The Future Won't Solve Present Problems
As I sat in my favourite chair on my back deck, laptop open and ready to book our fall vacation, I marveled at the way time stood still that day. I remember looking at the clock several times throughout the day and each time I sighed with satisfaction that it was "only 1 o'clock" or "only 5 o'clock."
Because in this season of my life, in this culture of speed and productivity, time slips through my fingertips like sand in an hourglass. I can't hold onto time; it keeps moving without me whether I am ready or not.
I didn't always have this same appreciation for slowing down time.
Several years ago when we booked our first vacation for just the two of us, I remember counting the days. I looked forward into the future as a way to pull me forward through time faster. It seemed like November would never come. I fixed my eyes on a future escape to help me cope with my present.
The problem is, that thing we want, that thing we think will solve our problems, it never does. Not really. That raise doesn't make our financial stress disappear. That vacation doesn't make life's demands more manageable. That bigger house with more space doesn't make us more loving. That different church doesn't make all our questions and doubts disappear.
The future won't solve present problems.
Be Present Today
Only our presence in today can change our present day. When we become so caught up in tomorrows, we neglect today. And ignoring our current problems never solves them. Ignorance is bliss until it's not. The molehills do become mountains when we keep ignoring them.
Especially when we are the trenches of motherhood, our default view can be to look ahead at the future when it will be "easier." We think that our lives will automatically improve when our kids are older, when they're in school, when we have more time, when we're not exhausted, etc.
But what we really need is to ask God, "What can I do today? What should I notice about today? How should I love and serve today?"
Learn to be present in each day, looking for God in the little moments of your life. You may be surprised at just how much goodness there is in your life already.
Be Grateful Today
Gratitude changes everything. Being grateful in spite of our challenges doesn't change our circumstances but it does change our perspective. We have hope for tomorrow but we also have joy for today. Too often, we focus on our future hope and forget to see how God is working right here, right now.
We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us. - Colossians 1:11-12 (MSG)
Approaching each day from a posture of gratitude, regardless of the circumstances, strengthens us to persevere with joy. It allows us to see the "bright and beautiful that he has for us" in each day. We don't need to grit and bear today, we get to glorify God by enduring with gratitude.
Be Obedient Today
If you want to be somewhere different tomorrow, or next month, or next year, it starts with being obedient today. We try to skip ahead without taking the first steps right in front of us. We can't get where we need to be unless we start walking.
We would all likely say we "hope" that our future will be good. We desire a better future, but because we know that our future is not in our control, we check out of the whole process.
The law of sowing and reaping shows us that the choices we make today will have future outcomes. We won't see the outcomes of our decisions until tomorrow or next year or decades from now. The future requires faith and the present deserves obedience.
It isn't the future that solves your present problems, but your present decisions to be obedient to the will of God can drastically change your future. And isn't that what we really desire?
Today is as good a day as any to slow down, to notice God around you, to adopt a posture of gratitude, and to walk in obedience. It might just change your life after all.