It finally hit me this weekend:
I have no idea where I’ll be at this exact time next year.
When you’re a college senior, everyone asks you the same questions: where are you going after you graduate? What do you plan on doing with your English degree? Do you want to stay in the Bay Area or head back to your hometown? Are you looking forward to it? What are you hoping to do with your life?
Understandably, it gets overwhelming.
A friend pointed out this weekend what a forward-thinking culture we live in. We’re always looking forward to what’s next, what we’re going to be, what we want to be, what we should be. We rarely sit and ponder this moment, today, right now. We’re rarely — are we ever? — content with our circumstances.
I think contentment is closer to the ideal, though. While it’s not wrong to dream big, make plans, look forward, try something new, imagine, hope, or aspire, we must be content in the moment we’re living in right now. Ultimately, it’s the only thing we can change. We have no idea what tomorrow brings, or even next year, and ultimately we’re powerless to control the future. But we can strive in this moment to be content — actively content, that is. We can strive to not sit and be lazy, but to be concerned with working in and shaping this moment.
Our alternative is to dwell on the future, forgetting the present. We forsake the “right now” to instead imagine “what might be.” But what “might be”? A lot of things. What we do know, more or less, is what we have right now. Right now should be our primary focus.
I don’t know what the future holds… but I know Who holds the future. And in that, I have peace.
…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11b-13
A good read: Boundless, “This Time Next Year” by Martha Krienke