Married at 21

I had my life planned out by the time I was 14.

Be a graphic designer.
My love of art and computers made this decision easy. And going into high school, digital art was just becoming popular.

Go to college at MNU.
After all, being a Nazarene in the midwest meant you were destined to go to MNU or another Nazarene school. The admissions department didn’t spend thousands of dollars on birthday postcards to send to 10-18 year olds for nothing.

Get married at 21.
In fact, get married in MAY when I was 21. I thought 21 would be a good age. Not too young, like 18, but not too old that you had to be independent at age 23 or something crazy like that.

Work in a church Communications department.
I thought I could use my talents in a place I really felt at home and passionate about.

Be a successful, influential woman.
I didn’t quite know what this meant, but I knew women who resembled what I wanted to be someday.

But life has a funny way of not turning out how you expected.

As I look through this list, I’m surprised to see that I’ve actually accomplished three of these things. And yet, I look at my life, and this is nothing how I imagined it turning out. Obviously even those “goals” didn’t play out as great as I had hoped. Sure, I’m in “a season” and “this too shall pass.” But really, I’m rather disappointed in how my life has turned out so far. Am I allowed to say that out loud?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely blessed. But I’m still disappointed. I look at this list, and even though things have been accomplished, this is nothing how I hoped my life would look like at 23. Goes to prove how great I am at planning my life at age 14. I didn’t really have goals beyond my 20’s. Which can make things tricky when you get past your early 20’s and have no idea what you’re supposed to do.

I’m not exactly sure what I had hoped “23” would look like, but I know it wasn’t this.

So how do I learn to be content with what God has given me? With where he’s placed me? With where he’s taking me? With who he’s made me? How do I give up my own goals and hopes and dreams and trust that, “in Him,” I am made complete? That He has a plan to give me hope for my future. Not to destroy me, but to help me prosper?

What do you do when your life doesn’t turn out as you’d hoped it would?


4 thoughts on “Married at 21

  1. My life isn’t what I’d imagined it would be at 25 either.. although, like you said, I’m not exactly sure what I thought it would look like. At some point in ’02, I remember writing out where I thought I’d be ten years from then — a sort of goals page, but slightly just more how I personally pictured my life panning out at that point in time. It was more my dreams at that moment than anything. I sealed up that list in an envelope to open in 10-years’ time, and it still sets in the bottom of one of my drawers, awaiting the day I will open it and see just how many different turns life has taken from what I expected at age 18.

    It’s interesting, though, that while I considered myself close to God at that time, I am pretty sure I didn’t pray about what I was writing of my dreams. Whereas.. since then, God has grown me much and drawn me closer and closer to Him.. and no matter how inconsequential a list of dreams I may be writing, I’d now seek after Him while writing — not to mention being more in tune with Him than I was then, so that I would be more apt to dream the dreams He has for me anyway.

    You thought you’d get married at 21.. I didn’t have an exact age picked out, but definitely thought it would be in my younger 20s. So much for that! πŸ˜‰

    I’m going to just guess that, at 23, you now have goals and dreams that extend beyond your 20s… Some days I’m content with where I am, while other days I am far from it. I know I’m way more content than I was at 18 though… Maybe just as we grow in Him and closer to Him, learning what it really means to trust Him to complete us, we learn to be content.

    Psalm 37:4.. “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” That is the only way I find I am honestly content — when I am delighted in the Lord and He is reworking my heart so that I desire what I need to be desiring.

  2. HI,
    I really don’t remember planning my life,but as I look back on it I really like the way it is, sure lots of unhappy times but so many more really GREAT times, I just remember my brother saying look around there is someone worse off, and that statment has got me thro a whole lot of hard times, I think of all you have done in your young life and think WOW
    ONE DAY at a time is the most I try to do now ,and thats all we should do.GOD is still in control even when we think we are.
    love ya lots

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