In fact, He knew I would be writing this post before I was even a twinkle in my parents’ eyes. I take great comfort in that. I am thankful that He has created me to do what only I can do. Sure, I would love to know all the ins and outs of that design, but it’s probably best He reveals only what’s needed at the moment. Otherwise, I might back out!

So, 43 may not be what I thought it should be, but it’s exactly what God had in mind. With all the stuff I think still needs fixing, I will check in with Him and see what He advises. He just wants me to walk with Him, every step, and trust wholeheartedly that He has my best interest at heart. We were never created to do life on our own. And we don’t have to.

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