There is a meaningful message being woven into my days of mess that I don’t want to overlook.
It’s for you, too.
Aren’t we all caught seeking after something? And weren’t we promised that, once we finally capture it, we will be content?
A job position, a college acceptance letter, a husband or wife, a new home, a clean home, more youthful skin, richer hair color, social media prestige… We strive.
And boy, we don’t like the wait. Our culture only perpetuates more acutely each day the question of why would we need to? Instant gratification is at our fingertips. We know this; I’m not telling you anything you haven’t heard.
This post is as much for myself as it is for anyone else because the message I want to share with you is one I really find difficult to accept on my own.
We are to thrive, right here. Things unfinished, prayers unanswered, acceptances still pending.
Why does this seem astronomically hard? We have dreams our hearts hope so dearly for, work so hard for, yet we are invited to rejoice in today, too. The times that take place before those dreams come true. We are given the chance to make right now all it can be. Thrive, bloom, flourish. Make it rich.
Not when the wait is over; not when our ambitions have come to fruition; now.
You might not presently find yourself in a place you hope to be for very long. Whether you define yourself as unemployed, single, broken, busy, stuck, challenged, or disabled. You can thrive there.
Here. Right where you are, as you read this.
There are things I hope for; there are prayers I’ve been praying for longer than I’d like. There are certain dreams not yet embarked upon, because God hasn’t given me permission to take those next steps. I’m ready for some of these waiting periods to be over, no doubt.
But I would be so regretful to not engage fully in my current circumstances. One of the most timeless quotes is by Jim Elliot who said, “Wherever you are, be all there.” I am caught in the middle of a moment I’ll never have again; I don’t want to turn the invitation down to attend to my right now, completely and intentionally. I want to be all here.
I don’t believe I’m bringing anything new and inspirational to you today; this idea is really being told by hundreds of writers, bloggers, speakers, and communicators all over the place. But we do so little to actually heed the message.
In fact, let me just bring it to you from Joanna Gaines. Wouldn’t we think she’s “got it all?” But here she is, raw and honest: “I always thought that the ‘thriving’ would come when everything was perfect, and what I learned is that it’s actually down in the mess that things get good. It was such a blessing to find myself thriving in the middle of the pain. Unless you find a way to do that, there’s always going to be this fake illusion that once you get there – wherever ‘there’ is for you – you’ll be happy. But that’s just not life. If you can’t find happiness in the ugliness, you’re not going to find it in the beauty, either.”
To elaborate a tad more, she thought that her home needed to be at a pristine level of perfection, her finances needed to be in the best shape ever, and her kids needed to be a little less messy in order to feel as if she’d arrived and could at once rest. Then one day, in the middle of a spilled glass of milk and an exasperated heart, she had an epiphany; she needed to redefine perfection, or rather throw it all altogether. She learned to dive into the richness of right now. Before the milk got cleaned up and her table returned to its flawless state.
Sometimes it takes just hearing it one more time, brought to you in a fresh way.
Discontentment is purposeful at times because it can push us to aim for more if we slip into the monotonous rhythm of living too complacently. But discontentment as a result of ingratitude which causes us to not appreciate the things we have now and impatience because we can’t wait for that next best thing… that’s the culprit who can really rob us of true life.
I already feel like time speeds ahead at a pace I cannot keep up with sometimes; I am not going to squander the moments I’ve been given today when the alternative choice is to thrive in them. I’m going to be all in. I will make this season count.
This means working long and hard at my job, engaging the people around me with meaningful conversation, learning how to become better at what I do, and committing to the tasks I’ve been given with a peculiar excellence. I’ll never have this chance again. I love how Priscilla Shirer once said it, “The grass is always greener where you water it.”
Will we choose to spend time gazing on social media at all of the perfectly edited grass in someone else’s picture, or will we get our hands dirty and go work out in our own backyard? You may find a mess when you step out there, but with care and intentionality, it could really become a garden. This season can look good on you; as tiresome and lifeless as it seems now, it can be an incredible chapter with specific meaning to your story. If you let it.
Be present today. If you can’t find this contentment, I wonder if you’ll ever even find it once you eventually arrive?
Can we agree to believe that everything, as it is, can be a recipe for abundance? Things that are hoped for take up wonderful spaces in our hearts, but there’s nothing like what you’ve been given right now. Don’t wish it away; stir up something worth talking about.