“The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation. I am the Lord; in its time I will do this swiftly.”
“There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens”
It’s so easy to praise God when things are going our way. It’s easy to give celebrations, invite others into our lives, and share our testimonies when things appear to go perfectly right. However, we often find out what we are made of when things don’t go our way. We can tell the real from the fake when people are quick to share their triumphs without much regard to their obstacles. But our God is a god over obstacles. He doesn’t take pleasure in seeing us suffer but he is looking for opportunities to work in our lives.
I believe that social media is the greatest gift and curse to the world. It’s wonderful because it allows us to connect with people we wouldn’t usually talk to, maintain our relationships from a distance, share beautiful parts of our lives, inform one another of what’s going on in the world, and etc. It’s terrible because it’s extremely skewed and biased most of the time. Most of what you see on social media has been geared towards your interest. You may recall a few years ago when the debate of net neutrality was going into effect. What net neutrality did was allow business and corporations to have access to what we search, how long we look at content, and what content is best appropriate for us to create marketing strategies (if you didn’t already know this — surprise!). The most obvious places to see net neutrality is on Instagram and Google. It works excellent for businesses but not so much for us little guys at the bottom. As individualized as we try to appear, we are very much naïve and easily manipulated in the Western world. We live, think, move, and buy with our eyes. Once we like what we see, we lust after it. We often covet what we don’t have because of our large appetite for the ungodliest of things but our desires aren’t always so bad, just misguided.
For me, at times I have to take a break from social media, specifically Instagram. I love Instagram because I love the beautiful images that people share. They make me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside, give me different perspectives, inspire me, and give me better ideas for my own portfolio. However, Instagram can make me feel like the worst person on earth. Instagram shows me beautiful people living glamorous lives that I just don’t live. I have successful model friends, successful photographer friends, successful blogger friends, successful business friends, successful food friends, and the list goes on and on. They’re all beautiful people and things to look at but at the same time they make me hate myself and my life. It’s nothing wrong with them — remember net neutrality that I mentioned earlier? Algorithms have been designed to create hunger in my eyes and lust in my heart to want things that I can’t or shouldn’t have. Think about it: if people only post the best parts of themselves and their lives, how difficult is it to not become a little jealous?
Sometimes it’s not just jealousy but hurt. A feeling of hurt or disappointment can become created when God blesses someone else for something you believe you rightfully deserve. And you know what? You might actually deserve what you desire! However, we have to understand that God is a god of order and timing. God is like the Amazon delivery person: you might have ordered the same product as someone else but that doesn’t mean it’s being delivered at the same time (or in the same way). I’m five weeks from graduation when I “should have” been graduating almost two years ago. I applied to three graduate programs and my dream program denied my application. I’ll be working in a state that was at the bottom of my most desirable places to live list. I could go on about the hurt and disappointment that I’ve faced within the last few years and months but instead I want to encourage you to change your perspective just as I did.
God tells us that in its time (whatever it is in your life), He will make it happen. This is an unconditional promise. God has ordered our steps so perfectly that we cannot even conceive what He’s got going on behind the scenes. He has not forgotten your prayers, He hears your cries, and He knows your desires. He didn’t send your blessing to the wrong doorstep — what He has for you is on the way! Repeat that again and again until you believe it. See, when I read that denial letter, I was hurt but I knew that it just wasn’t my time to shine in this area. We are multifaceted beings, there are multiple parts of us and places in our lives that God wants to touch but when we focus in too heavily on one area, we miss all of the other opportunities that God has in store.
Don’t focus in on the bad, even when it hurts, focus in on God. Cast everything that you care about at His feet and then let it go, step forward into the other areas of your life that are worthy to be praised. If you’re struggling with finances right now, thank God for the needs He has met. If you’re desiring an intimate relationship, thank God for those friends and loved one’s that you do have. If you want that new job, thank God for the one that you do have (even if it is wrecking your nerves). Are God’s blessings conditional? No, they’re paid for in full because He loves us. But the perfect remedy to a jealous heart is gratitude. Be grateful for what’s in front of you and be patient for the things that lie beyond you.