You made a bucket list in your mind of all the things you want to do for yourself in life. Maybe it’s picking up an instrument that you’ve been aching to learn. Possibly, it’s a desire to write a fiction book based off of your life. Maybe your creative juices are flowing to paint that ocean scenery or mountaintop sunset that you viewed from your last vacation.
Unfortunately, no matter how hard you have tried, those dreams and aspirations are fading away before your eyes. You begin to wonder if you will ever be able to reach those goals that your heart has been set on for so long. Instead, your time and focus has been taken up by the needs of your teen or young adult in crisis. Maybe they have an addiction, a disorder, or a mental illness. Whatever that crisis is, it has become your crisis, and it keeps you from moving forward in your life.
As a parent to a teen that lived daily from crisis to crisis, my life’s goals and plans were almost always put to the side. In some cases, I had to say goodbye to those dreams completely. It seemed as if everything I wanted to do was being ripped away because of my teen’s issues. I loved my teen. I wanted so badly to see her heal, have victory, and experience freedom.
As time passed however, my responses to my teen’s crises were beginning to come out as angry and negative. My once loving attitude towards her was exchanged with bitterness and disappointment every time I heeded to her call for help. It finally came to a head when I yelled at God, “It’s not fair! Why can’t you just heal my teen so that I can live a normal life again?”
I had learned quite a bit since that conversation with God. I realized that as long as I was in control of everything in my life and that of my teen, there would be no open doors for God to fulfill the desires He had for me. I kept the walls up and left God out. I lost opportunities for God to minister to me and my teen.
Little did I know that God had other plans already in place. God knew that all those goals I had on my bucket list were not going to give me full satisfaction. Although I didn’t see that, God certainly did. I thought my life of new discoveries and hopes were over.
Instead, God was going to give me new dreams and new discoveries with a fullness I never expected. God reminded me in Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. How true this was.
Before I knew it, God was making arrangements for my teen to get the help she needed in such a tremendous way. This encouragement continued in a wave like force that I could never have achieved on my own. In three consecutive weeks, God also gave me visual dreams in my sleep that started to lay out the path for God’s purposes and desires in my life. For the first time, I began to understand how God uses the difficulties in our lives to bring about His purposes for us.
I also became attuned to the fact that God was using every crisis to stretch me, to build faith in me, and to urge me to get on my knees and seek Him diligently. I was growing in a new faith and trust that I hadn’t had prior to my teen in crisis.
These goals were not empty or boring in any form. In fact, they were surprising, exciting, and mysterious at the same time. I felt as if I was on a new adventure with God as He revealed His plan bit by bit. His Word says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future – Jeremiah 29:11. I was beginning to see that God was not trying to make my life miserable. He truly wanted the best for me.
Before I could comprehend the whole picture, the plan was unveiling itself in a way I never thought of. And we know of course, God doesn’t waste any of our struggling circumstances, disappointments or failures. He uses them as part of His plan. In my case, He used every crisis that my teen dealt with to mentally, emotionally and spiritually educate me so that I could minister to others.
Looking back, I was thankful that I didn’t get caught up into the bucket-list. The very things that I thought would give me fulfillment and enjoyment meant nothing to me anymore. God continues to guide me in His plans and has given me new desires, hopes and dreams.
So when you build your bucket-list, be open to what God wants to add to it along the way. He truly does have your best interest at heart.