By Barb Stanley
So, have you ever had one of those moments that stopped you cold and made you realize that things in your life didn’t turn out as you thought they would? And you found yourself staring off into space with this question on your mind, “How, exactly, did I end up here?”
Well, I just had one of those moments.
Yesterday, I woke up feeling groggy and unfocused (thanks middle-age). I also woke up with a feeling of dread about the tremendously long to-do list of things that I had been putting off until the end of the month that were all due at the end of the month. And with the end of the month being tomorrow, I needed a plan to tackle my list, so I decided to start with the easy stuff. Which is where my moment of reckoning began.
For me, creative work, like animating and editing is the fun stuff. Usually, I can lose myself for hours at a time in iMovie and come out feeling refreshed and energized. So, this is where I decided to start my list, editing our next Wonderful Works Ministry video. Only, after I sat down and hit play, did I realize that there were a few things about the footage that I had forgotten. So this is what I saw:
My face - super sized like a biggie fry, accidentally cropped to take up the Whole. Entire. Screen. In fact, my on screen face was bigger than my real life face, and every where I turned, I felt like my larger than life eyes followed me like a Scooby Doo painting. I was also smiling, and not your run-of-the mill, pleasant person smiling, either. I was smiling like I had just won the lottery, which was made all the worse by the fact that not only had I forgotten about the extra tight crop, in my foggy brain stupor, I had also forgotten about the particular subject matter of the video. So, as I stared down at my insanely large smiling mug, I heard myself, in the world’s most chipper voice, exclaim, “Let’s talk about going to the bathroom!”
“How, exactly, did I end up here?”
Making mini-movies for the world to see that feature my middle aged face screaming gleefully about going potty was not where I thought I would end up in life. In fact, it’s a far crawl away from the powerful Art Directing/Advertising Executive that I had studied to become in college. Or the best-selling Children’s Book Author dream that I spent years and years chasing down. And it surely didn’t line up at all with any of the things the Magic Eight Ball had predicted during all those 7th grade sleepovers (I didn’t marry the cute boy from math class either).
In fact, almost nothing that I had planned turned out to be what has actually happened in my life. Instead, I ended up doing something completely different and becoming someone completely different than I would have ever expected. I ended up living out a future that I never planned.
But, while I sat there pondering my life choices, I realized something else, something even more important. When I really stopped and thought about things, it turns out that many of the biggest blessings of my life were all the hopes and dreams that didn’t work out. The disappointments that at the time felt crushing, another rejection letter, another ignored resume, another job offer that was a tough decision but had to go to someone else. Those things, even when they felt painful and defeating, turned out to be for the best. Because if I had become successful at all the things that I really wanted in different seasons of my life, world’s shortest supermodel, award winning special effects artist, cast member on Gilligan’s Island (when I was four I wanted to grow up to be Ginger - don’t judge). I would have missed out on all the experiences and beautiful people that I ended up having in my actual life, because it turns out: Sometimes the best place we can end up is the place we never planned to go.
And I believe this is true for you too. You may not be shouting about the bathroom to people in Sweden, but your life probably turned out in ways that you would have never expected too. And like me, some of those things have been hard, and some of those things have been amazing, but all of those things are uniquely yours. And when we stop comparing ourselves to the people that we thought we should be, then we can appreciate the people that we actually are. And when we stop focusing on the disappointments in our lives, we can appreciate the blessings that they lead to, instead.
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. - Jeremiah 29:11
So, wherever you are today, I hope this for you. If you are facing disappointment, remember that sometimes good opportunities have to be missed to make room for the better ones to come (just like me, every disappointment in life lead me here, and don't be fooled I love making mini-movies, even when they are about the bathroom.). If you are happy with where you are in life, cherish this and remember it when the disappointments come later. If you are groggy and unfocused then have a cup of coffee and think of me, because I am still right there with you. And if you are just wondering, why in the world I made a video about going to the bathroom, then join our Wonderful Works Facebook Group or check out our Youtube channel and find out next Wednesday. Spoiler alert, I did fix the crop on my face, but I am still smiling like I just won the lottery, because in a weird way, I feel like I have.