Sunday, June 27, 2010

What to do when you life vision falls flat Part 2

I don't know what it is, but the moon gives clarity for the soul. My post from yesterday was unfinished and no matter how many times the thing was tweaked, it still wasn't coming together (: So I thought I'd let it sit for a day and come back. A walk in the moonlight and encouragement from lovely friends who left comments helped to bring things together. I asked a couple of questions..."Ever have your life planned out only for things to take a totally different direction? Did you have a vision of how things would unfold and now life is not playing nice with the dream?"

Actually, I'm in the middle of this wonderful dichotomy...yes, I said wonderful even though this past week hasn't felt so wonderful. The vision for my life was to go to college, find my soulmate, graduate, get married, find a great job, buy a cute cottage, have kids and face the challenges of life as a family. Well, that hasn't happened.

At the time I was okay with it because the focus was taking care of Grandmother. But when you turn 40, begin to evaluate things and see everyone else moving on while you're still at the starting gate, the sadness can be overwhelming...especially when it comes to having children. It's even harder when siblings and cousins begin to breach that realm and you watch as their families grow. Don't get me wrong. The opportunities have been there, but each time God said, "No, not yet. Wait." {Sigh}

Now almost half way through my one year challenge, those feelings have come back with a vengeance. "Why God? Why am I still waiting? Why am I having to take the long path while everyone else around me seems to have the life of which I've always dreamed? You do realize, God, that if I wait much longer the possibility of having children dwindles." (: But just as He has asked in the past, "Be happy for the blessings of others and celebrate their joys even in the midst of your own pain. Your time will come soon enough." {BIG Sigh}

So, what's the plan here? To be honest...I have no idea. God is an out-of-the-box kinda guy and on the surface things may not make sense, but He's guiding my every step. This may sound odd, but through all the mourning over a life of unexpected twists and turns, I'm more confident and content than ever before. During this time my faith has grown by leaps and bounds. God has drawn me closer to Him, allowed the healing of old wounds and opened new doors that were never thought possible.

You see, when we let go of our vision and open ourselves to God's vision, a design greater than we could ever imagine will come forth. We might have lost a loved one, a marriage might have crumbled, the scholarship for school might not have come through, the baby we were expecting might have been lost, the cancer that was once gone might have back or maybe the job we've had for 15 years is no longer is full of things that throw us for a loop and make us question the meaning of it all. There will be times of questioning and frustration.

I've been there this week, but I've asked for a life bigger than my hands could design...the life that God has always wanted for me. With that comes a lot of work on my part plus the willingness to let go of the old vision of yesterday.

I've accepted the long, narrow path and can see where I'm headed, I just don't like where I am at the moment. It's the dreaded "in-betweens." That place that feels like perpetual limbo when we've left the old life behind and we're half way to the new. We can see the possibilities, hopes and dreams taking shape right on the horizon, but the journey through this leg of the path is not yet finished and there's still more climbing to do.

So, if you find yourself in the in-betweens here are some tips that have helped me:

  1. Spend time in prayer each day. Meditate and connect with the One who is working on your behalf behind the scenes.

  2. Love yourself. Okay, I know this one sounds corny, but you have to appreciate the beauty of you! You are in the world for a purpose and it wouldn't be the same without you! Honor yourself by nurturing the lovely person you are. It will allow you, in turn, to love others more deeply.

  3. Focus on the blessings you've already encountered. What is going right in your life? Make a list and review it each day.

  4. Reach out to help others. There's nothing better for the soul than helping those in need.

  5. Gather a circle of close friends. Share your heart with those who love and care about you. On those days when you feel weak, they can be of great counsel and support.

  6. Memorize scripture that is specific to your situation. Quote it as you go about your day. You'll be surprised by the energy and lift it gives.

  7. Do something fun. It doesn't matter what it is, just do something that makes you smile. The sillier the better (:

  8. Just let go. You need to embrace the sadness that you might be experiencing, but don't let it overpower your spirit. Take the time you need to grieve (it's different for everyone) and then move forward. Let go of how things used to be and look towards the possibilities.

