A few years ago, I found myself living at home with my parents and working a part-time job in retail while I waited for the next thing, for the chance I would have to actually start “living” my life. In this season, I found it far too easy to look ahead and wait for what I thought was missing, instead of choosing to be present right where God had me. It took me almost a full year to accept where I was and to let go and trust that God was using that season for a purpose. (Side note: It was actually at an IF:Local gathering that God spoke so clearly to me about what He had for me in that season, but that’s a story for another time!)
If you’re anything like me, you’ve often found security and stability in having a planner full of appointments and errands, a to-do list with urgent tasks to complete, and a calendar reminding you of trips and fun plans to look forward to. But what if your calendar is completely wiped clean, your to-do list almost non-existent, and your appointments all cancelled for the foreseeable future? Well that’s exactly where we’re all finding ourselves these days, isn’t it?
Since we’re now over six weeks into “stay at home” orders here in Dallas in response to the worldwide pandemic, I’ve had some to reflect and think about what God might have for me in this season. Similarly to my extended period of living at home, I’m learning that God might actually have a purpose for this time. My quiet times keep leading me back to Matthew 6, when Matthew writes, “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow…God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes” (Matthew 6:34 MSG). Did you catch that? Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now. Don’t worry about tomorrow, but be present in today.
I wholeheartedly believe that God has given us this season as an opportunity to sit in His presence, to be still, and to let Him simply be enough. I’ve learned that sitting in the moments which are actually happening in my life right now is one of the best things I can do, no matter how hard it feels. This practice of being present reminds me to look for God in my everyday and opens my heart to see that it is in these small moments where life, abundant life, is lived. When I embrace what these days actually are, instead of wishing for what I want them to be, I can invite Jesus into them and remember that life exists right here and right now, not when my calendar is full or I’m able to travel again.
So if you’ve been trying to look ahead for the day when life will feel somewhat “normal”, I invite you to pause and think about what you want to be true of these days. Do you want them to be a time of frustration and unsatisfied longing? Or do you want them to be full of joy and peace, purpose and rest? What I find most fundamental about the verse from Matthew 6:34 is that the words follow an entire section of scripture in which we are told not to worry about our lives. It seems, then, that the antidote to worrying is to be present and to embrace the presence of God. Let’s make that what is most true of our days. Let’s remember that in the presence of God we have fullness of joy and all that we need. Let’s choose to delight in our Savior and not waste a single unplanned day waiting or wishing for things to be different. THESE are the days, friends; let us rejoice and be glad in them!
Written by Kristen Schryver