We tend to think similarly about our futures. We day dream of the brighter days we’d like to see; we are certain that there are far better things ahead than the mundane ins and outs of today. We are convinced that one day, or some day rather, there will be bigger – a bigger purpose, a bigger bank account, a bigger house; and there will be better – a better car, a better body, a better wardrobe, a better job, and a better day. But, before we know it THIS day is over. We wake up just to do it all again; we wake up hoping that today will be the day we’ve been daydreaming about for years. And, when it’s not, we become disappointed. We become dissatisfied. We become discontent. We become failures in our own hearts before we’ve even had breakfast.
This should not be…
God wants us to be present – to be here in the now. Jesus tells his disciples in the book of Matthew not to worry about tomorrow because today has enough cares and concerns. Over and over we are told to ‘be still’ or to ‘be not anxious.’ It’s great to dream, but not so much that we are never fully alert in the moment of today. While it’s good to have goals, we must be careful not to forsake and resent the place we are living in.
Losing my son has caused me to think of heaven more. When a mother knows where her child is but can’t get to him, she dreams of the day when she can. I’ve had many bad days over the last 27 months – more than some have in a lifetime and more than I know what to do with. I know all about wishing days away or hoping for time to pass faster. I know what it feels like when people say that in order to move ahead, you’ve got to be able to leave the past behind. That’s so different for a griever, and today tends to get lost in that phrase. Sometimes I want to shout ‘I’m just trying to make it through TODAY!’
For many of us, forgetting to live or just ‘be’ becomes a habit because, as a culture, we are so consumed with getting ahead. Chasing the American Dream is like chasing the wind. And, that is a sure route to disappointment. Tomorrow never really comes for people who can’t stop chasing after it.
I remember the days that I just wanted to be able to spend more than two minutes doing my hair or have more money in the bank. I can easily look back and see the days when all I wished for was to to be able to go back to school or get a job with purpose or be able to inspire people… But guess what? Sometimes the thirty minutes with the blow dryer still doesn’t do the trick and the money in the bank still gets depleted just as fast as it comes in for the appliance that busted or the car part that needs replacing. School… Well it’s really not all it’s cracked up to be. My dream jobs have come, but they come with lots of pressure, and it has cost me more than I ever wanted to pay just to inspire people. New heights often come with new hardships. Thankfully, our God is the same yesterday, today and forever!
We must learn the contentment that both Paul and Christ displayed through their joy, as well as their suffering and clothe ourselves with it. Of course, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have hope for the future, but our hope shouldn’t be IN the future. Our hope should, instead, be in the God who holds our future, the One who has promised good to us. If we can learn to simply rest in His promise and be present in the moment, knowing that He who began the good work will carry it out to completion, then even when we are struck down, we won’t be destroyed; even when we are hard pressed, we won’t be crushed. Be excited for tomorrow, but live in today because God has something for us right here, right now – in the joy and the sorrow, in the temper tantrums and the teen-i-tude, in the mundane and the extraordinary, in the mountain highs and in the valley lows.
So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34
We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:11