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    JENGA Truths

    Thursday, November 15, 2018

    "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?"

    It hit me hard. 

    I've been asked this question a million times; yet for some reason, it got me this time. 

    I was at a women's retreat with my church and we were playing a get-to-know-you JENGA game with our condo. There were questions written on some of the JENGA pieces that we had to answer when we pulled them out. Most were lighthearted questions like "What was the best Christmas present you've ever received?" "Where is your dream vacation spot?" But this question, meant to spark fun conversation, tugged at a spot of insecurity and truthfulness deep within my heart. 

    I think it's because it's been awhile since I've been asked this question, and I've since learned - my life in 5 years will never look like what I imagine it to be. 

    So I was vulnerable: "I'd love to be married and have a family. I'd also love to be an Assistant Principal in a school with a large ESL population." 

    But as I answered, I felt the Lord saying: "Oh Lauren, I know the plans I have for you . . . plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11) I knew that the Lord was reassuring me that He has something greater in store for me than I could ever dream. Will it include these two dreams? Maybe. Maybe not. I just know that five years ago, I could never have imagined being where I'm at. But, oh! how the Lord has crafted me a beautiful story of faithfulness and love!

    The interesting thing about this verse in Jeremiah is that it comes right after the Lord says that the Israelites are going to continue living as exiles in Babylon for 70 years. Not only that, but they were commanded to help this city they despised so much flourish. So we look at that like "What? Plans for good? Not for disaster? Helping the enemy? Doesn't really sound that good to me." 

    But the Lord's ways are not ours. 

    The next few verses: “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.” (Jeremiah 29:12-14). 

    An intimate relationship with God. Listening. Seeking. Healing. Restoration. 

    Girl. It's ok when life doesn't look like what you envisioned. It's GOOD to say what you envision life looking like down the road because we need to admit to God and others what our dreams, goals and hopes are. It's also GOOD to share struggles and sins that so easily entangle us. It's healthy to wrestle with disappointments. But look at God and what He has done within you and what He is doing. Remember what great ultimate plans He has for you: an intimate relationship with Him, sanctification, abounding faith, steadfastness. 

    As I think back to that Jenga piece, I thank God for speaking to me in that vulnerable moment. Then I smile and remember that my life is just like a Jenga piece, fitting perfectly into God’s redemptive story and being pulled out to be used for Him. 

    And now I'm curious: Where do YOU see YOURSELF in 5 years? Where are you NOW that you never envisioned being five years ago? 

    Thank Him for the work He has done.

    To read more about Jeremiah 29:11 in context, read this article.

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