If it’s the End of the Year & You’re Not Where You Want to Be

December is always weird for me.
It’s one of my absolute FAVORITE months of the year, yet it’s also the month that a little part of me dreads.
I LOVE all the holiday magic, tree lightings, Christmas music everywhere, celebrations, and that the whole world seems to be a little more cheerful.
But December is also the month of my birthday and the last month of the year.
It kinda feels like a ticking time bomb.

I’m really big on starting each year writing out goals I plan to achieve, milestones I want to hit that year, and big miracles I’m believing with all my heart for God to make happen.
And as November and December start approaching, amidst all the holiday excitement, I also start to well up with a ton of pressure and worry.

Like, “Oh gosh, self, hurry up and get your life together before the clock strikes midnight on the 31st, or else you can consider this year a flop.”
Ever since high school, I’ve had this picture-perfect image in my head of how my life was supposed to pan out–Graduate college by 21 or 22, be in love and financially independent by 23, married by 26, be building an amazing ministry or career by 27, have kids by 28 or 29…and so far, every December, each milestone expectation that I’ve put on myself–that I’ve put on GOD–has been flung out the window. And each year as December rolls around, I’ve felt just a little more disappointed in myself…a little more disappointed in God.

But I’ve decided this year will be different.

It’s like something clicked and my eyes are being opened to how life actually works. This year I’ve noticed no one is actually living the life we think everyone is living.

As often as I tell people, “Don’t compare yourself to others,” and as many times as I’ve seen, “Comparison is the thief of joy,” in cute hand-lettered writing on Instagram, it’s like I’m actually finally getting it.

Maybe you do this too, but I realized I’ve taken bits and pieces from lots of different people’s lives and adopted them all as my own mental timeline.
Like, “That guy from high school got his Masters Degree by 23.”
And, “That girl was financially independent from her parents and had her own place at 22.”
And, “Worship-leading became her full-time thing in her mid-twenties.”
And, “That married couple is my age and already has a kid…”

It’s created this pressure in the back of my mind to make it all happen, but the truth is, none of them are even “making it all happen.”

The guy who got his Masters at 23 moved back home to start paying off student loans.
The girl living on her own at 22 was able to do so because she decided not to go to college and began working full-time.
While that singer started recording albums at 24, that other woman’s ministry exploded in her 50s with her husband.
The married couple with a kid has moved like 4 times this year and then back in with their in-laws to save money.

No one is actually doing EVERYTHING all at once, and yet each of those lives are beautiful! So why have I been holding myself to this impossible standard of living a perfect life?

No matter how perfect you think someone’s life is, or how cool it looks on Instagram, the truth is we’re all just living REAL lives. You can see what’s been captured on the outside, but you can’t see what’s going through their minds on the inside. The people you’re subconsciously comparing yourself to also have worries, areas they feel like they’re falling short in, insecurities they’re trying to cover up, maybe relationship drama, family drama, maybe a painful past they’re running from, or breakthrough they’re desperately waiting for too. We’re all human.

Life is only as fulfilling as you think it is. It’s in our heads.
So I’m working to change the narrative in mine.

Just like I admire things that other people have, there might be parts of my life that make it seem like everything’s perfect. But the truth is, I’m just trying my best to figure things out too. I’m super thankful for opportunities I’ve gotten as a young adult to discover and start living out some of my passions. But the flip side is there are a lot of other areas of my life I feel like I’m “failing” at. Well, until now. I’m 25, graduating this weekend (!!!), college took longer than planned because I invested so much time doing unpaid things I love, I’m currently living with my parents, trying to figure out what career path to take, trying to become financially independent, single, and I have big dreams that I am trying to work hard towards while also trusting God with them.

While I’ve spent so much of the past few years beating myself up for things not turning out like I had expected, I’m learning to say, “Hey, it’s okay! In fact, it’s perfect. I have followed God’s leading, and this is the story He is writing for MY life. And all of His ways are perfect. So who am I to waste time being disappointed when I should be CELEBRATING all that He’s doing?”

I’m doing great.
You’re doing great.

Where you are is right where you’re supposed to be.
Everything you’ve gone through up to this point was meant to grow you and build you into a stronger, more whole person than you would’ve been had your life turned out exactly like you planned.

I’m seeing that life is made up of maybe 10% massively life-altering days and like 90% small, gradual change everyday.
No, the way your life looks today isn’t how it’s supposed to look for the rest of your life, but today is perfect for today. And tomorrow will be perfect for tomorrow. And over time, you’ll see that every day added up to growth and life change.

So life will keep moving.
It won’t be today forever.
So while it is, enjoy it.

Love,
Angela

P.S. – If you’re waiting on a promise, God is not confined to our calendar year. To Him, the difference between December 31st and January 1st is just another day. So just because you didn’t see your breakthrough this “year” does not mean it isn’t coming. You’re closer to it than you’ve ever been, friend!

Comments

  1. DENIS ADONIN
    December 25, 2018 / 1:08 pm

    It’s refreshing to hear that some of the people that seem to have perfect lives on the outside, (if you follow their Facebook page), also have issues and face problem’s. It makes other’s feel like there is something wrong with them like they are cursed. But many times it’s just part of life. Unfortunately almost no one talks about their challenges. I wish more people did. It would make life easier to bare at hard times, and people would feel more connected to others knowing they are not alone in their struggles, and won’t have to hide in their distress.

  2. Hannah Johnson
    December 13, 2018 / 8:11 pm

    Hey Angela,
    This post was so special and impactful for me! Everything you wrote has been thoughts fluttering in my mind and heart over the past several years.
    I am in a similar boat- 25, recent graduate, single, living at home, pursuing worship ministry. It is SO TRUE that we combine the most perfect bits from everyone else’s lives to create an impossible roadmap for ourselves. Love the new perspective you are taking on the 90 vs 10 percent. God is still good even when we are waiting on promises from Him.
    Thank you for sharing, I’m the person that needed to hear this!

    • angelamanzanares
      December 13, 2018 / 9:45 pm

      Ahh 😭❤️ thank you so much for your kind words! That means so much, and I’m so glad you were encouraged! Girl, it sounds like you’re killin’ it. You’ve already accomplished so much, and this is just the beginning. Excited to see how things keep unfolding for you ❤️

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *