January is my least favorite month. Followed by February. And March.
As a mother of three girls under age four, I’m doing my best to beat back the winter doldrums. We tiredly pull on our boots, zip up our jackets, and pop our hoods over our heads. We’re trying to function mostly indoors: community play places, the gym, the library, the grocery store.
In winter, everything takes more effort and energy. No lie – even breathing in the cold takes more work, since our bodies have to warm and humidify the air.
I could go on and on. The sky is the same color as the rooftops, which are the same color as the ground, and it’s easy for all of the vibrancy of life to feel drained down to a muted, dirty white.
This starts a spin cycle of questions for me… Just why do I live in Minnesota again? Why did I say yes to X? Why does my baby insist on dunking her stuffed animals in the toilet? Why am I not on vacation? Why does everything have to be so HARD?
My whiny perspective is simple evidence of one thing. It’s easy, far too easy, to lose track of the good plan for my life…and then start looking around with cheating eyes at everyone else’s lives.
But friends, I have a quick encouragement for you today. I didn’t come up with it, but the girl who did is pretty amazing. I recently heard her speak at an online Thrivemoms retreat, and what she said changed my whole perspective over the past few weeks.
“God’s good plan for you doesn’t look like his good plan for someone else. Stop comparing the two.”
Stop for a second. Think it through. God’s good plan for you is not His good plan for me. My life is unique to me, and your life is unique to you. And each of us is promised enough grace and compassion to get through each day in our own situations, difficult or otherwise.
PS. I also get the view from the other side. Maybe you’re in a place that feels as far from God as you can get, and if this is His plan for you, forget it. You’re out. Or maybe you felt like you knew God once, but you’re not so sure about Him and his plans anymore. (If this is you, do me a favor? Head over to my friend Addie’s recent post at Off the Page “When you want to believe…and can’t”. It’s poignant, and true, and might help you search out some things.)
I’m no guru. I don’t have an answer to why our lives are lovely sometimes, and crappy in others. But I know that when I fall face-first into my rock bottom, this truth from Jeremiah 29 is always the bedrock gravel I’m picking out of my teeth.
11 For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 You will find me when you seek me, if you look for me in earnest.
So guess what. It doesn’t matter how many times hardship and comparison step into our days if we’re equipped to sweep them aside. And Truth makes a pretty darn good broom.
Friend, your life has a good plan. It is a plan that is completely your own and no one else’s. Take a second to look around it. Look at the roof over your head, the food you had for breakfast, the people who have your back. Look back through your recent social media feeds and be reminded of all the things you wanted to share with the world.
I don’t know what your plan is. Heck. I don’t know my plan is most days. But I can trust that the foundation is sure, and that it’s working toward a future and a hope.
May that be good enough for all of us today.