There’s a lot of controversy over the idea of living for today. I could spin it to you a couple different ways:
I could tell you that today is all we have. That we shouldn't worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow isn't guaranteed. That we should stay up late. Make memories. Always eat dessert. Cease the day. Carpe Diem, and all that jazz.
I could tell you that what you do today paints your tomorrow. That you should use today to prepare for a beautiful future. That you should save for retirement. Eat a well-balanced diet. Consider your career trajectory. Invest in a healthy relationship that has potential to lead to a wonderful marriage.
Maybe you're the type that's not worried about tomorrow. Maybe you live with complete optimism that all things will work out as they should. Or maybe you're simply trying to distract yourself from the thought of having to deal with the repercussions of tomorrow because of the way you're living right now.
Perhaps you group yourself into the worrying category. One of those that constantly gets worked up thinking about the future. Maybe you’re worked up about it in a negative way. You fear all the things that could go wrong. You see yourself far away from even having a clue about what to do next. Or maybe you’re like me right now and worked up about your future in an exciting way. You have a dream that you’re so pumped about- that you can’t wait to bring to life. You’re basically sprinting as fast as you can to the light at the end of the tunnel because you want it so badly.
If I wanted to sell this thing like a Hallmark card, it'd be in my best interest to pick an angle and work it hard. It'd sound a lot more dramatic and impactful to have a strong opinion of one side. But allow me to be painfully pragmatic for a moment: you need both. You need a life where you're able to live appreciatively and fully in the present. But you also need a life where you consider your future.
Sure, on paper I'd love a life full of nothing but sunny days and chocolate cake and wine always flowing. But if every today was filled with those things, sooner or later I'd be parched, diabetic and an alcoholic. So I need days where I think about the long term benefits of my future. Where I sigh in agitation and dig into the details of my 401K contribution. Where I wake up at 6am and exercise. Where I go to the dentist or go to bed at a reasonable hour.
God doesn't want us to try to control our lives (as if that's even an option) but he does want to see us show up. So I’m going to live a life that's a balance of the two. I’m going to work tenaciously to chase my dreams and show God I’m up for the challenge. That I believe with Him, all things are possible- and that I’m ready to do the work he’s calling me to do to make those things happen. But each day when I reach the point of not knowing what to do next, when he smiles and says “that’s all for today- we have more in store for tomorrow” I’m not going to fight him. I’m going to drink up the beautiful details of “in the meantime."
Life unfolds slowly one today after another. This weekend in the midst of planning and dreaming and passionately wanting to see a dream of mine magically come to fruition overnight, I had to do a gut check. I had to tell myself "Easy girl, you're not there yet." If I would have let myself continue obsessing, I would have missed a lot of beautiful things. Like the date with my dad at a baseball game, drinking beers and eating peanuts and pretzels dripping with mustard and sharing soft serve ice cream while we talked about this dream of mine. Or sitting up 'til 2 am with friends on my living room floor drinking and talking about life. Or the delicious Greek food my friends and I ordered after church on a rainy Sunday night, talking about Jesus while eating hummus and Spanakopita.
Soon my dad is retiring and moving to Florida. Someday I’ll probably be sitting awake at 2am with an infant, not drunkenly enjoying conversation with my friends. The human metabolism slows down more and more over the years, so I won’t always be able to order Baklava AND Bouyatsa for dessert at that Greek restaurant without paying for it. My point is simply that I have every reason to believe that God will fulfill the desire he’s placed on my heart, but I also have every reason to believe that he has a lot of other gifts to give me in the meantime.
In the process of drinking up the present this weekend, I met a close friend for a drink. This particular friend happens to be the same one I’ve been dreaming this wildly, crazy big dream with- the dream that’s made me shamelessly lust after the tomorrows ahead. As we sat in a dimly lit bar drinking pretentious cocktails among dozens of singles, we shared our longing for this dream. How bad we want it. How awesome we think it’s going to be. Our eyes lit up and the ideas poured out like water bursting from a floodgate. We couldn't freaking wait. After doing this for a little while, we smiled and clinked glasses and acknowledged that we have a long road ahead of us. That there is a lot that needs to be done to make this dream a reality. But the beauty of big dreams is that they slowly unfold one today at a time. We get to celebrate one tiny little victory after another every day that we get closer. And that makes us appreciate it all so much more.
I’m dying to spill my guts about this big crazy dream. To be at the point where I get to tell you that I have it all figured out. That my plan is secure. But I’d be lying through my teeth if I did. I don’t know what any of the details look like. There’s still way too much to figure out to even be able to explain it adequately. But I am working on it. It will come together with time. But until then, I’ll keep spilling my guts about the beautiful things that I do know in the meantime: that life is good- the way that sweet friends are good and dreams are good, and sharing Greek desserts with your friends is good. That tomorrow will be good, because Jesus is good. And in the meantime, today is also good. And it’s dripping with one gem after another if you’ll open your eyes and look for them all.