Preface: I wrote this post about a year and a half ago, when I was thinking of starting this blog. This was my “why.” I have a few musings from the time since then. Check it out here.
For my entire life, or as long as I can remember, I’ve been a go-getter. An overachiever. Determined to make it to whatever life had in store for me next. I was always in a hurry to get there, too. I was never satisfied where I was. I always wanted to do better, be better, and get to the next thing.
This served me well for many years. I was always an honor roll student and succeeded at many sports. If I set my mind to it, I achieved it. But I was never satisfied. Ever. I’d meet my goal and immediately set the next one. I was a pole vaulter in high school. Instead of competing against the other vaulters, I competed against myself. It wasn’t enough to win the track meet; I had to beat my previous highest jump. If not, I had lost. What a terrible way to live.
I wasn’t able to fully enjoy or embrace the season that I was in or the moment that God had given me because I was too focused on the next one. I couldn’t wait for middle school. Then, I couldn’t wait for high school. And, like most high school students, I couldn’t wait to get to college. In college, I couldn’t wait to graduate and marry my husband, who would be joining the Air Force after he graduated. So, I graduated high school early and started attending college immediately. I went straight through, never taking a summer off and always taking extra classes. I had set a goal to graduate with him and I was determined to achieve it. That I did. I graduated in 2.5 years and married him 2 weeks later.
I had made it! I had achieved every goal I had set all the way through life. But there I was, just shy of 20, and I wasn’t sure what my next goal was. I was totally lost.
The other day I was on the phone with one of my best friends, a girl I met in the College of Business at ECU. I had an epiphany. I realized why I felt so torn. For the past 7 years, I hadn’t known what the next thing was going to be for me.
Along the way, God has molded and shaped me. He has made me a wife, a mother and a much better child of God. But I didn’t participate much in that process and it was painful. I had been selfishly searching for what I was supposed to be doing, while simultaneously missing all the gifts of the present.
Over the past 7 years since marrying my husband, we have lived in 4 states, stayed in Hawaii, visited 6 European countries, and endured 5 deployments and more TDYs that I can count. I’ve never had a “normal” job, even with my 2 diplomas from ECU. We are about to have our 3rd child in this next month. Throughout all of this, I was trying to figure out what it was that I was supposed to do next. But I couldn’t.
The other day, on the phone with my dear friend, I realized why. God had been trying to teach me for 7 years that I needed to focus on the now. To bloom where I had been planted. To rejoice in today. Today is a gift. The military will teach you that. Before I was a military spouse, I was quite the type A personality. I was not spontaneous. I had more than one planner and calendar and I loved sticky notes and lists. After seeing every single plan I could make be changed by something that I couldn’t control for 7 years, I’ve been changed.
You see, God doesn’t want us to always be so focused on tomorrow. Or on next month. Or on next year. We have to find joy in the now. It doesn’t matter what our 5 year plan is. If God has a different one, then our plan is useless.
I missed out on enjoying the now in so many of the amazing moments of the past 7 years. I’ll never get that time back. For now, my “goal” is to always enjoy the moment and the season where God has placed me. Even if… Even if my business doesn’t grow as fast as I’d like it to. Even if my husband isn’t home. Even if the house takes months longer than expected to build. Even if it’s not easy. If, if, if. We will never be able to avoid the ifs in life, so let’s make the most of the now.
Today, I’m thankful that I have a supportive family who I can be with when my husband is away. I’m thankful for the laughter of my kiddos playing together. Next week, my daughter starts Kindergarten and I will miss the sound of the two of them together. I’m thankful for the sunshine and for a day where it doesn’t rain (it’s been raining every single day lately). I’m thankful that my husband is supportive of me, no matter how far away he is. I’m thankful for the AC when I’m 9 months pregnant in September. I’m thankful for today. I’m most thankful for being able to live today, not knowing what tomorrow holds, but knowing who holds tomorrow. In the meantime, I will find joy and I will learn to live while I wait. Won’t you join me?