Cultivating Your Future From Where You Are
Some of my Uncomfortable January posts are about doing things, like calling a friend or taking my dog to get acupuncture. Other posts are uncomfortable things I am choosing to think about such as adoption. This is one of those 'thinking' ones.
I sat down to think about this looming & nagging question that always tumbles around in my brain. It irritates me every time I think about it. Honestly, it stresses me out. I'm guessing it stresses you out too.
In the spirit of making myself uncomfortable, I pulled out my journal and went town with my thoughts on the following question:
How do cultivate my future from where I am?
Yep, we need to be content in the place God has for us. But, thinking about the future isn't always indicative of wanting to skip the present. Sometimes we feel stuck in our seasons...even if we love them.
My stage of life is great & I never doubt its value. I love being a mom, but I know that in a few years my kids will be in school and it will be a new season. I have dreams for that season ahead. Things I want to do and be. But then I look at other people who have the same types of desires and they are already getting their graduate degrees and writing their books. I'm not writing books. I am reading Dr. Suess and Don't Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus ( a great book by the way ) over and over and over. How will that ever compete with a Yale degree?
When I think about myself in 5 years it makes me squirm to think of being so behind. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in this.
Some of you are going back to school because you just now found what career you want to have...10 years after you graduated college the first time. Some of you are wanting to get married & have kids, but feel like by the time that happens all your friends will be buying prom dresses for their kids. You feel like you will be left behind. Perhaps you have longed to be a missionary overseas, but a family dynamic is keeping you here. Maybe it is a physical issue that has come up & put your whole life on hold.
Whatever it is, here we are. In our seasons.
I'm all for being fully present where I am. I genuinely love this season of life, but how do I invest in the seasons to come from where I am? Because, let's be honest, you don't just show up at 40 and start applying to be a director of an NGO.
As I was thinking about it, I had a thought. I'm not trying to get all Secret Garden on you, so bear with me. It's the analogy I have.
Gardens take time to grow. Often I feel like I am trying to grow a beautiful garden but end up just throwing seeds out of my window. I don't have time to go and work in the garden, weed it, water...blah, blah, blah. I'm inside changing diapers, making meals and writing blogs for you lovely people.
I randomly throw out seeds along the way. Reading articles, listening to podcasts on leadership development and volunteering during the kids' naptimes to fight human trafficking. I'll speak on occasion at various events, and brainstorm ways to solve poverty cycles over the phone with a friend while cooking spaghetti.
It's not an accredited education or full-time experience. It's little seeds of possibility I toss out my window into the yard in hopes that someday I'll have a garden.
That is where God comes in. The random seed I throw during the week doesn't fall haphazardly into a random spot. God takes it and plants it into the perfect position. He waters it when I'm not looking and makes it grow with a masterful plan.
I think in a few years I will walk out into the yard and find a wonderful space. One that has been growing for years outside my window. One cultivated just for me. I'll laugh with delight and relief at how it all worked together.
We just throw out seeds as we can. Write a song in your spare time, audit a class, volunteer in a hospital, read a book from someone you aspire to be like...whatever seeds you have. Throw them out your window in faith now.
So, no matter what season we are in we can be content. Not because we aren't supposed to be thinking about the future, but because God is taking our little and creating much on our behalf. He is teaching us lessons we don't know we are learning and creating spaces for us in the future because He is one who goes before us. Making paths and directing steps.
He takes our feeble sand castles built on playgrounds and turns them into kingdoms. Solid, secure and thriving.