In every moment of our lives there is something yet to come; something that we are in essence waiting for. Whether it’s our next meal, or a relationship, or a movie we want to see, it’s in our nature to look towards what is next. But there are times when waiting consumes us so much that we miss out on what’s going on all around us.
There have been quite a few times in my life where the waiting overtook me, one of them being my senior year in college. I went to a small Christian college where there is this overwhelming pressure to be engaged by graduation. Jokingly we all declared it “ring by spring” but the truth remained that many graduated with rings on their fingers.
My best friends in school were all seriously dating by the time senior year approached, while I was wading through the dating pool with no real luck. I could barely stand the present because all I could think about was the guy that would sweep me off my feet. Anything outside of that seemed pointless. I wasted a lot of time moping around, just waiting for my real life to start.
Waiting implies that we are delaying action until something else happens. So basically when we are actively waiting for something we are also actively not engaging in the life that we are living. We are trying to control our future. When I was waiting for love to come along, I was also missing the opportunity to live my life moment to moment, grabbing hold of what was in front of me.
But there’s hope! We don’t need to be a slave to active waiting. We can be free to live our lives even when there is something that we are looking forward to. Sometime in the spring of my senior year of college, I decided that I was tired of waiting for my life to look a certain way. I was so sick of being a slave to waiting. And so I began to live. It was a mess at first. I was constantly tormented by the life I didn’t have. I felt like I would never get out of the trap, but I pressed into God and stayed determined, and finally came out on the other side. But it wasn’t easy.
Guys, don’t get me wrong here, it’s okay to want things for your life and to look forward to the future. And it’s okay to work towards those things. But don’t let them rule your life. Don’t be a slave to waiting around for what’s next. Don’t miss out on the moments happening all around you because it feels like it’s not enough. That has been my mistake over and over again.
The truth of the matter is, actively waiting for what’s next, robs us of what is now, and none of us are guaranteed anything. We are not guaranteed tomorrow, or that thing that we are waiting for. If I choose to spend all of my current time waiting to have a baby, and that never happens for me, then that makes it even worse. No good comes from living in the future. What we have is right now, and that is a gift.
This isn’t easy. If it were, I wouldn’t be sitting here writing about it. It’s really hard to be content when you are waiting for something you want so badly. It takes discipline to live in the present at first. But as soon as I stopped actively waiting, I was happier. I went to my friends’ weddings and though I still longed for what they had, I no longer felt that my life revolved around finding the “perfect guy”. I was able to look forward to the future, but not live solely for it.
So whatever you feel you are waiting for today, give it to God. Acknowledge your desire for it and then place it in his arms. We are not in control, and it doesn’t benefit us to pretend that we are. Remember that your life is happening right in front of you. Don’t miss out on what God has for you today.
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” –Matthew 6:34 NIV