Have you ever read a book that took complete hold of your attention within the first few paragraphs? Well I hadn’t, until recently. Cold Tangerines, by Shauna Niequist. It’s an easy read, it’s light and cheerful and makes the perfect summer book. However in the first few pages Shauna outlines the premise of the whole book which has to do with enjoying and celebrating each day, however she had me at chapter one, the chapter on – waiting. Shauna describes how she spent most of her life “waiting on her big moment” you know how life gets better after this or after that. She went on to say that the day came that she realized years were passing as she was waiting for her big moment, and that the only thing her days consisted of was going to work and coming home. That made me laugh. And made me want to cry to because I got it, all too well. She wrote that unless you won American Idol or something huge like that that maybe there wasn’t any big life altering moment waiting on us a million days away. I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the book but I came away with everything I needed to know in that first chapter.
I am sad to say I have bought into the urban myth that “the best is yet to come” so much so that I missed a million God moments in all of my yesterdays. No doubt that God has great things in store for us in the future, but that should have been a given. What made this subtle lie even more real to me was that I am married to visionary……and visions happen in the future right? So I started very young practicing this “waiting” and just living for something else to happen to me other than what was happening to me right now. I can cry just thinking about it. The concept of celebrating today seemed ridiculous, I mean unless it was a child’s birthday or a special anniversary, my todays were just well slightly boring, and if the big stuff happened later than what was the point of focusing too intently on today right? Wrong, oh my, so so wrong. I threw out that theology like an old rag and everything is different now. I began to realize that God was not holding out on me. He was not holding my joy and happiness hostage like some carrot on a stick with a false premise that if I behave well today that one day I will attain life’s big moment and true contentment. The fibers and quality of life happens today, but nobody told me that. Every sermon I heard seemed to point to the future, and let’s be clear, the future for really good well behaved people. I saw myself disqualified daily, slowly losing hope. My days were hard. My days were full of little kids, little money, and a lot of work and because I wasn’t bursting with joy like a good christian, I was slowly disqualifying myself for my big moment so what was the point of trying anymore. Dangerous living like that.
My perspective has made an important shift to looking intently into my today to find life. To find what I call- heaven winks. Today I can cultivate beauty with my hands and words enriching the lives of those around me, which enriches my life. I practice gratitude by counting gifts He scatters for me to find like a big scavenger hunt. Finding God in the mundane has made me feel like I bought these amazing new glasses that help me see the wonder of a day that the God of the universe planned for just for me. It’s like a gift that I get to unwrap and see what unfolds. Not all my days are filled with amazing things but I am learning to appreciate each moment and I find God a whole lot more now. Turns out He was lurking everywhere. Now I take deeper pleasure in our family meals, I plan our family outings with a little more creativity, I relish when the rain comes, I look for more gifts to jot down in my gratitude journal, I ask God more questions through out my day. We chat a lot more now me and God, because we live deeply interwined in all my current moments and I don’t want to miss anything.
Goodness, why had I not seen it before. In scripture God calls Himself the great I AM, not the great I Will Be. He wants to dazzle me today, comfort me today, teach me today, bless me today, use me today. But now it takes practice. See it’s hard for me to break old habits. It was easier for me to just let my days pass with my half hearted attention, after all , the good important stuff was going to happen later anyway. The reality is, we don’t find what we don’t seek, so unless a person is fully aware that God is wanting to invade their current day, this 24 hours, they are not really looking for it or living for it, so we miss it. I know this new habitude will take me a life time to practice, but I am glad for it. I am challenged and awakened now to the possibilities. Even in my hardest days I have a deeper sense of hope, a clearer perspective. So what about you? Have you bought into the urban myth that all the best of your life happens in some future moment that you have stopped seeking to fully live today? Don’t buy it friend, the good stuff happens today. Seek for it, open your eyes to it, ask God to show you, let him dazzle you with rain that comforts, sunshine that warms, books that lead to adventure, hands to hold, friends to love, meals to share, children to teach, examples to model, tears to shed in prayer, whatever today brings take hold of it, because God is wanting to cup you in hands and draw you close and breath life into all your moments of today.
“seek and you shall find” Mathew 7:7