Oh, how easy it is to continually be looking either forward or backward. We can get caught up in our past-- who we were, what we did, how our experiences have shaped us, for better or worse. We feel confined by a past that clings to us like gum on the bottom of our shoe.
Or we spend all of our energy looking to the next step, the next new thing. If we could only get our dream job, move into a bigger house, or start a family of our own, we'd be all set. We think that once we get there, everything will be better. But when we get there, we find ourselves looking forward once again to what's beyond the next turn in the road.
I don't usually like to share such a large portion of someone else's words, but I can't say these better myself, and as they struck me as words I needed to hear, I thought I would share them with all of you.
Because here’s the trick to the whole thing: If we’re always looking a step ahead, then we’re always looking a step ahead. When we finally get to that next stage, or job, or weight-loss goal, or when we finally get married, our eyes will still be fixed ahead. The satisfaction will still evade us. We won't ever have arrived.
And the reason this is so sad is because when we're so focused on what's next, we miss what we have today. If we spend our time peering over the fence—longing for grass that isn’t ours— that means we're totally missing the beautiful gifts God has for us right here, today. We miss our lives longing for what's next, and I don't know about you, but I don't want to miss my life! I want to love my stage of life to pieces—to wear it out like an old pair of sweatpants I can’t bring myself to get rid of. I want to dig into this season — to be present, and to savor it, and I want to do the same thing in the next season — soaking it in for all it has to offer, drinking it up to the very last drop.
...And so this is the work I’m inviting you into today — something I think about in my life a lot. Let's keep our eyes on our own side of the fence. Let's be present and full of gratitude in where God has us, right now, today. And let's trust that when we get to the next season it will be just as wonderful, and even MORE wonderful because we've been practicing this present, grateful way of living.
Today I'm praying that in whatever season you find yourself in, that you lay back in the grass, the sun warming your skin, as you soak in the goodness of this season, knowing that the next season will be there when you get to it. - Stephanie May Wilson (emphasis mine)
Amen to that! May you and I fight the tendency to get stuck in the past or caught up in worrying and dreaming about the future, choosing instead to focus on the great things our present season has to offer and teach us. We are where we are right now for a reason. Let's rest in that knowledge and not rush ahead to the next step.