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Last Ruminations of Twenty-Seven

It’s the eve of my 28th birthday and I am home alone, sitting on the floor eating pretzel crisps & salsa for dinner and watching last week’s Scandal on Hulu. The windows are open, I’m cuddled in a cardigan, and it’s a good, calm night. Only… 

This isn’t exactly what I had planned. 

If you had asked me 5 years ago on the eve of my 23rd birthday what I would be doing 5 years from now… I hardly think I’d say watching TV and eating a collegiate-years-lame-style dinner on the floor. Probably something more along the lines of cooking dinner with my husband, Matt Damon, and waiting for the wine to breathe. But alas. Here I sit. 

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about expectations and how those drive us— how what we want (or think we’re supposed to want) informs our choices about jobs, relationships, purchases, activities, and even moods. My life can feel chaotic and out of control simply because my expectations aren’t met or are somehow destroyed. Like right now I expect to have a boy like Jake Ballard to stand in the sun with and a dazzling white Olivia Pope coat and a team of sexy lawyer gladiators for friends… but all I have is this Target cardi and an empty bowl of salsa. And that could make a person feel real low, in a very beyond-just-sitting-on-the-floor kind of way. 

So. My life doesn’t look the way I thought it would. At all. Like, beyond the fact that my name is still Morgan, things are pretty much exactly not at all the way I would have imagined. There are certainly no Jake Ballards or Matt Damons in sight and my one recurring thought process tonight is: well, these pretzels aren’t going to eat themselves… 

When faced with someone who’s upset about unmet expectations, people like to quote Jeremiah 29:11.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

And it’s not that Jeremiah 29:11 isn’t a great verse. It’s Jeremiah at it’s best, frankly. But. It’s just not the whole picture, and it’s not even the most comforting thing for those of us doubters-of-God’s-faithful-plans. It’s what comes after that really gets me. 

11For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lordand 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.

Not only does God know the plans He has for us, but He hears us when we pray. He hears us and will restore us. And beyond that… the exile or missed-expectations-of-life that we may be feeling right now in this moment are from Him, for our good. A gift. A GIFT I SAY! He has driven us to a place of missed-expectations so that we would not be satisfied with something less than the plan He has for us. CS Lewis put it best when he said 

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” The Weight of Glory

Tomorrow I turn 28. May this be the year when I see a glimpse of the true holiday at the sea and no longer yearn for a mud pie life. (Also, Jake Ballard, I’m available. Don’t go killing any more nosy journalists and call me.) 

morgan cogswellwritings