Setting myself up for Disappointment Converge magazine
Life Wellness

Setting myself up for disappointment

I’ve been thinking about my life lately. Actually, I’ve been thinking about it constantly. Instead of living life, I’ve been contemplating it.

I’m 24 and I feel as though I’ve reached a quarter-life crisis. If I speak those words, people only tell me I’m too young for that nonsense. They say, “You’ve got your whole life ahead of you,” or, “You’ve got the world by the tail!” or, “You can do anything you want.”

The truth is, I don’t feel that way at all.  I don’t feel as though I can do anything I want or that I’ve got the world by the tail. It’s only in fairytales or movies when people do the things they want.

What’s worse is when people say those words I think they really only mean I can do anything I want…as long as it fits within their ideal of a perfect life for me.

The reality is I can’t do anything I want. I have college debt and responsibility, not to mention a sense of perfectionism nagging at me all the way through my day. I feel as though I’m a caged bird and the master is saying, “You’re lucky…you have a home, food, family, friends…be happy.”

I should be content, but I’ve never been so discouraged in my life. I find a new day to be a repeat of the last, and I’m growing more sick of it by the hour.

There are many things I’d like to do and I could list them all out ad nauseam. But the point is that I can’t. I have lived a life of responsibility, living within what’s expected, but harbouring anger for others who get to do what they want. (If you resonate, read Timothy Keller’s The Prodigal God).

I can’t make choices because I’m too afraid I’ll make the wrong one and ruin the rest of my life, literally.

It’s easier to live with no hope and not be disappointed than to live with it and feel the blow of defeat.  At least that’s what I’ve been telling myself.

So why am I in such a state of disappointment when the goal is to beat it?

So therein lies my prison: having my own desires, being afraid of disappointment that my desires won’t be realized, trying to explain my decisions to myself, and living a new day of frustration.

The thing is, I’ve been ignoring the possibility that if I trust God, He’ll make my desires His desires.

Looking at my life in its entirety is a fearsome thing. What have done? What am I doing? Where am I going? Those are questions I have difficulty answering.

But what if I could go back to the beginning and believe Christ when He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you?”

I already know the answer to that. I’d start my day with a clearer mind and a confidence I didn’t have the day before. I might even ask God where I could meet Him instead of asking where He could meet me.

I might make a decision to let His desires be mine, and as a result I might break free from this prison.

Even though it’s a terrifying thought, I might even find joy and contentment.

Photo by  Bhumika.B, Flickr CC