Do Not Waste This

Nothing looks anything like we thought it would.  What did we really think tomorrow would look like anyway?  Are we ever really accurate with our prediction for the days ahead? I mean, if we were, we would rarely be disappointed, right?  If we had things our way, the days would look perfect and often a lot different than they ever really turn out, wouldn’t they?

I have a one word answer for you and that is – NO!

We wake up in these uncertain times with not much under out control except for how we choose to handle the day-to-day.  We don’t know what tomorrow will look like.  In fact, none of us are guaranteed tomorrow anyway so I say, why not focus on today? 

We have friends who are struggling financially due to the changes that have been made, others will likely have to dip into savings to help them get through this and many who have no savings in which to pull from.  Some friends continue to work and will even pick up overtime, working into exhaustion.  Many have moved to home offices, adopting the newest acronym in the human language – WFH, which means work from home for those of you who are like me and still trying to figure out all the acronyms.

Each of these scenarios mentioned have another side…a side we often don’t think about because it’s not our own.  Financial struggles are a definite possibility for those who are without work at home but physically, they may be able to avoid what they may have otherwise been exposed to had they continued working.  Although finances may not be harmed, those who are fortunate enough to work outside of the home are in harm’s way daily.  Essential workers from those in healthcare to those in the trades, may be continuing to work but the best they can do is take precautions and pray that they remain safe and healthy.  They have to be mindful when they return home and some even have to keep their distance from the ones they love.

My mind goes to the elderly, those who are in nursing homes and retirement communities or people of all ages in hospice, most of which cannot have visitors for obvious reasons.  I think about what this will do to them, the potential for depression and sadness more so than normal.  What if they take their last breath without the chance to say Goodbye to their loved ones?

Nothing about any of this is normal.  We try to create a new normal within the confines of our own home while also complaining in the same breath about having to be stuck there.  We always ask for more time, yet when it’s given to us, we complain and ask, “Why?” 

We support local businesses who are trying to stay afloat.  We keep in touch with our friends and family from afar.  We do church online and worship from our living room.  We do what we can with what we have but still, there are things that make us unhappy.  As my person reminds me often, you feelings are valid.  Your feelings of disappointment are understandable and even relatable to others.  College students, my very own included, had a matter of hours in which to pack up and leave a life they were just getting used to.  Many of them were unable to say Goodbye to friends and coworkers, leaving for spring break never to see the end of their first, or for some, their last school year.  High School students who have worked their entire school age careers to get to their senior year are seeing that things won’t look how they’d hoped or how they have looked for classes in the past.  They are distanced from their friends, pulled from their sports and told that prom and graduation, well, they may not happen. 

Nothing, and I mean nothing, looks like what we pictured. 

But can I challenge you with something?  Something I, myself, have been feeling challenged with.  It is this statement that God put on my heart this morning:

DO NOT WASTE THIS.

As we navigate through the unknown, may we embrace each and every day.  If you want to do that in your pajamas, that is your choice, one you won’t always have the option to make.  But what if you could use this time to do all the things you never do because you don’t ever seem to have the time? What if you used this as an opportunity to read a good book, make time for yourself, get to know your spouse and your kids again?  We often create a distance between ourselves and the ones in our very home because we get caught in the busyness of today.  What if, instead of making yourself so busy with stuff, what if you decided what stuff is most important? 

Don’t waste this time perusing Facebook or Instagram to see what other people are doing right now, do something yourself! Make memories, start writing a journal about this experience because I guarantee, nothing like this will happen again, nothing exactly like this that is. 

Our world has been disrupted. 

We have learned that the control we thought we had was never ours to begin with.  God is the only One Who knows what’s next.  Instead of focusing on what tomorrow looks like, or next week, next month or even six months from now, what if you focused on today, what’s right in front of you? 

Worry, fear, anxiety, they are all expected emotions of walking through the unknown.  But they don’t have to be the emotion with which we carry ourselves moving forward.  Maybe things look different than we expected but maybe, just maybe, we have been expecting too much all along.  Things are shaken up – a lot – but here’s one thing about God…He’s the same today, tomorrow and forever [Hebrews 13:8]!  He doesn’t want us to find comfort in physical things or in our circumstances because all of that can change in an instant, as we have seen.  

But God!!

God wants us to find our comfort in Him. 

Once we figure out how to do that, the situations around us won’t seem so life-altering.  Life we know it will never be the same.  It can’t be.  But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.  How we handle this situation now says a lot about what we are doing with this time.  So I want to ask you this, what are you going to do with this?  How are you going to come out of this different than you went into it?  Things may be out of our control but they’re not out of God’s.  Believe it or not, He is with us in this mess.  He cares for us and wants us to trust in Him, not in one another or in the very things we have been placing our confidence.  You see, we can’t trust in people and expect them not to fail us.  We are all humans with the tendency to fail, with imperfection, feelings and circumstances none of us understands or may ever.  But we have a choice with which to move forward.  We can spend time with our family, clean out our closets, go for a walk outside, and maybe even pray a little more. 

I don’t know what your situation looks like but I am praying for you. 

I don’t understand what you’re going through because I can only be me, but I am thinking about you and what you’re going through.

I don’t know when this will all be over but you know what I do know? I know that I want to be different when it is.  I don’t want things to go back to normal. I like seeing people turning to God more than ever before.  I like to see kids out in their neighborhoods hunting teddy bears and shamrocks in windows.  I like seeing people supporting local businesses and being courteous to one another when in the stores.  I like seeing the businesses, big and small, clean and sanitized! I like knowing that on the other side of the television are my church friends, watching the same church service, singing songs in the jammies and taking notes from their couch.  I like making a meal plan based on what I have in the house already instead of buying more groceries!  I find it challenging to not waste what is leftover, to find creative ways to use what we have and the time to try new things.  As I look at this empty calendar, I can’t help but have a sense of peace.  Our calendar never looks like this. There’s always something to do or somewhere to be.  But with an empty calendar, I am left at the mercy of what each day will look like and the freedom to choose what I do with it

2 Timothy 1:7 says, For God did not give us a spirit of fear but of love, of power and of a sound mind. 

Some versions say, He didn’t make us timid and instead of sound mind, they speak of self-discipline.  No matter how you rearrange the words, the intention is the same.  God doesn’t want us to give into fear but to stand strong in what He has given us and that is love, power and self-control.  When you look at it that way, there’s no opportunity to fall apart.  God gave us those three things and more!!

Look at what The Passion Translation says about the Fruits of the Spirit that God has given each of us:

But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions:
joy that overflows,
peace that subdues,
patience that endures,
kindness in action,
a life full of virtue,
faith that prevails,
gentleness of heart, and
strength of spirit.
Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless.

[Galatians 5:22-23]

Let us not waste today.  Let us not waste this time we have been given.  Even in the uncertainty around us, we can be certain in Him.  Let us not waste the opportunity to grow, to not just sit still but to be moved! 

Matthew 6:34 says,

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Since we don’t know about tomorrow how about we focus on today?  Let’s not waste it friends.

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