Two years ago, I thumbed through old journals, filled with quiet times, sermon notes, and life thoughts. It was like uncovering a time capsule filled with nuggets of truth that spoke to me then, and speak to me now. With chalk in my hand, I wrote those rediscovered truths on my chalkboard wall. Every night at home, I now fall asleep under those one-liners, verses, and self-commands.
Entering the new year, one stood out.
“Stop looking to the next season to make your life better and start looking to Jesus.”
There’s this perpetual cycle of dissatisfaction that I don’t intend on entering, yet I get caught in it and find myself flopping around like a lone sock in the washing machine.
The day-to-day doesn’t quite match up to... Well, I don’t know what I expect it to be. Carefree, no responsibilities? Filled with happy, spontaneous moments? Life according to me?
No matter the expectation, I find myself looking to the next week, the next season, the next year, as a savior from the discontentment dulling my spirit and rendering me motionless. Despite being within the word, there’s a lack of action in dissatisfaction.
Christmas has come and gone, the holiday of much anticipation. In the weeks leading up to “the happiest day of the year,” Advent remained at the forefront of my mind. Specifically, one of the tenants of season: active waiting. Advent is a celebration of what – or rather WHO – has come and a joyous anticipation of greater glory to come.
We wait not in despair or idleness, but in a preparation of the heart, mind, and body of the days to come. Fully reflective, fully present, and fully expectant.
Advent is now a wisp until next November, but its essence remains, prodding my mind. What if its spirit was not limited to a season? What if the Advent-heart is the key to contentment?
The savior of ‘one day’ has failed and will continue to fail me. What I’m fixing on for my joy, my livelihood, my peace and contentment – it shouldn’t be bound by time and circumstances. The god I make of future plans is elusive, but the God of eternal plans and purposes is within my reach, only through the sacrifice of Jesus.
In the dullness of the day-to-day, the dreading of the present, I can carry the command of Haggai 2:4: “Be strong and work.”
Take courage, heart, and set aside your plans and expectations in exchange for the work bestowed upon you and before you. Simply put, start with working on your heart. There’s purpose for the present.
As Shauna Niequist wrote, “I realized my frustration came from my expectations for what this season SHOULD be. (SHOULD, as I’ve mentioned, is always a warning sign.) As soon as I reset my expectations – squaring them with reality instead of SHOULD – I felt a rush of gratitude for what is, in the place of frustration for what is not.”
Reset your expectations, heart. The reality is you're right where you should be. This time is fleeting and full with potential joy-moments and grace-moments. What you find in today is something you cannot find in any other day.
This moment is not wasted, so be strong and get to work.