Many of us spend lots of time wishing our lives away. Instead of enjoying the present, we wait for things to come to an end. Whether it’s a book, a movie, a concert, or even our growing up years, we often daydream about the ending. This isn’t all bad, since the Bible tells us that, “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning of it….” (Ecclesiastes 7:8) After all, it’s good to work diligently, complete a task, and set a new goal. But it’s not good to unrealistically daydream about the future when we think our circumstances will somehow reach perfection. Anticipating what’s next, we often miss the here and now. We forfeit our present moments of enjoyment, which can never be relived.
Or maybe today’s struggles seem so great, that we can’t wait until tomorrow comes. Yet, the Bible says, “…do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:34 Amplified Bible) A promise of trouble can make one a little jaded about the future, but all God is trying to tell us is to, “Live One Day at a Time.”
We can also become discontent fixating on what we wish we had. Or obsessed with obtaining what we think we will need. So unhappy, in fact, that we forget to be grateful for the here and now.
Maybe that’s why the Apostle Paul tells us in the fourth chapter of Philippians, “I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty.” (Phi. 4:12 The Message)
In contrast, part of our human nature seems intent on not celebrating our current blessings. Instead of savoring the priceless experiences of today, we frequently dream of the fulfillment we will find in our tomorrows. For example, single folks often envy married individuals, while some married people readily joke about how much they miss their carefree single days.
Another example of missing a blessing is the classic story of the young mom [like I once was] who is exhausted by the boundless energy of her tiny toddlers. She dreams of the day when she can send them off to school. But before she knows it, that same mom will be at her child’s graduation wondering how the years flew by so fast.
Many of us will probably attend a graduation or two in the next month, and witness fathers and mothers who have that frozen deer in the headlights look. Some of us can remember fighting back tears, when our own children graduated. Because as parents we were shocked when the end came sooner then we could have ever imagined.
Yet a graduation isn’t an ending at all. The word, commencement actually originates in the root word, commence, which literally means to begin or to start. A graduation is a beginning of a new life for the graduates, but for those of us who love them it often signals our most difficult parental role, the task of letting go.
Jesus had to let His disciples go, when He ascended to His father. Yet like most wise mentors, He had done His best to prepare them for the next stage of life. He even left them with this command, “Go into all the world and preach and publish openly the good news the Gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16: 15 Amplified)
We always paint Jesus as this down-to-business kind of guy, who led his band of men with a heavy hand. But think about it; a boisterous fisherman, a tax collector, and a couple of boys with hot tempers could not have been controlled with rules and regulations. Our Savior won their hearts by being an intent listener, a compassionate friend, and a man who liked to share a good meal. In other words, he lived in the present, and so should we.
The next time you find yourself wishing your life away, maybe it’s not a lesson from Scripture that will call you back. Instead listen to the lyrics from Trace Adkins’ country hit, that says, “You’re going to miss this. You’re going to want this back. You’re going to wish these days – hadn’t gone by so fast.” So, enjoy the journey one day at a time, and Happy Graduation!
Christina Ryan Claypool is an Amy Award winning freelance journalist and Christian speaker. Contact her at Christina@christinaryanclaypool.com