The twenties of our lives can be challenging; some friends are married or marrying, others seem to be growing and thriving in their careers, others are getting outstanding accolades academically, whilst others are just trying to start life with the bare minimum, others have no jobs, no degrees and are wondering what they did wrong. There is immense pressure to have some “achievement” going on. It is easy to fall into the temptation of grumbling or discontentment when we compare our lives to others and want what they have.
I was having a conversation with a friend the other day, evaluating where our lives are at, our differences with those of our peers. For a long moment, we would look at friends’ lives, as per their Social Media updates and what we’ve heard from gossip and only but grumble and complain about where we are at. It was difficult to count our blessings because, I mean, they seem to be doing better. Oh, there are some people we would discuss, and we would deem ourselves better.
My pride and discontent were thoroughly exposed upon evaluating that conversation, and I couldn’t help but mourn for the state of my heart. For sure, out of the abundance of our hearts, our mouth speaks (Mathew 12:34). Yes, the abundance of discontent where I’d look at others’ lives and grumble at the space I am in—the abundance of Pride, where I would see myself doing better than others in life. Funny how I’d evaluate their lives on account of gossip I have heard or, worse still, Social Media, a platform where we hardly reveal the entire truth of our lives but only what seems to be doing or going well for us. It is not ungodly to evaluate the stages of our lives and desire to be in other spaces. However, such evaluation becomes ungodly when it only leaves us discontent.
Any state of our lives comes with its pressures. It is normal for us to find ourselves looking at others’ lives and feel discouraged at the state of our current lives. How then can we evaluate our lives in a godly way? What does scripture say about the seasons of our lives?
Different and God-ordained
God ordains the seasons of our lives (Acts 17:26) differently, and it pleases Him to do so (Psalm 115:3). There is a season for everything on this side of heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 17, 8:6), but they all work out and turn out differently for every one of us. If you are working an unpaid internship and another friend is working a well-paying job, it is okay; glorify him in that space. Let not your heart be troubled by the season you are in compared to that of your peers. God does not love you less than he does them, and no, you did not do anything wrong. It has pleased Him that you are in that space, and they are in a different space. Trust the Lord to give you joy in that space as you trust Him for what your heart desires.
Count Your Blessings
Discontent denies us the opportunity to be grateful for the blessings God has accorded us. The Psalmist calls us to a heart of gratitude, forgetting not all His benefits (Psalm 103:2) because every good and perfect gift comes from Him with no variation (James 1:17). I love the words of an old hymn, Count Your Blessings, “When you look at others with their lands and gold, Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold; Count your many blessings—money cannot buy, Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.” Oh may our hearts spring forth gratitude, as we hope in Him with our desires. May we not forget, God owes us nothing, yet it has pleased Him to give us everything we have now (Job 41:11).
It is godly to lament, but dear one, lament before Him. We can feel burdened and overwhelmed when we have been waiting on God to fulfil a desire. Sometimes we forget to praise because we feel like our prayers have been in vain. But God listens. He does not condemn us for lamenting to Him even when we question His “delayed” response. “Lament is better than not talking to Him at all.” We can learn from the Psalmist who Laments and lays bare the state of His heart and pain to God. In chapter 13, He asks, “How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?…and have sorrow in my heart all the day?” (Psalm 13:1-2). Had the Lord forgotten Him? No! Did God desire that He is filled with sorrow all day? No! But that is what the Psalmist felt, and he presents his heart to God. But lament should not end there. We see in the Psalm, He presents His petition to God (Psalm 13:3-4) and also trusts in God (Psalm 13:5-6). Let us learn to lament and present our desires before God. God is attentive and caring; our groanings never go unnoticed.
Our seasons of life can and will be different from our peers, but let us remember, our chief end is to glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31). May we rest in knowing that God cares and has our days ahead perfectly planned out for our good.