  9. Set goals. Set some short and long term goals that keep you moving forward. It could be one thing a week or maybe even one thing a month. Just do something.

  10. Practice forgiveness. To live in a world filled with people means to live with the possibility that you will be hurt. By forgiving those that hurt us, it opens the heart to love. Forgiving doesn't mean that what has happened is okay and it doesn't minimize or justify the wrong, it just means that we allow healing to come into the mix which brings a peace that can help us move forward.

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  1. Amen to this!

    Do you ever listen to Joyce Meyer? She's got great little books called, "When God, When?" and "Why God, Why?" I think even DVDs in that area too.

    It's tough trying to follow a path you think is right, then when things aren't turning out the way you had hoped, wondering if you've been following the right path all along? I think everyone has experienced this in their lives, some of us more than others!

    I believe if you keep God close though, even if you do stray from the path you were chosen, He'll always guide you back.

    Keep the Faith!

  2. It sounds like you are traveling down a good road, a narrow one with rocks and twigs, and I can tell you know where you are headed. Sometimes I like to picture the image of me, wrapped up in a tight bundle of a blanket, enjoying His rocking and singing. I can stay right there for a good long time.

  3. Hi Jill! Oh, yes...LOVE her! I watch her tv show everyday and have several of her books. My favorite are her cd's. I pop them in and listen while working. Thank you so much for the encouragement (:

    Thanks so much Pom Pom (I love saying that makes me smile). By the way, I noticed that "The Shell Seekers" is a favorite book of yours and guess what Hallmark movie I watched Sunday? The Shell Seekers! Lovely, lovely the book was even better (:

  4. Thanks for sharing this great list! Lots of good things to remember. Thanks for stopping by - I really appreciate it!

  5. Remember that even those who seem to have it all never do...there is no such thing.

    I think what we don't expect to happen is often where all the little blessings can be found.

    My sister is your same age, never married or had children. Her career has been the main focus, although not intended. She has had many of these same thoughts and observations, but has just decided to jump in fully to her life "right now" and enjoy it!

  6. You are so right Acanthus and Acorn...some people look at my life and think it's so much better than the life they're living. The grass always seems greener on the other side (: That's the challenge with having a vision of how things should be, because it usually isn't reality. Being thankful for the blessings we have brings the best contentment.

  7. Beautiful.
    At a time when I am at a loss for words, I find myself wanting to be one of your friends who will sit with you and listen, and just be.

    Thank you for sharing your heart... and for reminding us to close our eyes and count our blessings - often - all the time - and truly trust God and His plan. God will bless you for your patience, your trust, your faith.

    Happy 40th to you - could it be that we are both Gemini's? :)

  8. Sari...Every time you stop by you bring hugs and I'm so thankful (: Your kind words of encouragement always minister to a spot in the heart where only friends can touch (:

    I turned 40 in November and am a Sagittarius girl (: Stopped by your blog and noticed you're on hiatus. So glad you come by to let me know you're okay (: {HUGS}


  9. Hi Michele

    thanks so much for stopping in to visit me very nice to meet you...

    enjoy your day..


  10. What a wonderful outlook you have on life! I too haven't quite had the life I expected, but I try really hard to let God steer me in the direction HE wants.......and I just follow! Hugs to you!

  11. What beautiful words you have written and such encouragement. We all have things in this life that at the time bring us pain; but I believe it is just pruning. If you don't prune a plant, then it just grows wild and then what use is it and the beauty it once had is lost. If we allow God to "prune" us; then we grow in the direction that He wants us to grow and we bring glory to Him through the beauty in our life.

