As 2019 comes to a close and we begin to prepare for setting all our 2020 goals, sometimes a belief pops up. “I should be further along by now in my life.”
You had all those plans for 2019 and not all of them got accomplished.
However, you STILL haven’t gotten the promotion at work even though you’ve been busting your butt. You walk away from your desk every Friday feeling defeated and rejected.
The weight of your student loan debt (and if you’re honest, that little bit of credit card debt) STILL looms over your head every time you go shopping. You wonder if you “should” buy the brand-name ice cream or just go with the off-brand stuff so you can pay off an extra 53 cents this month.
All your friends are engaged or married. Some of them are even parents. Their photos are all over Instagram, and it reminds you that you’re still not married. Your mom asks you weekly if you’re dating anyone. After all, you are 31…
The thought “I should have ________________ by now” is constantly in the back of your mind.
Uh huh, I see you.
The truth is YOU put a timelines on your life, of where YOU think you’re supposed to be in life right now. YOU put expectations on your life and expiration dates on your goals.
And when that doesn’t line up with your current reality, you beat yourself up.
You’re not alone in this. Even as a life coach who “knows better,” I sometimes am guilty of this too.
Can I tell you a secret?
God never put a timeline on our lives. He never said, “I expect you to have done XYZ by the time your 30 or done this, this, AND this by the time your 40 or 50 or whatever!”
God doesn’t think you’re behind. He isn’t disappointed with you. God isn’t mad that you still don’t “have it all together.” God isn’t surprised by what you have or haven’t accomplished, because HE CREATED YOU! He knows your capacity even better than you do.
Yet we think because we’re disappointed in ourselves, God is also disappointed.
Our own negative self-talk can be more damaging than the emotional abuse healed on us by a
hateful parent. It’s also far more insidious because there’s nobody there to stop it, since we rarely even realize it’s happening. Beating ourselves up about all the things we think we’re doing wrong becomes a litany of white noise. Eventually we don’t hear it anymore.” – Rachel Hollis
Then, we do the exact same thing with all of our own negative self-talk. We project our own negative self-talk onto the face of God and call it religion or Truth.
Friends, God does not have unrealistic expectations for your life. His timeline for your life is perfect. On His timeline, you are exactly where you’re supposed to be. Why? Because God has perfect timing.
Honestly, if you asked me where I’d be right now, I would have told you that I expected to be a pastor at a mid-sized church.
Guess who is really behind on that timeline? Me.
Guess who got fired from her pastoring job? Me.
Guess who applied for more ministry jobs and it never worked out? Yet again, me.
On what I thought was the timeline of my life, I was behind.
I was disappointed because I didn’t meet own expectations. And because I was disappointed with myself, I thought God was disappointed with me too.
But here’s the beauty of it all, my life is a hundred times better right now because that timeline of my life got shot to pieces.
I got to work for one of the leading dog trainers in the U.S. I got to experience radical healing from trauma and unimaginable amounts of personal growth. Eventually, I got to get certified as a life coach, and now, I get to influence, coach, and support more people than I ever would have through a single church.
I supposed God is pretty cool like that.
QUESTION: How do we practically break the timeline off our lives?
First of all, you have to understand that it takes time to get rid of beliefs that don’t serve you. If you’re 32 and you spent your whole life thinking you’d be married by 27, that’s an entire 5 years of believing that you’re behind on your timeline. Five years of conditioning cannot be undone in a split second.
However, here are some action steps that can being to help you break the timelines off your life that keep you feeling like you’re failing…
1 – Make a list of everything you have accomplished.
Seriously, everything. It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small. Write it down anyways. Then, go and celebrate all those things. Look at just how much you have accomplished. Do this for your entire life and then maybe do it once a week as well.
2 – Celebrate the small things.
You took ONE step towards your goal? Celebrate it! You got out of bed even when you didn’t want to? Partay! You went to the gym and lifted weights for 15 minutes? Good for you! Don’t just celebrate the big milestones or when you accomplish your big goals. Celebrate the small things too.
3 – Set goals, not time limits.
Okay, lots of people say you should set deadlines on your goals, so you don’t procrastinate but it doesn’t HAVE to be that way. When setting a goal, there’s 2 ways to achieve it. You should probably do both. First, create sustainable habits. Second, take massive actions steps as you have capacity. This ensures you get to your goal without too much procrastination.
4 – Create a list of everything you’re proud of yourself for.
They don’t have to necessarily be accomplishments, just stuff you’re proud of yourself for. Celebrate these things. Let yourself be proud!