October 2, 2010

Tomorrow, tomorrow...

Have you ever made someone a mix tape, only to get nervous that the recipient will read too much into the selected songs?

I haven't, but sometimes, when I recommend a song to someone (only because I think they'll like it), I become afraid they'll analyze the lyrics and get nervous that I'm trying to discreetly ("Ice Cream") or not so discreetly ("Your Love is My Drug ") trying to let them know my true feelings for them.

Although, I have never, nor will I ever, recommend "Your Love is My Drug" to anyone.

Anyway, that's not important. What is important is something I taught about at Bible study (which you've recently learned is my second greatest fear) the other night: boasting about the future. My poor heart has been convicted by this one.

I have always been a restless girl. I couldn't wait to graduate high school and go to college. I couldn't wait to graduate college and move to Texas. And now...there's no more graduating, no more definite changes, no more big change on the horizon, and I struggle with it. Terribly. I have found myself searching for another adventure-- not because it's something I think I'll love, but because I just need something to look forward to keep happy. So I devise grand schemes, great trips and adventures, and then congratulate myself in making choices that will make me happy...tomorrow. Because that's when they'll happen. So I can be happy today, because I know something better's coming.


I can disregard today's significance, because tomorrow's plans are better. And they'll make me finally happy. Isn't that how it works?

James teaches against this.

James 4:13 Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and get gain."; 14 whereas you do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that." 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil."

All through high school, I had a teacher that was also a close friend. He was fairly young, not yet 30, and was adamant about using deodorant without aluminum. He had read somewhere that it caused Alzheimer's, and if he could take preventative action against developing the disease when he finally reached old age, he was going to do it.

He was hit by a car and killed a month before my high school graduation. That, more than anything else, made me realize that we are not invincible. I remember the deaths of both of my grandfathers, and while they were difficult, it didn't seem unusual for them to go. They were older, and they had lived full lives; however, when my teacher died, he was still really living. Anticipating reaching old age. He had no indication he would never get there. He lived his life (and bought his deodorant) in such a way that it was clear that he assumed he would have a tomorrow. Eventually, he didn't have a tomorrow.

And eventually, neither will we. How often I find myself saying, "I'll finally be happy if I just get through this, and then get to that..." or "Well, I'll get around to that tomorrow..." We are so reliant upon the future to ease the worries of our present. I read somewhere that this might be because we want our trials to end more than we want to cling to the presence of God in the midst of our trials-- I have found this to be true in my own life! I am so focused on the next step, or even just figuring out the next step, that I miss the precious moments of today. Moments to make a difference in my present circumstances, ideal or not.

Imagine if we thought of ourselves as we truly are, humbling ourselves to a place where we believe that we truly are just mists that will disappear in the morning light. Imagine how that would transform how we live our lives. No more saving the sharing of the Gospel with our family, friends and coworkers for a time that's more convenient. No more hoarding our "earthly treasures." Do you think we'd place as much emphasis on the clothes we wear and the cars we drive? The clothes others wear and the clothes others drive? How much more passionately would we love others?

I believe planning is healthy. I can't expect to go into a meeting, unprepared, and impress a client. I don't even believe excitement about the future is a sin: I look forward to one day having a family of my own...God willing. So make plans. Look forward to events of the future. Just be sure you're not letting them override what God has you doing today. And hold onto those future plans loosely, making sure you're placing security, joy and identity in Christ, and Christ alone.

Let the master planner handle it.