Timelines. They take many forms and we all have them: career, fitness goals, and even ones for relationships. If you’re like some of us, you’ve probably thought once or twice, “I should be married with kids, a promotion and a house by now. Things just aren’t going according to plan.” It’s easy to get frustrated when what we see, planned, waited for, prepared for, and even prayed for, just doesn’t seem to be lining up — yet.
We can find hope by shifting our focus and changing the centerpiece around which we measure our timelines. Here are two steps to help you find contentment by tilting your timeline toward God:
1. Check your centerpiece.
Scripture teaches that we are “God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). However, sometimes we are doing all the right things, but with the wrong motives and focus.
We unknowingly make idols out of our desire to be married or getting that next job promotion, placing those things at the center of our lives and assumed source of our joy or happiness when only God can be that.
When we think of the timelines for our lives from a self-centered perspective, sometimes things don’t seem to line up. If an accomplishment is our centerpiece or the ultimate goal, we may feel like we’ve fallen behind when we thought we should have been “there” by now.
However, if fulfilling our purpose and bringing glory to God is our centerpiece, then we often find that we are further along than we thought. Either way, we must not grow weary in well doing (Galatians 6:9) for even during our frustrations God is working.
Here are some ways to identify your centerpiece:
Determine what you want most and focus on that. God’s purpose for your life may include marriage or the next big career move, but your purpose won’t be exclusively that. It’s important to take time to determine the full picture of what you want most to fulfill your purpose.
Do a heart check. Ask God to reveal any idols you may have so they can be removed, and He can be restored as the center of your affections.
Ask questions to define your why? Why do you want that goal (fulfillment, provision, validation etc.)? How can you seek those things in your relationship with God now?
Seek out your why. In your quiet time with God, use prayer, meditation, journaling, etc. to find those answers.
2. Recognize the purpose in your preparation season.
If we are being used, molded, sanctified, and growing daily in our walk, and purpose is the marker by which we measure our timelines, then we are headed in the right direction.
If through your struggle, disappointment, and even heartbreak, God is still getting the glory from your praise, vulnerability, surrender, and/or growth, keep going no matter what the circumstances may look like now.
Do not be discouraged or distracted by doubts, timelines (yours or others), family pressure, or any other temporary circumstances.
There is glory for God in your preparation process — look at David. The testimony God will use to bless someone tomorrow is the same one being written in your life today.
Here are some ways to keep focused during your preparation season:
Ask God how you can honor him in your current season. Where does He want to use you most?
Check your heart — make sure you are truly available to be used. Pray consistently, listen, and remain open for God’s direction and guidance toward your purpose.
Seek first the Kingdom. Scripture instructs us that above all else (goals and timelines included), to seek first the Kingdom of God and all things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33).
We can rest knowing that becoming who God has called us to be is the greatest source of fulfillment. We need to understand and know that God is the center of the most loving relationship we will ever have, and that being known and called by Him, first and foremost, is the most precious title we can ever hold. Keeping our gaze on him corrects our timelines and keeps us moving toward purpose with a peace that replaces impatience.