Have you ever noticed how some people seem to live life searching for “what’s next”?
You know how it goes…
First, it’s to graduate high school. Check. Then it’s go to college. Check. Graduate. Check. Get married, buy a home, and have babies. Check, check, check!
I have been guilty of this phenomenon myself.
You all know that I love setting goals and that having healthy goals is a good thing. However, there is more to life than a check list titled “Life’s To-Do’s” with boxes for us to check off each time one of these events happens. This is what I’m calling the “What’s Next” syndrome.
The “What’s Next” syndrome is dangerous because life is unpredictable and doesn’t generally turn out how we planned. The danger is what happens to us when life doesn’t happen the way we have planned?
What if college doesn’t work out? What happens when a baby comes before marriage or marriage doesn’t happen at all?
Are we losers when things don’t work out the way we had them played out how we planned? Do we give up and just decide that’s the way it’s going to be?
I have suffered from the “What’s Next” syndrome and I’ve seen many of my friends do the same in their own lives.
When my first marriage fell apart, I was shattered, and so were my plans and many of my goals I had for myself and my family. I’d gotten married, had a college degree, owned home, had a baby, suffered through a miscarriage, and had 3 more babies.
Divorce wasn’t on my to-do list. Being a single mother wasn’t, either. Having to split holidays, weekends, and summer vacation were never on my to-do list either.
However, life doesn’t stop because there was a snag in my plan!
It’s really important to remember that there isn’t a “right” way to go through life. What works for one will not necessarily work for another.
Life isn’t a competition, either. Just because someone seems to “have it all” (whatever that means) doesn’t mean anything! Looking from the outside in and judging is dangerous because no one knows what happens behind closed doors. (The infamous Duggar scandal brought that to light this past year!)
When the “What’s Next” syndrome hit me I did the only thing I knew to do. I started praying and having regular conversations with God, and I did the best I could. I wasn’t perfect, I made mistakes, but I did the best I could.
For the first time in a long time, I felt at ease with myself and life. No saying a prayer didn’t make my finances easier, it didn’t take away stress of raising little kids, or gain back friends I’d lost in the divorce, but it lifted a lot of weight off my shoulders giving the stress to God.