3 Ways to Survive When Your Future is Suddenly Erased
Linking up with#fiveminutefriday today! Five minutes of uninterrupted writing...no editing. No overthinking. Just write! Today's word is: FUTURE
On December 13, 2011 my world blew up with the slam of a judge's gavel as she declared my marriage "irretrievably broken". In an instant, my imagined future disappeared, and my world went blank. I couldn't see two steps in front of me to get back to the car, let alone a future without my husband.
Not only was my perceived future erased from existence, but my current world was thrown into a vortex of confusion, betrayal, and uncertainty. If THIS could happen to me, when would the next shoe drop? Don't horrible things happen in a series of three? I could barely breathe wondering how I would survive the sudden elimination of the life I had known.
When the bottom drops out, how do we proceed? What steps will bring us through the nothingness to see our future through a new lens? Here are three things that helped me navigate this vacant space.
1. Stop trying to look so far ahead: I'm an elementary school teacher. I plan everything. Things don't always go as planned, but within the school structure, I'm much more willing to go with the flow than I am in my own life. Personally, I want to be able to see 5, 10, 15, 20 years into the future. God reminds us not to even plan for the next DAY. (Proverbs 27:1) If I'm constantly theorizing about my future, of course my anxiety and fear levels will rise dramatically. One. Day. At. A. Time is all we can plan for. (Read more from my earlier post on what a day may bring.)
2. Believe God when He says He will take care of the future: Whether I choose to believe it or not, God IS taking care of me moment by moment, which includes my continued care into whatever the future holds.
Matthew 6:26-27- Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to her span of life?
I don't think God can be much clearer. His question is rhetorical- aren't you- my daughter, my beloved, my friend- more valuable than just a bird?? I choose to believe that God is taking care of me as His precious one.
3. Remember our purpose on this Earth: When I dwell and meditate continually on the future I lost, I begin to limit the way God can use me. I begin to dictate to God how I want to be used, and the things I think are in my best life. Can I not stand in awe of my great God who is infinitely greater than I am? Can I not accept the trials that I would never choose for myself that draw me closer to Him and cause me to become more like Him? My purpose here is not to be "happy". It's not to have everything I want. My purpose here is to glorify God. To use my gifts and strengths as a vessel of His making. My plans are nothing compared to the plans God has for me. It won't always be easy. It won't always make sense. Others might make choices that change how God uses us, but He is never surprised. Never caught off guard. Never ceasing to draw us near and use our pain and doubt to grow us in relation to Himself. Those ways are not my ways, they're so much better.
When the future you were betting on suddenly erases, there's no going back. There's no use in hoping and pining and dwelling on that future when God has so much more for us.
Focus on today.
Believe God's promises.
Seek His purposes above all of our inferior plans.
The future is so bright friend- be sure to bring your shades!!