I often find myself pondering what the future will hold. I can get so caught up in my hopes and dreams for the future that I get pulled out of my present reality. It’s normal to want our present circumstances to change, or to get better, and it’s normal to hope for the greener pastures of life in the coming days.
I’ve found myself in this stage of life–hoping and dreaming of what the future could hold.
There’s this one big, major problem though, the future is not here.
It’s out there. Somewhere. Off in the distance. It does not exist within life right now.
I find this struggle to make its way into all stages of life, but especially for those in the post-graduation from college life stage. Especially when I’m in conversations with my friends from college it seems the discussion eventually gets to the point where we’ll all be happier once the future arrives.
I had the chance a few weeks back to have coffee with a local pastor and author, Chuck Bomar. He spoke at my church recently and we made some plans to get together to talk life, ministry, writing, and faith. Toward the end of our time together I asked Chuck what advice he would someone like me who is waiting in anticipation for some changes the future might bring. I haven’t forgotten what he shared with me since that day and I’m using his thoughts to help drive me to be present in each moment rather than keeping my eyes fixed on the future.
Here’s two specifics dangers that come up when we’re focused on the future.
1. Don’t look into the future too much, it breeds discontent.
By looking into and dreaming about the future we tend to devalue our present circumstances. We start to think about all the things we’d change–all the things that aren’t going well. But doing so only makes us frustrated so we spend the rest of our time thinking about how much better the future will be when those things change.
Rather than becoming more joyful about life we end up being even more discontent because the present circumstances are not changing fast enough.
2. Continue to recognize what God is currently blessing.
When Chuck said this, it shot right through me. In all my hopes for the future, I realized that I was thinking only about how God would be blessing me when the future became a reality. And, in turn, I had failed to recognize that God was still at work in a mighty way all around my life right now.
Even in the midst of our desire for things to change as quickly as possible, God does not leave the present circumstances and places we find ourselves in. He’s continually at work. It’s us who become better at ignoring His presence.
What are other ways being fixated on the future negatively affect our present circumstances?