This past weekend, my younger sister Julia competed for Miss NC USA. Her dream has been to become Miss USA since she was a little girl so her preparation process involved more than working out and finding the right dress. She ate, slept and breathed Miss NC USA every day for 6 months. She prayed, journaled and invited God’s presence into every aspect. Every fiber of her being was in agreement with her dream. She even waited until she graduated college and made sure she was in a job with great flexibility so she could smoothly transition into the job of Miss NC USA. But, her heart was broken this weekend when she was called as 2nd runner up.
As I sat on the plane the next day, I felt equally sad for her. The loss feels like a breakup when you have invested so much energy and thought-life every day for so long. I wanted to help heal her heart but I didn’t have answers to all her questions. Being a runner up myself numerous times, there are questions like, “How could I have felt so strongly that I was ready for this and I didn’t win?” “Why is this not my year?” “Is this not your will for my life, God?” “What direction will I go now?” “Did I not prepare the right way?” “Should I even bother competing again?” “Am I not a winner?” I started to realize how many other girls feel this way. There are so many other young women who have this burning dream in their heart and put their lives on hold in order to compete and to give it all they’ve got. It occurred to me how many thousands of young women have these same thoughts, disappointments and devastations of seeing their dream crowned on another girl’s head. As I started journaling my thoughts and seeking scripture on this, God revealed answers to me. I know what it is like to struggle with loss and I also know it’s something that most people don’t understand unless they have experienced it.
1. His Will
First and foremost, not winning doesn’t necessarily mean that was God’s will or plan. If you felt with all your heart and conviction that this was a God-breathed plan for you and you didn’t win, it can be easy to quickly blame or be angry with God. But, He gave people free will and your fate is left in the hands of 5 or 6 people who are scoring subjectively based on their personal influences and experiences of what makes a winner. God’s will does not always happen in the frame of it’s original intent or your timing. However, his purpose will always prevail in a timing that is sometimes frustrating. In hindsight, every single young lady I have ever talked to clearly sees the good God brings her from not winning in either a certain timing or not at all. When your heart is humble and willing to see, He says”I will give you praise and honor among all the people of the earth when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes.” Zephaniah 3:20. So thank God in advance for the way he will redeem your broken heart and re-direct your path.
2. His Timing
I know I already touched on this, but it is essential to understand its importance. You may feel like this was totally your season to win and you couldn’t have been more ready, but the judges don’t agree or maybe even God isn’t quite ready to release you into the role for His mysterious reasons. If you really want to win, don’t allow ego or pride to get in the way of deciding not to compete again. Crystle Stewart competed 5 times before she won Miss Texas USA, then went all the way to capturing the title of Miss USA! If she had won any of the years before that, she probably wouldn’t have been ready to win Miss USA. “To man, belong the plans of the heart, but from The Lord comes the reply of the tongue.” Proverbs 16:1.
3. His Reasons
In some cases, you might never win that coveted crowned position. And maybe God placed that dream in your heart because he wanted you to go on the journey. Why would he make you do that when grief is the outcome? Because this is a journey like no other you will ever experience in your life. The preparation involved to compete at a local, state and national level is interactive, engaging and intense. You get in the best shape of your life, learn how to handle yourself under pressure, learn more about yourself than maybe you ever wanted to know, meet remarkable people and make professional contacts. Through the journey, you can tap in to a passion or a voice you didn’t know you had and a door is opened for you rise up. My next door neighbor was 1st runner up to Miss Connecticut, but had she won she wouldn’t have been able to launch her music and acting career as a finalist on American Idol a few months later. Keep your eyes open for how God wants to guide your steps. “In his heart a man plans his course, but The Lord determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
Ultimately, winning a crown isn’t the only way to have influence or to reach your dreams. Your King made you craftily in the throne room with unique and special plans engraved with your name. That King is still on the throne and he will never allow his daughter to stay fallen. When you are faithful and keep your trust in Him, you will be able to have discerning vision into what His Divine plans are and what beautiful surprises await you. He is your redeemer, vindicator and vessel of justice “The Lord within her is righteous, he does no wrong. Morning by morning he dispenses his justice and every new day he does not fail.” Zephaniah 3:5
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