I pull the door shut and lock it, feeling the now-familiar clink of the bolt finding its mark. The faint smell of marijuana thanks to the other tenants of the building our company rents- lingers despite the pine scented candles I have burning all the time.
Covering each candle, I extinguish their small flames before turning off the lights, locking the cash drawer. I check the time on my phone, and look past those digital numbers, focusing on a picture of my home… some 800 miles and two more months away.
An unexpected life.
I really never expected a life like this one.
Let’s be honest- we all have expectations for how our lives are going to go. Those expectations can be casual assumptions, wild fantasies, things we’ve planned and worked toward. Sometimes, those expectations are met… sometimes not.
My life reads like a series of expectation obituaries. Most of my plans, most of the things I just assumed would be part of my life, all those expectations have died.
Killed by reality.
I could list them all for you, all the things I never expected- a nomadic lifestyle of six months in one place, six in another; this job that chose me; infertility stealing my dreams of a big family; more.
So many more.
We’ve all got our lists of the unexpected. You have one, too.
But the list of unmet expectations matters much less than what we do with that list.
See, I’m learning that it’s so easy for me to hold up my unexpected life to God in anger.
It’s so easy.
Expectations are tricky that way.
Especially on days when I’m overwhelmed, when I grieve, when I’m tired or hungry, it’s so easy to allow my expectations to harden our hearts. I do it all the time. I wanted my life to look a certain way, and it doesn’t, and so I’m inclined to believe that God is withholding and I shake my fists at Him.Sometimes our dreams aren't His plans. #fiercelyHis #fierceFriday Click To Tweet
I lift up my hands full of complaints and grumbling and ask, How is this better than my plans? and Why is this what You’ve given me? and sometimes, Why can’t I have a life like hers?
But there’s another way.
It’s a fight.
And in the end, He wins.
I pry my fingers loose one by one, open palms, open heart. I hold my hands open to receive what’s given, not what’s expected.
Open palms, open heart.
And I remember that contentment is a struggle and retraining my mind to the truths of God’s goodness to me is a process, slow and painstaking. I can give in to the sore spots of the way I thought it should be rather than the way it is. I can give in to the whispers of the evil one telling me who I am.
Or I can keep trying.You can let discontent cloud your vision & make life miserable or you can keep trying.… Click To Tweet
I’m trying to keep asking, What do You have for me here?
Because ultimately, my life is like dust the wind blows away, and what He has ordained lasts forever.
So what does He have for me here?
For some of my unexpected life, there are answers.
My high-school-self had life turned upside down when my family moved, but I met my husband there.
This crazy job (at a snowmobile touring company, of all things) is the last place I expected to be, but here I am, breathing a small bit of Life into these scruffy young men and showing them a small taste of God’s love.
For some of my life, there are no answers to the questions; yet.
But I can do one of two things- I get the choice. I can close my fists around my dreams and my plans and refuse- refuse to surrender them to the One who knows everything.
Or, I can keep my hands open, palms up, waiting for the adventure He has in store for me.
Ally Vermeer is an accidental country girl who splits her time between the cornfields of Iowa and the snowy mountain passes of Colorado. She strives to find beauty in the everyday, find God’s gifts in the unexpected, and find her phone (where’d she leave it this time?). Ally writes about faith, her family, her farmhouse, and counts her blessings (even the speckled ones) at The Speckled Goat. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
See what I mean? Isn’t she admirable? I applaud you Ally, for following His leading even when it feels uncomfortable!
Ally is a fighter. And she is #fiercelyHis
I always enjoy hearing from you! Please take a minute to say ‘hi’ and share your thoughts about Ally’s story below. Can you relate?
Also, would you do me a favor —if you resonate with this article or it has helped you today— would you share it with someone else? Maybe a friend, coworker, or family member…?
You might also enjoy these related articles: