Updated: Apr 1, 2022
Do you ever just feel a little out of place? Like you don't really fit into the space that life has put you in? Or maybe something's missing. Something is broken, or lost. You just feel like life should be...different. Maybe you scroll through Instagram and see an old friend living the life you wanted, or doing something you wish you never gave up on. There might be a yearning to be elsewhere. I've felt this, too. Sometimes I catch myself feeling quick pangs of longing for something other than what I have or where I am. But I do try to catch myself.
I must catch myself before I fall over the edge and completely lose my grasp on the moment. When I distance myself from "right now," I come closer to dissatisfaction. When I step out of the present and dream of a life I can't and won't live, I'm losing the one thing that I actually have some sort of choice in--this very moment. By wanting something other than what I am or have, it's as if I'm saying to the Almighty, "What you've given me is wrong or inadequate."
Life is found in this very moment. It's filled with a chance, an opportunity to act. Our actions come to define us, and if we're too busy dreaming, envying, wishing, then we will never make it out of our minds long enough to act. We become prisoner and captor all in one.
Now, dreaming is good. It's healthy and it's inspiring and really nothing would exist if it hadn't first began in a dream. However, we mustn't put a roof over them. We must break our dreams free, let them roam and run wild so that this moment does not go to waste--it is only so sweet for a small second.
It's these seconds that are life. If we are unhappy in life, the answer lies within these seconds and how we decide to spend them and, ultimately, Who we decide to live them for. Will we spend them with a faraway look in our eyes, or will we choose to see everything around us? Because I dare you to look at this very moment and everything and everyone in it, and not fall madly in love with life.
Just look! Look at the trees swaying and wonder how they grew so tall from just a tiny speckle. See the planes that fly through sky to distant lands, carrying many different lives. Look at your child who is looking up at you. Whether he or she is happy or crying or tired or cranky, remind yourself that they are HERE. They are alive and they exist and you get to spend this moment with them and not without. Remind yourself how beautiful it is to be their parent.
These moments are gone quicker than they arrive and play out. One day we will rely on our memories to enjoy them. But why not enjoy them now before we no longer have control over them? There will come a day when you are telling stories of your past and you will miss it. You will no longer envy what other people are doing with their lives, because all you'll really want is to travel back to your own. Back to the little moments that give life their fire and candor. You'll want to walk your children in their stroller at sunset. You'll want to blow out their birthday candles, kiss their scraped knees, and dance with them in your arms.
So rather than spending your precious, PRECIOUS moments dreaming of a world different than your own, or wanting to just get through the day, remember that once you're through it, you can't go back. The things you stress about now, might one day be the very things you miss. As you laugh and roll your eyes at my hippy talk, you also know I'm pretty darn right. Life moves quickly and sometimes it feels like it's not moving at all. But don't let it fool you, and definitely don't let it knock you down for long.
Just as we do our children, there is a Father who will pick us up when we fall and heal our wounds. He is waiting for us to come to Him, to find the fulfillment of our souls in Him. When I realized that everything I have is from Him--every breath in my lungs, every bite of delicious food, every song from my children, every beat of my husband's heart--life quickly turns from being a burden to being a gorgeous gift.
And yet, through the sorrows of life I'm reminded of its brevity. Strangely, it is from the deepest valleys of my life that I have learned to fully appreciate the radiance of the mountaintops. From life's pain, I'm shown that the day will come and it will soon go. I am determined that it should not pass me by without me completely recognizing and relishing every drop.
Time itself is one of the greatest gifts. It is my responsibility to steward it well. To live from a position of gratitude, in a posture of humility, with the purpose of love and toward a place that is so much bigger than this moment in front of us. The moment matters like crazy, and I ought to live it as such. However, it is not the end for which I live, but a beautiful means of getting where I long to go: to my eternal home, united with "My First Love."
And so, I will try to laugh at the things that once made me impatient. When I change my perspective by a little bit, I see how small they are. When I see the awe of life in this moment, that guy who cut me off this morning no longer has the power to steal my joy, because now I see it so clearly: my joy is not derived from others or from my circumstances. Joy is so much bigger and untouchable than "happy."
As my old pastor, Joby Martin, says, "Happiness is based on happenings."
But JOY. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, Who dwells within us. Joy is something no human and no happening can steal from us. From our relationship with Him, Joy is a natural overflow from Him, in us.
Perhaps, this is why Paul writes in Philippians chapter 4: "I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation...I can do all this THROUGH Him who gives me strength."
Happiness lives in the now. It lives in your home, in your kids eyes, in the goodnight kisses, in the stupid jokes, in the pictures on the wall, in the laughter that fills the room. It is in all things merely because they will never again be arranged in such a way as they are right now.
But, JOY. Joy is found in knowing Him. True strength comes not from ourselves, but from Him. In fact, we learn in 2 Peter chapter 1 that EVERYTHING we need comes from Him, because of WHO He is.
Take advantage of this moment. Don't wait. Make the call. Start that business. Forgive and seek forgiveness. Let's go build those treehouses and dance with our babies. Open a Bible, instead of the gossip magazine. Everything that matters is a choice. The music has been playing, and it's time to start listening.