The Overflow

living in the overflow of God's goodness through every season

When Your Path Looks Different...

FaithKayleigh MarksComment
How much time he gains who does not look to see what his neighbour says or does or thinks, but only at what he does himself, to make it just and holy.
— Marcus Aurelius
Photo Credit: Karen Whisler

Photo Credit: Karen Whisler

As observed in my own life and in the lives of those around me, women tend to struggle with looking at one another for standards on appearance, wisdom, being a friend, being a mother, or even just being a woman. This can be one of the most detrimental struggles a woman endures in her walk with the Lord. In the midst of this struggle, one can often start to think, “Well Lord, why haven’t you given me a job I love?” or “Father, why don’t I have a man in my life who bears the image of your love to me?” Questions like these can often lead one to believing that the Lord does not love them or have good things planned for them; all the while, this is the complete opposite of the real truth.

This post is not meant to give you the assumption that I am a woman who has this all under control and therefore have all of this wisdom to share. The truth is, I am writing this post so that I can be reminded myself of my identity and find comfort in that. Sometimes (all of the time) my biggest struggle is when I look to the women around me, those who love me, who care for me, and who pour into me spiritually. My struggle is not that I don’t love or care for them, it is that my heart is filled with jealousy and covetousness. Instead of finding contentment in my identity as a daughter of the High King, I scramble to find my identity in my success and happiness in comparison to the women who surround me.

What do you do when you feel like no one else understands?

Jesus understands. Initially, it may seem naïve by thinking, “Jesus is always the answer”, when in all honesty, He is! Do you sometimes feel like you are struggling with comparison because you are the only one who is not in the same season as those around you? Jesus was fully God and fully man; He knew things and did things no one else could fully understand. Many times Jesus was “alone” in what He did and said; however, because Jesus knew His identity, He knew there was no need for comparison. You might say, “Well, that’s because He is Jesus.” Okay, I’ll give you that, however, as a believer and follower of Christ… once you have accepted Christ, your life is no longer your own, you are made new and you are filled with the Holy Spirit. The same Spirit that dwells inside Jesus is the same Spirit that dwells inside of you.  Let that sink in for a moment.

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.
— Romans 8:9 NIV

If you have surrendered and are a follower of Christ, the Spirit of God lives in you. It should be comforting to know that you have the very Spirit of the Most High living in you. The text continues on into Romans 8:11 where it says, “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you.” No matter who you are comparing yourself to, you have the same Spirit in you as Jesus. This makes you unbelievably incredible. God has different paths mapped out for each and every one of us; and yours is perfect for you, trust that the Spirit is leading you where you need to be.

In the moments you feel you are struggling most with comparison, cry out to the Lord. Ask to be constantly reminded of His love for you and that the plans He has for you are good. It might appear to be easier to just complain and feel sorry for yourself in these situations; however, be reminded that His way for you is far better than you could ever have for yourself.

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.
— Proverbs 16:9

I do this every day, I am a planner. I need to know what today, this week, and this year hold for me; however, Jeremiah 17:9 says,  “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.”

You might think you know what is best for you, where you should be and what you should be doing, but your heart is naturally filled with sin.

So what can you do, then? Well, the easiest way is to trust that the Lord has amazing plans for your life, even… no…especially when it does not appear so. I know there are certain situations where trusting in the Lord’s plans is the hardest thing to do. But our God is a personal, sovereign, and loving God and He wants to take care of us.

Photo Credit: Karen Whisler

Photo Credit: Karen Whisler

‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’
— Jeremiah 29:11

Recently, I was talking to a dear friend of mine about our struggles with comparison. She told me when thinking about her “lot” in life, she clings to Psalm 16:1-2 where it says, “Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord 'You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.'” She shared with me two thoughts she has toward this verse:

First she said, “I need Him to sustain me when I compare.” How encouraging is that? Instead of feeling sorry for herself, she reminds herself that when she is struggling with comparison, she needs the Lord to sustain her because she cannot.

Secondly, “Apart from God, I have no good. He is the only one who will satisfy, so whenever I want something that someone else has, I try to remember He would give it to me if it was good for me.”

Rest in the Lord today and trust that the path He has you on right now is perfect for you; the path He has your best friend is perfect for them. God’s beautiful story would not be glorifying if everyone’s lives looked identical.