Currently, I am living what some might call a dream. For the last four months, I have spent every weekend exploring a new corner of Europe, I live in a 13th century monastery and I am studying incredible, life changing material. I am surrounded by some of the most incredible people I have ever met, all of whom have challenged me to be a better version of myself in their own unique ways. There is no doubt; this is a change of pace from the average daily routine, especially for most Americans.
Even though my current life is far from what most people would consider normal, I have been constantly struck by the notion that this is my life. This is not a break from reality, or a filler until I move onto something more permanent. These precious moments are exactly that, precious. These are moments that are making me into the person God wants me to be.
And you know what? So is whatever you are doing right now.
Are you a young newlywed settling into your first apartment? This is your life.
Are you a missionary in an exotic location? This is your life.
Are you a grad student buried in a library? This is your life.
Are you a recent grad trying to decide where you want to go from here? A young professional in a new city? A new parent? A retail associate? A struggling artist? An entrepreneur? A teacher? A traveler? This is your life.
Our lives pass in phases. Some phases are immersed in culture, some in isolation, some in study, some in work, some in travel, some in family, some in friends, some in chaos, some in quiet, and some in learning to juggle some combination of the above. This doesn’t mean that any of them are “filler” phases.
Because Christ came that we may have life and have it in abundance, I do no think this is just a matter of perspective. I do think, however, it takes perspective to see this as true in our own lives. We need to ask ourselves how we view our current reality, and recognize that it is valuable.
This reality is twofold, however. As much as your current state is precious, so is the next one. As much as we are called to appreciate our current position without being too worried about the future, we are also called to move into and appreciate the next moment without getting stuck in the past.
One of the most beautiful things about being Christian is you don’t have to have the future figured out, you can trust that there is beauty in the current moment, even if you don’t see it from within. You can trust that you are being guided on a mission.
For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. –Jeremiah 29:11
This doesn’t mean, however, that there is no responsibility on your part. I remember throughout leadership camps in high school, we did lots of trust building exercises. One of the most common involved a partner steering you through an obstacle course while you were blindfolded. You had no choice but to put your trust in them, and let them be your guide to get to the end. But they, as your guide, couldn’t take each step for you. Sometimes their direction was a gentle word; sometimes it was a jarring shove to one side or the other. You were still the one who had to put one foot in front of the other, and put in the work to get where you needed to go.
Because God speaks differently to all of us, his guidance will look different. Part of the Christian life is learning to recognize when he is asking you to step, learning from the bruises we get when we step under our own direction, and learning to trust in the steps he asks us to take.
This moment of your life is precious. And… wait 60 seconds… so is this one.
Moment by moment, we are given a gift. And moment by moment, we ask for the grace to trust that our next step will take us where we need to go, we ask that what ought to be carried with us will step in the same direction, and that we will be given the courage to let go of those people and things taking a step in a different direction. And we keep stepping, soaking up and giving back everything along the way.
Do you see your current position as precious? Or are you trying to step too quickly? Are you ready to step when you need to? Or are you too attached to your current position? Whatever the case, we must always keep in mind, whatever the case; you are passing through precious moments. Are you allowing them to be what they ought? Allowing them to penetrate your heart, without taking you over?
Remember, this is real life.