You're Never Behind
Do you ever feel like you’re behind? Like you are far away from where you “should” be? I believe that too many of us are struggling to flourish in the season we’re in because we feel “behind.” Whether it’s imposed by others or ourselves, there is a tug and tension between where we are and where we want to be. I experience this in my own life.
Ever since I was young, there has been a haunting voice that constantly reminds me of how behind I am. It makes me impatient. It makes me discontent, yearning for the next season. And even to this day, that same voice will make me doubt myself and where God has me. “Are you sure you made the right decision? You should be here right now. You should be making this amount of money. You should be married. Your life should look like this. What’s taking so long?! Girl, you are so behind!”
You may be very familiar with this voice. Maybe she taunts you too, reminding you of your failures, reminding you of your disappointments, reminding you of what could be if you were where you wanted to be. And the world doesn’t make it easier. Not only do you have family members breathing their expectations down your throat, now you have to fight the expectation to live this Instagram-worthy life. A life that should be coveted by scrolling and tapping through 30-second videos and like-worthy highlight reels. Your friends are getting engaged. Old classmates are excelling in their careers, and your favorite influencer is traveling the world, making money effortlessly, and living her best life. And then there’s you. What do you have going on for you? And as you list out every disappointment, every failure, every heartbreak, every missed opportunity, you slip further and further into this constant state of feeling “behind.”
As I entered into this New Year, I was already feeling behind. I had so much to catch up on with work and on top of that, I was feeling really frustrated with my business. “God, are you sure you want me to do this? Did I make the right decision? I’m feeling really behind.” And on top of that, I thought I would be engaged and settled in this city by now. So when God placed the word “rooted” on my heart, I wanted to lean into that. I didn’t want to feel behind. I wanted to feel rooted. I wanted to have this grounding sense of peace, contentment, and gratitude toward the season I’m in.
So I began to do the heart work. I sought out on this journey to discover what it means to be rooted, what it means to not feel behind. And although I’m still in the thick of it, I thought I would share what I’ve learned so far on feeling “behind.”
Feeling behind is harmful toward our growth.
"If we’re comparing ourselves to other flawed human beings, who often don’t share the full side of their story, we’re basically measuring ourselves based on false advertising."
More often than not, actual people aren’t telling us we’re behind: comparison does. We look at what and how everyone else is doing, and we immediately start wishing our season away because we’re not where they are. We’re not doing as well as them. Somehow, we’ve let social media and comparison be our measuring tape, and when we compare ourselves to those measurements, we’re just not there yet. So, therefore, we try to rush and fix ourselves to fit this standard of who we should be and what we should be doing.
But it’s harmful and unwise when we look at other people’s lives to gauge where we should be. Paul warns us how we miss the point when we do this, “Oh, don’t worry; we wouldn’t dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant!” (2 Corinthians 10:12)
If we’re comparing ourselves to other flawed human beings, who often don’t share the full side of their story, we’re basically measuring ourselves based on false advertising. That’s why it’s so important that we measure where we are based on Truth. What does God say about you? Where does God want you to be?
"The only way we can truly flourish is to take a step back and allow God to develop deep roots that are planted in His Truth, not unrealistic and ill-appointed expectations."
As Banning Liebscher explains in his book Rooted, “It’s easy to compare where you are with where you want to be and feel a ton of pressure and fear to close the gap in between.” The only way we can truly flourish is to take a step back and allow God to develop deep roots that are planted in His Truth, not unrealistic and ill-appointed expectations.
God is not bound by the essence of time.
When we’re feeling behind, we must remember that God is not limited by time. He created the days, weeks, months, years, and seasons for our distinction (see Genesis 1:14-19), but God doesn’t work according to our timetable or schedule. It says in Psalm 90:4 that “for you, a thousand years are as a passing day, as brief as a few night hours,” and 2 Peter 3:8 reminds us of the same truth, “But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is a like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day.” Clearly, God runs on His OWN time. Therefore, what He can do is not limited by our time, resources, or situation.
He is not pressured by our impatience. He’s not moved by our temper tantrums, and He’s certainly not impressed with our plans. Why? Because our omniscient God knows everything. He knows what we need when we need it and how He’s going to get it to us. His timing is perfect. He just wants us to trust Him with it. The key to being content and at peace with where you are is to realize, accept, and appreciate God’s perfect timing. That’s why He’s always urging us to trust and wait on Him. Now the question is will we do it?
Flourish where you are.
The best way to not feel behind is to flourish where you are. Now, flourishing doesn’t mean there won’t be times where you’ll experience adverse growing conditions. There may be sweltering heat, dry grounds, and even seasons of drought, but that is all a part of the growing process. As long as you’re rooted — rooted in the Word, in the church, & the season where He’s planted you, you will grow and bear the fruit that He has for you.
Those who are rooted in the Lord will flourish in the Lord: “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8)
I don’t know about you, but I want to be like that tree Jeremiah described. When that tree was a sapling, it wasn’t wishing its season away. It wasn’t feeling behind because it was a baby, surrounded by full-grown trees. No, it embraced its season. It focused on developing deep roots and growing right where it was planted. It wasn’t behind. It was right on time with its growth schedule. It kept growing and flourishing where it was planted.
Wherever you are, you’re exactly where you need to be. You’re not behind. Wherever you want to be, trust that God will get you there in His time. Don’t rush it. Don’t be out of season. Embrace where you are. Flourish where you are, because when you are on God’s schedule, you’re never behind.