  12. I forgot to tell you "thank you" for having a way to subscribe by email to your blog. It is really the only way I can keep up with my blog reading ;)

  13. Michele,
    This was an absolutely beautiful post and so very inspiring. I agree with everything that you mentioned here as all your words are so true.
    You are on the right road girl. Even when in doubt, you ARE on the right road. When we think "why me?"...only he knows the answer. He has a plan for us and I really do trust that it's a good one :)

    There really isn't more that I can add or say here as I'll be repeating you, however...I can thank you for the reminder of it all :)

    I hope you have a wonderful week...go do something silly and laugh about it.
    Most of all, enjoy and appreciate every moment...that's really what is meant to be :)))

  14. Very interesting and beautiful blog!
    Sweet dogs:)
    With satisfaction I registered as your Google follower and will continue to follow your blog:)
    Come you to my blog I believe you will find something nice for yourself.
    Sunny and warm greetings from Croatia.
    Zondra Art

  15. These are so wonderful tips! Life is full of waiting, which I am slowly coming around to accept. Last year, I had my life set for the future. And all in one day, every one of those things came crashing down. God has different plans. That is definitely something I have learned! And if we aren't listening, He will show us somehow.
    Thank you for your very sweet comment!

  16. Michele, thanks for stopping by my blog! I had read your cute story the other day about your dogs, and shared the lavendar thing with my friend. I was in awe of your wisdom as I read your words. I especially took note of #8 and #10! That forgiveness thing is always the hardest I think for me! I guess #8 and #10 kinda go together. I'm thinking today I'll focus on #2,#4,and #7. I already have a smile on my face as an older lady just called me to come and help her out with some housework she can't do. Hey it takes the focus off me!! I am so glad you became a follower and I am going to follow you too. God works in mysterious ways. You have a great day and take care. I'll keep you in my prayers. XOXO Fran.

  17. Michele - thanks for letting us know where you're at - you will walk out the other side of this 'in-between' time - i agree that they are often hard to be in!

    Did i know you are gluten-free already? So neat to know you are - makes me feel less 'alone' in this - so glad you left that bloggy comment to that effect - thanks!

  18. Wonderful post, Michele.

    I loved what you wrote..."I've asked for a life bigger than my hands could design...the life that God has always wanted for me." Wow! That's awesome.

    Praying for you, God's abundant blessings!

  19. Thank you for your post. I agree with many things you said. And I will work in some of your suggestions.
    I hope things really work for you.
    Have a lovely week.
    And thank you for visiting my blog.

  20. Hi Michele,
    Thank you for your sweet comment...
    I will be keeping my eyes on you girl!!

  21. I love this post Michelle. I love your honesty. And your "what to do" list is great. I would add one more thing: Remember your history with God. Remember all the times when He provided, came through, showed up, gave abundantly, comforted, answered, etc. When we remember what He has done for us in the past, it is easier to have faith for the future.

    Thanks for sharing this. So wise and so true and so needed. Blessings to you.

  22. Hello there. I am following back through a blog hop and my site (thank you for posting a comment). I enjoyed your post and look forward to visiting again :-)


  23. Thank you for that list... it brings to mind things that are really important.... what a great reminder of how to live on a daily basis!

    Thank you for sharing...


  24. What an abundance of great wisdom in this post. Sometimes we tend to get wrapped up in our wants and lose sight of the fact that God knows our needs and sometimes our wants and our needs are not on the same page. :)

  25. Wow, what a testimony! Those are awesome tidbits of advice because no matter WHAT you are waiting for, we can all relate. And that is hard. His timing is perfect, but it is so difficult sometimes.

  26. Those are very good tips...

    it sounds like your heart is in the right place - trusting and waiting on God!

  27. Great post. I know what it is like to look at your life and wonder "huh?" For me - I know I just need to trust God. He has taken care of me this far - and I know he will continue.

  28. What a blessing your words are to me! It's clear that God is using you in a unique way to reach out to others through this blog. I just wanted to comment on one of your statements "everyone else around me seems to have the life of which I've always dreamed?" I guess the KEY word there is SEEMS... My guess is... those who "seem to have the life you've dreamed of" may have issues, doubt and turmoil in their hearts and lives that are not openly shown. Only God knows. One more thing. Our Pastor was single and lonely (looking for that perfect life) until he was going on 40. He was patient and obeyed God. Now he is blessed w/ a wonderful wife and 2 children. Our Father is faithful! You have a wonderful relationship with the God who created us... it shows. Love your posts... God bless!

  29. I do believe God has a plan and everything happens for a reason. Reasons I will not know or completely understand while here on earth.

