We’re talking about growing up. For me, a recovering perfectionist, learning to love the life I have NOW instead of living in the future has always been a challenge. I’m not certain that many of us are wired naturally to live in the present.
Some of us like to live in the past
I’ve known many who tend to live in the past, even when they were young. They love their memories and I often think their memories of the past tend to be embellished a bit so that it is remembered as much better than it really was!
Remember how the Israelites loved to remember their years in Egypt with such relish? It’s true they were wandering through the desert and I’m sure there was much about their life that was miserable, but at those times when they remembered Egypt, what did they remember? The great food! They totally forgot their miserable lives there in slavery. So often, we can get stuck in the past, or in certain periods of the past and forget the hard times that were happening then too. We just put on our rose-colored glasses and remember the wonderful things and leave out the hard things…some of which were really awful!
Others of us are living in the future
Some of the rest of us live for the future. I can be like this. Yes, it’s hard now, but when x happens or when this stage is finished, then things will be great…or at least better. Sometimes that is true, but often it is putting on rose-colored glasses and looking in a different direction! Meanwhile, we’re not living in the present and dealing with issues we need to be dealing with now!
Growing up means facing today’s challenges today and being thankful for what GOD has given us
Growing up means I will face what I need to deal with today and not fantasize about the future…or embellish the past. It is really an aspect of being a truth lover. I need to deal with the truth of today. Of course, I must plan to the degree I am able, for the future.
But there are a lot of things I can’t prepare for: investments that go south, jobs that are lost through no fault of my own, illness that keeps me from being able to work during a period of my life I had planned to, as well as untimely deaths of spouses. There are too many things that absolutely can’t be planned for. We plan to the degree we are able. Then as life happens, we must face what comes and trust GOD to provide us with the resources we need at the time.
Learn to be thankful early or you will miss the blessings you have staring you in the face
There is no age limit on learning to find joy in the now. There are very young people who need to learn this lesson. They have everything going for them. They are healthy, may have a family, but all they see is what they don’t have and they are miserable. The younger a person can learn to find joy in the now, learning to be thankful for what they have, learning to see GOD’s care for them, His provision and presence in small ways, the more joyful her life will be.
I remember a friend I knew better when she was younger, who died recently of cancer. She was in her 40’s. As her disease was progressing, it was looking more grim for her recovery, she found herself feeling that she needed to clean out cupboards and organize everything because she might not be around for long. She was writing on a blog that she realized that wasn’t helping her children to remember her cleaning out cupboards. It wouldn’t comfort them to have a clean, organized house when she was gone! They would want to remember good times spent with her. So she had to tone down the desire to organize so she could conserve her energy for them.
Don’t get so focused on your to-do list that you forget to enjoy the people around you.
It’s the relationships that are eternal, not the agendas
It’s easy to have our agendas. Yes, our lives are busy and we do have a lot to do. But we can focus so much on our to-do lists that we forget to enjoy our relationships. The time to enjoy our families is very short. They really don’t care if everything is dusted and shiny. They want to remember doing fun things with you…even if it was baking in the kitchen. So much of it is related to our attitudes when we were doing mundane activities!
That is part of what it means to find joy in the now. Most of us don’t know we are dying of cancer…but all of us are terminal. We have no clue when we will die, but it WILL happen. Finding joy for us is going to come as we realize GOD is over all that is happening to us. That there is nothing random that happens in our lives. He has a purpose in all that He allows into our lives. There is a huge sense of security found in that realization.
As I realize that He wants ultimate good for me, I can learn to be thankful for the experiences He brings into my life. I may not love each one, but I know each has a purpose for good. I can still grieve in a healthy way when I have loss, of course. I’m not a robot! I’m real. But that foundational assurance that GOD is good and in control of all keeps me secure.
Take time to reflect today…and on days you are feeling especially stressed, on the good things GOD has given you: His provisions, relationships, signs of His presence in the everyday mundaneness of your life. Meditate on who He is and what a wonderful resource He is!
If it is difficult for you to remember your blessings, have a place to jot them down when you see them. You might play the GOD Hunt with your family as you remember your day together over supper in the evening…or chat in the car about the day you had in school or at work.