“When I grow up I want to be…” Answer as your 5-year-old self or as you are now.
There is something fascinating that happens to many people in this fallible world.
Most people do not appreciate their present situation, therefore they always look to the future or reminisce in the past.
I get caught in this trap, constantly. And I definitely get caught in the trap of longing for the next season. As I was driving to work today, the Lord gently reminded me of all the times I was so excited and hopeful for the next season in my life growing up.
In elementary school, I could not wait to go to middle school, because I thought it included more freedom, which it did.
In middle school, I could not wait to go to high school, because it meant I could start driving at 16 and hang out with my friends, which I did.
In high school, I could not wait to go to college, because it meant I would be an adult, and make choices adults make, be able to earn my own money, and spend it on things that I wanted to buy or do things I wanted to do, which I did.
In college, I could not wait until I was finished with school, because it meant I could be a full fledged adult and live on my own, pay my own bills, travel, and the world would be at my fingertips, which it was.
The Lord reminded me how keen I was to move on to the next part of my story, in each season of my life. He also noted that I am still restless about moving on to the next season, today. So much so, that I am missing the beauty that surrounds me.
Because when I am not thinking about the future, I am thinking about the past. And the conversations I have with the younger versions of myself are always to be present and to not take advantage of that time.
I tell the 8 year old me to live fully and play as much as she can. To appreciate the playground at school. To roll down the hills with freedom. To swing on the monkey bars with glee. To swing as high as possible and jump off the swing with great heights. Because within the next two years, she will have some growing up to do.
I tell the 12 year old me to appreciate the tight knit community that she has at school. To appreciate the teachers and classmates that truly loved and support her, because authentic community is hard to find. To know how loved she is and know she is cared for by the adults in her life. Because this is the community that will cultivate the heart that she has and the community that will teach her how to love
I tell the 17 year old me to slow down and that she’s moving too fast, literally. Getting a speeding ticket for going 85 miles per hour is not ok. I also tell her to appreciate the family that she has made from her friends in high school, because most of them will be her family for a long time. I tell her to hang on to the sweet moments, like playing hide and seek in Megan’s neighborhood for her 18th birthday and seeing Priscilla run faster than the wind because she did not want to get caught. And seeing Joe and Chris climb up trees, while some of us are on the hood of Chris’s car listening to “Here’s to the Night” by Eve 6. To hold on to those sweet moments, because they will never be replicated.
I tell the 22 year old me to appreciate all traveling opportunities that she has and to act her age. I tell her to stop trying to grow up so fast, because being in her early 20s only happens once. I tell her to make mistakes and stop trying to be so perfect and in control, because control was never hers in the first place. I tell her not to take opportunities for granted and try new things as often as possible.
I do not want to be in the next season of my life, looking back at this season, and seeing that I needed to be more present.
So, when I grow up…
I want to be in the center of the Lord’s will and be present in the season that he has gifted me with. Whether it’s missions. Whether it’s marriage. Whether it’s motherhood. Whether it’s Africa. Whether it’s Mars or Jupiter. I want to appreciate His blessings and consider this life a gift.
I want a heart of obedience. Consistently, the Lord shows me that if I say yes to His commands, He will take care of the rest. Sometimes, though, saying yes is the hardest part.
I want His perspective. There are times when I get pulled into the tunnel vision of seeing the world as life, when I know that we, as His children, have been set apart.
I want to live the story he wrote for me and have faith that it will all point to Jesus in the end.
My heart’s cry is to remember that my days are numbered. My sweet hope is to not waste a second.
Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. (Colossians 3:17)
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)