Getting settled here in our new home (the one we’ve lived in for about a year now) has taken some time. It’s the “civilian world” so things operate a bit differently. We’ve found a church home, met our neighbors, and gotten involved in other activities with kids. Additionally, we’ve located the local taco joint, chosen our favorite grocery store, realized nobody “delivers to our area,” and are able to run the loop through our neighborhood almost blindfolded.
All of these are pretty normal in our nomadic life, but our favorite thing lately is the trail.
A paved 10-mile trail from the north side of town to downtown has been our adventure of late. From creeks we can play in to a stroll by the horse park, we’ve enjoyed our adventures. The trail affords us a break from “city life” not so far from home.
As we’ve wandered the trail, we’ve started to see a repeated pattern. We plan to be out for a specific period of time and find ourselves out much longer. The challenge is not that we get lost but that we just want to see the next leg of the journey.
Whether a curve in the trail or a small hill we simply want to see what’s next.
As we wait for a move we’re expecting next summer, I have the same challenge with our life. Instead of enjoying today and the Lord’s faithfulness today, I keep trying to take a peek at the next thing, wondering what’s around the curve or over the hill. I get curious about the next adventure, wondering about neighbors, travel, and a church home and forget to be content in the place where I live.
I can even go so far as to start to worry about what military retirement looks like, sending our kids out into the world, or even the nitty gritty of what to take with us from here and what should just be purged.
The excitement of looking ahead, anticipating the adventures to come can at times be eclipsed by concern for all of the unknowns. Much like our hikes down the trail the looking ahead, longing for what’s to come can take us on an adventure we weren’t quite prepared for. Whether the sun gets too hot and we didn’t bring water or that extra curve ended with blisters on someone’s feet before we got back to the beginning, I can long so much for what’s next that I forget to live here.
Focus on the Family said it this way, “Contentment, contrary to popular opinion, does not mean being satisfied where you are. Rather, it is knowing God’s plan for your life, having a conviction to live it, and believing that God’s peace is greater than the world’s problems.”
A conviction to live God’s plan for our lives – TODAY.
Philippians reiterates this same idea:
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.(Philippians 4:4-7)
Continuing to read in that same chapter, Paul talks about what we SHOULD focus on (verses 8 and 9) and then reminds us to be content in all circumstances because we “can do all things through him who strengthens us.”
It comes down to a matter of focus.
Am I looking at what the Lord is doing in my world today, right now and having the courage to join him in that work? Or am I missing what’s right in front of me because I’m looking so far down the trail in hopes of catching a glimpse of what’s next?
Regardless of what’s around the next curve or over the next hill, God will still be faithful, he’ll still be good, he’ll still love us and lead us just the same. If you’re struggling like me to live where I am today, I pray you’ll shift your focus too and enjoy where God has you planted today.