“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” Psalm 27:13 (NIV)
It was a typical Tuesday-night get-together with three of my closest friends. However, a lot had changed in the last few weeks. One friend had a baby, and another got married; the third friend was sharing about an exciting new job opportunity.
While I held my friend’s baby, in a beautiful new home she owned, and listened to all the news I was genuinely so thrilled to hear, I felt myself start to panic.
I had nothing new to share. I didn’t even have the prospect of a house, husband, baby or promotion coming.
The lie looped on repeat in my head: I’m behind.
Do you ever feel like I do, like everyone is moving on without you? Like everyone is graduating to a new phase of life, and you’re stuck where you are? Whether it’s watching another friend get married or have a baby, or finding out someone you know is buying a home, it’s easy to look around and wonder: Did I miss something?
In those moments, I often question myself. Was I not in the right city or at the right job? Did I miss what God was calling me to do? Why does it seem like things are happening for everyone else but me?
But Psalm 27:13 tells us where we can place our confidence when we feel behind: “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.”
When I reflect on this verse, I know those questions I ask myself aren’t true. I can see glimpses of the goodness of God right now. I can see some of the ways He has been working out the details of my life along the way. And when I pause to reflect on this, I remember life is not about getting to the next destination or graduating to another life phase; it’s about being faithful with what’s in front of you and around you right now. (Hebrews 11:13)
If you're feeling “behind” today, here are four ways I've found encouragement to combat those lies:
- Pray with honesty. We can still be honest about what we long for even when we learn to enjoy what we have now. Prayer has the power to change things, so don’t stop asking and believing for God to move. (1 Peter 5:7)
- Put down the social media. When we stop looking at what everyone else has or what they are doing, we are better able to love the life that’s right in front of us. (James 3:16)
- Practice gratitude. Slowing down long enough to appreciate the gifts God has already given makes us feel less like we are missing out on something. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
- Change your perspective. There are things in my life today that I used to pray for, and that perspective changes how I live. There are also things in my life that other people are praying for. (Hebrews 12:2)
There are still many days when I’m frustrated by things that haven’t changed in my life. But when we look back and see evidence of God’s faithfulness then, we can have confidence He is still being faithful now.
The next time you experience the fear of being behind, remember: You are not behind.
God is writing a story that is unique to YOU. It may not be the story you want, and it may not be in the timing you want, but He is not leaving you behind. Over and over, the Bible shows us He has not forgotten us. Like Romans 8:28 says, whatever He is working out behind the scenes is for your good and His glory.
God, when I feel behind, remind me that You have me right where You want me. When I’m tempted to look to the right or left and compare where I am to the people around me, help me look up to You instead. Thank You for the story You are writing for my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
Psalm 31:19, “How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you.” (NIV)
What is one way you can practice changing your perspective on your circumstances today?
What are some things you are grateful for right now?
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