Monday, July 18

The meantime.

So... Its been a while since I've posted an in depth blog. I'll be getting back to that starting well... now.

Since I've started on third shift I've gotten to know some new people. At night obviously the patients are asleep and there is sometimes not that much to do. As such, we talk to each other... a lot. Topics range from current events (Casey Anthony has been a big debate topic lately), personal preferences, hypothetical situations, would you rather, and all sorts of other things. One of the things that seem to come up the most is future plans. Constantly one of us is saying "When I get to.." or "After _____ is done...". My go to phrase of this nature is "When I get finished with grad school...". I know this isn't specific to me or my coworkers, but its just something that I've noticed in our conversations. We all look forward to the future. Everyone has a milestone that they are looking forward to... for some its a graduation; others look forward to a wedding, a baby, or a promotion. whether its something with a specific date, or just an event that we want at some point, everyone is anticipating something. And while we're at it, lets be honest... we HATE to wait. We reserve tables at restaurants, get movie tickets in advance, and buy things online to avoid waiting in crowds.

Anyway, all this talk about future plans got me to thinking... what do you do in the mean time? How do you make the most of right now while still looking forward to what's to come? I've been chewing on this question for a while now. Partly because this anticipation seems so rampant through casual conversation, and partly because I struggle with the issue myself. I've read a little bit and I came up with a few ideas about making the most of the present while anticipating the future.

Do not boast about [what you’re going to do] tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth. Proverbs 27:1

The truth of the matter though, is that no matter how worried we are or how much we hate to wait, God operates at HIS pace. We can't rush him or slow him down. God knows what he's doing and he operates at a certain pace for a reason. The 'wait time' we experience can be a valuable time to grow and learn life lessons.

Even when it doesn't seem like it, God is in control of the situation. Sometimes we feel like he's doing nothing, but the truth is that he's not doing anything we can SEE. Its sometimes difficult to trust, but God tells us that he is always at work, and some of his handy work we wouldn't even believe:

"Look around at the nations; look and be amazed! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it” (Habakkuk 1:5).

I read an article about waiting recently that was really interesting. Its important to remember that some of the most prominent figures in the Bible had to wait for God's blessing too:Abraham waited 25 years before his wife Sarah gave birth to their first child. Joseph slogged through 13 years of betrayal, false imprisonment and abandonment before assuming the leadership of Egypt. Moses spent 40 years tending sheep before God called him as a deliverer of His people. David spent 14 years before he took the throne of Israel that had been promised to him. And in Jesus’ own ministry, He often told His disciples, “My hour has not yet come.” We aren't the only ones waiting...

We're so anxious for that “next step,” that we don't enjoy the present. We just ruminate on what we yet have. But James 1:4 reminds us to “let patience have her perfect work.” Just because we are technically waiting doesn’t mean we can’t be accomplishing valuable things. Times of uncertainty and doubt are useful periods in which we can draw into God, hone our skills and prepare for the time when that big thing comes along! So, in these times what should we be doing? The Bible offers a couple really good ideas about handling an uncertain future.

1. Let God set your goals. It’s silly to make any plans without first consulting God. He’s the only one who does know the future, and he’s eager to guide you through it. So, why wouldn't we talk about the future with him as much as possible? The Bible says “We may make our plans, but God has the last word” (Proverbs 16:1). In other words, planning without praying is presumption. This is never a good idea. Start by praying, “God, what do you want me to do?”

2. Live one day at a time. While you can plan for tomorrow, you can’t live in tomorrow until it arrives. Most people spend so much time regretting the past and worrying about the future, they have no time for today! Commit to making the most of each moment every single day. Jesus said, “Don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too." So, the best course of action is to live one day at a time. (Matthew 6:34).

3. Don’t procrastinate. Procrastinating is a subtle trap that sooo many of us (including me) fall into on a regular basis. Procrastination wastes today by postponing things until tomorrow. We promise ourselves that we will do it “one of these days,” but then days continue to come and go and our tasks remain unfinished. Id we want to get to the big thing, then we have to get started on the little things now. The Bible says, “Do not boast about [what you’re going to do] tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth” (Proverbs 27:1).

What have you planned to do that you haven’t done yet? When do you intend to start working on it? Is it what God wants you to work on? It seems that these are the key to making the most of the meantime.

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