If You Feel Behind, Read This…
It was a typical Tuesday-night get-together with three of my closest friends. Every week, we meet to we catch up on our weeks and sometimes vent about work. Sometimes there’s a lot to share. Other times we talk about a passage of Scripture or a book we are reading together. It’s one of my favorite times of the week. However, a lot had changed in the last few weeks since we had to the chance to all be together. One friend had a baby, and another got married; the third friend was sharing about an exciting new job opportunity.
While I held my friend’s baby, in a beautiful new home she owned, and listened to all the news I was genuinely so thrilled to hear, I felt myself start to panic.
I had nothing new to share.
Not one thing. Nothing noteworthy happened in the weeks since we had all seen each other. I didn’t even have the prospect of a husband, baby or promotion coming. All I could think about was the milestone 30th birthday that was fast approaching and how we were all going to start a new decade of our lives in very. different. places.
The lie looped on repeat in my head: I’m behind.
It was paralyzing because I couldn’t fix it. It was just my reality. We were physically sitting in the same room, but I couldn’t feel any further away from them than I did in that moment. More than feeling behind; I worried I was going to get left behind.
From that moment on, I’d never “catch up” to where they were. And that made me feel both sad, and scared. Sad, because they all were living things I desperately wanted and was unsure if I would ever get. Scared, because if they kept moving forward, would they leave me behind?
Do you ever feel like I do, like everyone is moving on without you? Like everyone is graduating to a new phase of life, and you’re stuck where you are? Whether it’s watching another friend get married or have a baby, or finding out someone you know is buying a home, it’s easy to look around and wonder: Did I miss something?
In those moments, I often question myself. Was I not in the right city or at the right job? Did I miss what God was calling me to do? Why does it seem like things are happening for everyone else but me?
What do we do with those questions? We spend so much time looking at what everyone else has or is doing.
And I’m afraid we are missing out on the best parts of life because we are stuck wishing for someone else’s.
But what if there’s a better way to live? A way to stop feeling behind and like we are striving to catch up?
What if we learned to love the places we live without wishing for something bigger, better or that we were somewhere else?
What if we embraced the things we are good at, do for work and for fun instead of looking at what everyone online is doing?
What if we built real, authentic community with the people in front of us instead of feeling left out?
What if we found confidence in the race God marked for us instead of trying to chase another one?
It’s possible. More than that, I think it’s urgent. Because the enemy would love nothing more than to slow you down, sideline you or make you want to quit. But you have a part to play in building the kingdom of God, and it’s really hard to do that if you’re distracted by feeling behind.
Psalm 27:13 tells us where we can place our confidence when we feel behind: “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.”
When I reflect on this verse, I know those questions I ask myself aren’t true. I can see glimpses of the goodness of God right now. I can see some of the ways He has been working out the details of my life along the way. And when I pause to reflect on this, I remember life is not about getting to the next destination or graduating to another life phase; it’s about being faithful with what’s in front of you and around you right now. (Hebrews 11:13)
If you’re feeling “behind” today, here are four ways I’ve found encouragement to combat those lies:
- Pray with honesty. We can still be honest about what we long for even when we learn to enjoy what we have now. Prayer has the power to change things, so don’t stop asking and believing for God to move. (1 Peter 5:7)
- Put down social media. When we stop looking at what everyone else has or what they are doing, we are better able to love the life that’s right in front of us. (James 3:16)
- Practice gratitude. Slowing down long enough to appreciate the gifts God has already given makes us feel less like we are missing out on something. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
- Change your perspective. There are things in my life today that I used to pray for, and that perspective changes how I live. There are also things in my life that other people are praying for. (Hebrews 12:2)
These things won’t help you get ahead or crack the code to getting what you want, but they can help you learn to love the life God has placed you in.
There are still many days when I’m frustrated by things that haven’t changed in my life. But when we look back and see evidence of God’s faithfulness then, we can have confidence He is still being faithful now.
The next time you experience the fear of being behind, remember: You are not behind.
God is writing a story that is unique to YOU. It may not be the story you want, and it may not be in the timing you want, but He is not leaving you behind. Over and over, the Bible shows us He has not forgotten us. Like Romans 8:28 says, whatever He is working out behind the scenes is for your good and His glory.
We can surrender our plans and put our trust in His capable hands. He is not going to leave us where we are, but rather, take us to where He wants us to be.
Meghan Ryan is an author and hype girl for people getting out of their comfort zones so they don’t miss the best part of life. A Florida beach girl born and raised, she currently lives in Charlotte, NC and works as the Promotional Copy Writer for Proverbs 31 Ministries. Her passion is for helping people find and live out their God-given callings. She’s worked in ministry on college campuses and internationally. When she’s not surrounded by friends, you can usually find her reading a book, doing something outdoors or teaching a Pure Barre class. Her first book releases in 2024 and you can connect with her on Instagram @meghanmryan and at alwaysmeghan.com.