The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance. The wise grows it under his feet. -James Oppenheim
I remember in college, once scoffing at a professor who told me, "This is the easy part." I couldn't see how "the real world" could possibly be any harder than term papers, mountains of text books, and off-their-rocker-professors who would dare make such a statement. (I'm sorry, Marcy. I really am. I get it now.)
I've said it many times. "Once I reach ________, once I get over this hill, then I'll be happy." The thing is, each hill has yet another hill after it. And each hill presents it's own challenges. And if we have this mindset, then it seems like happiness is always just over the next hill. I once thought I'd find happiness once I got to high school. Then college. Then once I had my own apartment. The goal post never stops moving.
When you want what isn’t happening, want grace more. -Ann Voskamp
This is not to say you can't ever strive for something better. It is perfectly possible (and ok!) to be content and happy with where you are, while also acknowledging that you may not want to be there forever. I have dreams. And I pray to God daily that they be realized in His good timing. But just because there are hopefully even more good dreams to come, doesn't mean where I am now is a nightmare. Where I am now was once but a dream.
And still, there are things in my life I’m working to improve. Milestones I want to hit. Places I want to go. But I don’t want to neglect the here and now. I don’t want this to be wasted time. I want to be able to find happiness and joy where I am. I can strive for something better, while also enjoying the circumstances of now.
Most of life is waiting. Waiting for things to get better. Waiting until it's time to go home. Waiting for Jesus to come back (any day now would be great). But what about all that space in between? If you're in a period of waiting, don't waste it. Don't shut out what you're supposed to learn, how you're supposed to grow.
The Bible has quite a bit to say about waiting. A quick Google search yields dozens of verses. I've just included one:
But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. -Jude 1:20-21
Notice Jude didn't tell the believers to just twiddle their thumbs while they waited. Pray. Build yourselves in faith. Keep yourselves in God's love. To quote John Waller:
While I'm waiting I will serve You. While I'm waiting I will worship. While I'm waiting I will not faint. I'll be running the race even while I wait.
Grow. Learn. Discover. But don't make happiness a focal point in the distance. You won't find it. Find happiness—no; find joy in the here and now. And don't waste the waiting. Because this—yes, even this—is the day that the Lord has made.
Check out my other blog post on waiting HERE