Are You Living in the Fantasy of a Perfect Tomorrow?
My days have been very busy. But once the school year is over, with all the graduation open houses and end-of-year events, things will finally slow down and I can enjoy life again. Well, actually, I was thinking this same thing over the holidays. Once Christmas break ends and out-of-town family leave, things will finally slow down and I can enjoy life again.
Wait. During the beginning of the school year, I was thinking that once the kids settled into their school schedule, things will finally slow down and I can enjoy life again.
Now that I think about it, I thought this in the summer, too, with its crazy travel, mission trips, and non-routine activities.
Have you ever had these thoughts? As I look back to the days when my children were toddlers and infants, I sometimes felt that things would finally slow down once they all were potty trained and I didn’t need to carry that diaper bag around.
Then I believed, once they were all out of car seats, things would finally become easier.
Or once they were all reading for themselves… Or once they were all driving…
It seemed that there was always some season of the year or season of life that was making my life crazy-busy, and I believed that once that time was over, things would finally slow down and I could enjoy life again.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I haven’t always been living with this “I can’t wait for this to be over” feeling. I did enjoy the times we were in. But those thoughts definitely came into my head often.
Well, I am finally realizing that that type of thinking is not only a waste of time, it is completely wrong!
You see, we will ALWAYS be in a busy season. We will ALWAYS have something that seems like a time hurdle, and once it is over, things will go back to normal.
What is normal?
“Normal” is the fullness of living. It is the busy-ness of raising our children. It is the messy-ness of dealing with others. It is sick children, parties, ailing parents, celebrations, financial issues, graduations, educational struggles, hostessing, deaths, and births.
If we are always living in the “I can’t wait until tomorrow” mode, then we will never be able to enjoy today. I think the challenge is for us to realize that “back to normal” is a fantasy.
Wiping runny noses, tending to fevers, sitting down to hash out issues with your spouse, balancing the budget after the Christmas holiday, teaching fractions, helping out aging parents all are a part of the normal. And if we are always imagining that those things are just hurdles to pass so we can finally slow down, not only will we be missing out on what is going on around us, we could become bitter and resent anything that makes our life busier.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I would find myself resenting the impending Christmas break. I loved celebrating Christmas, but all of the extra work and activity often made me wish we could just skip it.
How sad is that?
My problem? (well, ONE of my problems)
I am owning my time. I feel like these things infringe into my perfect plans and keep me from having my peace.
I, my, me.
Yep. That’s the issue.
I keep falling into it, too.
This is what reminds me that I should not be living in a fantasy version of tomorrow. I should make the most of the opportunities God has given me. What are those you might ask?
Well, He has given me a marriage to continue to build as we help each other to grow spiritually and can serve others around us. He has given me children to raise and train, eventually so they can launch out of our home to become a light to the world. He has given me extended family and dear friends to celebrate life’s joys and to support during life’s challenges.
This is the messy stuff. This is the stuff I couldn’t wait until it was over so I could finally get “back to normal.” I am finally realizing that THIS IS THE NORMAL.
And in God’s perfect wisdom, it is exactly what I need to keep me on my knees before Him. It is exactly what I need so that I don’t become lazy, or prideful, or apathetic, or callous.
I can truly say I am grateful for the busy (when I am in my right mind). I am grateful that I have these children in my life to watch them grow and mature, I am grateful I have my parents to be with so I can continue to learn from them, I am grateful for extended family and friends who I can support and marvel as I see God working in their lives.
I need to be making the best use of my time. The “finally slowing down” I have been fantasizing about is false. If I had no one to love, to be with, to serve, then things may be slower but there would be no joy in life, would there?
Yes, we need to plan rest into our days. But if we are always living in the imagined perfection of tomorrow, we will never embrace the beauty that is around us right now.
So today, take some time to thank the Lord for the busy-ness around you. Ask Him for strength to live in it and realize that there are so many blessings that come from it!
Have an extraordinary day!