Time Out

“Miss Mowwyy…” I felt a tap on my knee from a tiny hand. I looked up from my work and saw one of my students, her usual smiling face was gone. Her eyes were red and tears were rolling down her cheeks. I got up out of my seat and knelt down next to her.

“What’s wrong sweetie?” She sniffled a few times and started to talk.

“I’m really worried. I don’t know what I should study in college. Not to mention, What meal plan should I choose? Gosh. What if I graduate college with a degree in English but can’t find a steady job? How will I support myself? How many kids is too many kids? What if my husband and I can’t agree on where to live: city, suburbs, country? What about my kids? Should they go to private school or public school?”

This conversation never happened, I’ve only been a preschool teacher for a month, but I bet you $3 that it never will. Why? Because kids live in the moment. They don’t worry about stuff. Sure, it helps that 4 year olds have no concept of time or what day of the week it is, but still.  As exaggerated and untrue as the story was, I realized that I sound a lot like a 4 year old worried about what college, when I worry about the future. The 4 year old sounded so silly because she didn’t have to make that decision as a 4 year old. Sure that 4 year old one day will be 18 and have to choose a major, but that’s 14 years of life to figure it out. She’s going to grow a lot, find friends, find her talents and gifts. Study, learn, go through classes. She’ll experience stuff that is going to shape her. Then when that day comes she’ll have all the information she needs to make that choice.

I have job now and it only took a week for me to start worrying about what I was going to do next school year which  is over 300 days away. A lot has to happen between this moment and that moment when I make a choice of what to do. Trying to figure out, or plan what I’m going to do 300 days from now is like trying to guess the picture of a 365 piece puzzle with only 65 of its pieces. It’s frustrating and nearly impossible.  You know how you put a puzzle piece together? one piece at a time.   And guess what,  “The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time,” said Abraham Lincoln. And isn’t that great news?

So my friends, Don’t let the future distract you from what’s going on right now. Don’t allow the unknown days to come to rob you of the experiences of today. Try something for me: put your hand out in front of you and wiggle your fingers. See that? You’re alive. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is unknown, and today is all you have. And like Jesus said Today is enough. Did you hear that? Today is enough. I know this all sounds like cliche mumbo jumbo, but it never hurts to be reminded. Worry is a contagious disease, and a silent killer. It kills your joy, it kills time. It’s okay to think about the future. It’s okay to make plans, to consider different options for the future.  But, as I’ve come to realize, my ideas and plans fail in comparison to God’s plans for my life.

Last little story, I went to a camp as a leader this summer. It was a Christian Adventure camp and they did not give you a lanyard with the hour by hour schedule. Nope, no one knew the schedule for the day except the counselors. And if anyone asked a question like: What are we doing next? or What’s for dinner? The counselors (and anyone on staff) would answer “WAFO!” which stands for Wait and Find Out. It was so frustrating at times, but it also freed me up to enjoy each moment. Not knowing what was going to happen next allowed me to enjoy whatever was happening at the moment. It also freed me from having expectations. On Wednesday night, there was an awesome blacklight, glowstick dance party. It was amazing. But If I had known about that on Monday morning, I would have had 3 days to imagine what it would be like,  and build up all these impossible expectations, then ultimately be let down because it didn’t measure up to what I imagined in my head. Instead, I enjoyed each activity for what it was, because I couldn’t build up any expectations.

Remember, the future happens one day at time.

Until then, WAFO, and enjoy today for what it is.

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