  30. What a great post, so true. Going thru a difficult time right now with my mothers health and finding that God is a true, true, spring of eternal hope!

  31. Do you understand how wise you are! Your contribution are so mowing (forgive my enlish).
    I´m glad you find my blog so I can follow yours, you seem to be a amazing person!!



  32. Love the tips how very encourageing!!! Thank you!!!

  33. beautiful tips. thanks for your encouragement to us all when you could use a little yourself. you even visited my blog to add your suggestions on my little traditional vs. trendy dilemma, and they really helped! what a kind soul you are. thank you so much!

  34. Thank you for this encouraging list! I am in one of those in-between periods you talked about, and anything that provides encouragement during this time is a great thing in my book!

  35. Hi Michelle
    Well I certainly know this feeling.. 40 came and went.. and 50 is looming.. so I have past my used by date in that respect... and now I have a few health issues that need my attention .. so my 'path' is really unknown right now... taking a break out from the corporate world... and just letting life 'happen' for a while..

    Love the moon... she is my guiding light for sure!! I post every month on the moon as so glad you popped by for the latest.. Have a lovely week .. xx Julie

  36. I love your insight. Oh yes, my life is always changing and I never know what to expect. I pray and it always seems to go right somehow.
    Great blog.

  37. You sound like you have it together and that's what realy counts.
    Thanks for stopping by.

  38. thanks for these inspiring words michelle, and for the uplifting post re my father on the blog, have a great weekend

  39. I really enjoyed your post. Thanks for the add btw. I see you are attending She Speaks as well. My life has been filled with many days of "when your vision falls flat." It's hard to understand God's ways. Sometimes I cannot fathom the way He blesses me and sometimes I find myself saying "why have you chosen these "fires" to refine me with?" All I know is God is the Master Creator with each of our lives, He's making a masterpiece; both our triumphs and hardships work together for good "to will and act according to His good purpose." I am learning that God is good, even when circumstances are not. I totally feel your heart in this post. I was where you are at one point in regards to kids. I am where you are now in regards to my health since kids.

  40. Thanks for sharing your life with us. You are a talented writer! I came across this verse when my mother-in-law was battling cancer. "My times are in Thy hand." Psalm 31:15 ~ pretty much covers all :). The verse before it is also good "But as for me, I trust in Thee, O Lord, I say, 'Thou art my God.'" Be encouraged. You are helping so many.
    ~ Julie

  41. Thanks for stopping by my blog and also for sharing. I too am waiting for some guidance. Every night I lay in bed thinking- HELLO? I AM WAITING and just quiet. So I keep going through my days hoping it hits me- but not literally because I am exhasuted. So bless you for hsaring and encouragement. I'll stop back soon.

  42. You write,"You see, when we let go of our vision and open ourselves to God's vision, a design greater than we could ever imagine will come forth." This is so true. I never had the job I planned or the child I planned, but I'm going to have opportunity to be a spiritual mother to children and women in Mozambique which is more than I could have ever imagined for myself.

  43. All I can say is AMEN! My life is at a cross roads for sure, and in transition and so not what we thought it would be at this stage of our lives. We have a lot of hard decisions and changes coming up....thanks for this post...glad that I found it!

  44. Michele, thanks for the honesty. I just wanted to tell you that I have similar feelings and introspective thoughts about life even though I have been happily married to a great guy for 24 years and have 2 girls. I am a designer, but never wanted a "climb the ladder" career and have enjoyed my opportunities to work as a kitchen designer and a fashion designer. I have one daughter who is going into college this year and one next year and know they will be going out on their own soon. Raising children goes by so fast & then you are still left with the questions unless you keep your eye on who God made you to be.
    The most important thing to do is to keep doing what God has created you to do.

  45. Michele,
    I just glanced at your blog and you have so many wonderful things to say. I applaud you! I will look forward to spending some good quality time on your blog.

    God Bless!

  46. Michele,

    thank you so much for this post! I had one of my - lets say - questioning the greater good of my current situation days. I asked God what he wants me to do ... because I don't know. By accident I clicked on your blog and came across this post. Thank you so much for sharing this! It is really inspiring and encouraging!



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