As a father of four, I spend a lot of time talking with kids. They all have different personalities and quirks – it’s part of what makes being a Dad so enjoyable. But all kids love to think about their future.
- “When I grow up, I’m going to…”
- “How many days until my birthday?”
- “I can’t wait until I’m old enough to drive.”
In the same way, a lot of adults I talk with look back fondly on days gone by. Great marketers and entrepreneurs understand how to tap into the sweet spot of nostalgia and discretionary income. Everyone is looking for a way to relive the good ol’ days.
A little of both of these attitudes can be helpful; but before too long, being fixated on your future, or longing for your past creates a lot of problems in your future. Life is seasonal. The healthiest, most fulfilled people I know understand and lean into the unique rhythms of life.
Every season of life carries with it unique joys and challenges.
- When you’re single, you have the freedom to be spontaneous and try new things…but it can be lonely.
- As a young married couple, you’re not worried about finding a babysitter – you’re looking for the best way to spend a weekend or the hottest new restaurant…but life can quickly become very self-absorbed.
- As new parents, your heart grows to love to a depth you never knew possible…but it can also quickly feel like a never-ending string of diaper changes and sippy cups.
I’ve found joy and fulfillment are available in every season, when we embrace the right perspective. The truth is, in some way, right now, this very moment, can be the good ol’ days. You have to remind yourself, “We’re living it right now. This is what I was praying for.”
Now you might say, “Jeff, that’s easy for you to say. But for the rest of us, life is hard. It’s not realistic to be so positive.”
I’m not minimizing the pain and challenges life brings us. I’ve walked with people long enough to know the depth of pain and disappointment that comes our way. I’ve also experienced my own share first-hand. This is not idealistic naivete.
But I also believe joy and gratitude are far more dependent on our perspective than our circumstances. I’ve found reminding myself of three specific, biblical truths helps me see things this way.
1) It’s not always going to be this way.
The Bible tells us life is a breath. The older you get, the more real this becomes. Parents (especially of small children) understand the days are long and the year’s fly by. Whether you’re in a season you can’t wait to get out of or if you wouldn’t change a thing, it’s helpful to remember, this isn’t forever. Life is always…subject to change. The Bible also tells us it’s foolish to say, “Tomorrow is going to be just like today.
2) There’s always something worth celebrating.
Even in the most challenging of circumstances, each day God brings moments of blessing, expressions of His goodness, reminders of His great love for us. And they’re worth celebrating. The Apostle Paul told the church in Philippi that he’d learned how to be grateful and content no matter what he was going through because he learned how to rejoice in the Lord. He wrote those words from a prison cell.
3) God’s preparing your future.
Have you ever caught yourself bracing for bad news in a season where everything was going great? Sociologists call this common phenomenon, “foreboding joy.”Psychologically we don’t let ourselves get too high because it hurts too bad when we get bad news. We try to explain this away by seeing anxiety and worry as defense mechanisms. But Jesus tells us we’re not supposed to live this way. He commanded us not to worry – after all, God provides for sparrows and flowers…and we’re worth far more to Him than birds and plants.
As followers of Christ, we live every day with the hopeful expectation that our loving Father has gone before us and prepared our future. That’s worth celebrating.
Pastor Jeff Little