“When will my life begin?”…It’s a familiar refrain in my house. I have two young daughters, and that fair-haired princess who lives in a tower graces our TV screen on a regular basis (Rapunzel for those of you who are not currently knee-deep in the Disney phase of your lives). Stuck in the tower all day, every day, she spends each moment pondering this question: “When will my life begin?”
I have to admit, I have a bittersweet feeling when I hear this song because I was the girl continually asking this very same question. When I was in high school I couldn’t wait to go to college, when I was in college I couldn’t wait to go to graduate school, I couldn’t wait to get married, then I couldn’t wait to have babies, the list could go on and on. I was continually singing the refrain “When will my life begin?” The truth of the matter is that I had my life meticulously planned out for years and years in advance and I spent my days constantly looking toward the future. There is one major problem with this…I was neglecting today.
I’m not saying that you can’t plan for your future (admit it, I know you have a dream wedding Pinterest board…if Pinterest would have existed when I was in college, I am certain I wouldn’t have gotten much done). What it took me so long to realize is that my life, the one I had been waiting for, was right in front of me. In fact, we aren’t promised a tomorrow at all. And, in my experience, while most goals are attainable, they often don’t turn out exactly as you had envisioned them. Sometimes, God has much bigger plans than even you can wrap your brain around!
Think about this regarding Jesus’ ministry. He was given only three short years to really make a difference in the world. He could have continually looked toward the cross with dread and let it paralyze His every move. He could have waited until everything was perfect to start teaching. He could have waited until His family accepted that He was the Messiah to try to reach anyone else. He didn’t do any of these things though! He was baptized (Matthew 3), went into the desert and faced temptation (Matthew 4), and then started giving the most amazing sermon that was ever preached (Matthew 5-7).
Jesus continually had eyes for what (and who) was directly in front of Him. In John 4, we see him taking something as simple as the act of drawing water to reach out to a Samaritan Woman. In Luke 8:43-48 we see Jesus healing a woman that had been suffering from hemorrhaging for twelve years. The interesting part of this story is that He was on his way to help an important man’s daughter. Even so, He stopped to pay attention to this woman that had reached out to touch his cloak. Jesus really saw people. He was never too wrapped up in what He was doing or where He was going to see what was right in front of Him.
If there is one thing I could go back and tell my long-ago self, it would be to live in the moment. I don’t mean that the way the world does. What I mean is this: Are you focusing so much on your future plans that you are missing a need that’s right in front of your face? Are you worrying about relationships you might have down the road and neglecting the people who surround you right now? Are you neglecting opportunities God has placed at your feet because you already have your path planned out YOUR way in exact detail?
Don’t be caught like I was singing the refrain “When will my life begin?” Embrace what God has given to you in this moment. Love the people you are with. Look to the future with hope, but don’t let it consume you.