What do you want to be when you grow up? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What’s your dream job?
The questions about the future are endless. Endlessly annoying, that is.
These type of questions begin when we’re kids and only continue throughout adulthood. While the intention behind them is probably meaning well, sometimes focusing too much on the future renders today meaningless. Don’t get me wrong, vision is important; it’s essential, actually. It shapes our values and focus so we don’t find ourselves 5 years later in the same place we were 5 years ago. But without the understanding how to bridge the gap from now til then, we often find ourselves stagnant, frustrated, and exhausted with life.
Oh, how we greatly underestimate the power of our decisions in day-to-day life, and in doing so, postpone becoming the person we really desire to become. If I’m honest, this is one of my greatest struggles. I think it’s because I’m a visionary and dreamer and I’m always thinking of what could be as opposed to what actually is.
Years ago my husband got some really great advice that I kind of stole and decided to apply to my own life. We were both in our mid-twenties with big dreams, stuck in jobs we appreciated but didn’t like. We had met a woman who had become very successful in her career and asked if she had any advice for us. She did.
“Take out a piece of paper write out your ideal, normal day. Not a vacation day, just a regular weekday. Starting today, make one small change to make today look like that day, even if it just affects 5 minutes. Do this every day and watch your days start to change.”
Sounds simple enough but there was something really empowering about her advice. Making small changes today can, over time, completely change our lives. It’s not automatic; it’s not instantaneous. It is, however, slow and steady and at a pace that can complement where we are emotionally and spiritually. If one day doesn’t go as planned, it’s just not that big of a deal. If one day turns to two and two days turns to two weeks, then we can start to question what we’re doing and whether or not those choices are reflecting who we say we are or something completely different.
So, now, I don’t view life in terms of years. Life is about every single day and going to bed feeling like you have lived in a way that represents your heart and desires and passions. Really, it’s not even about the perfect day; it’s about having those moments where you feel like, “YES. THIS is what I’m here for and THIS is what life is about.” And in my experience, the more you create those moments, the more you find them happening naturally.
When I go to bed, I try and ask myself these questions:
1. Did I make Jesus priority?
2. Did I value my husband and show him love in a way that he receives well?
3. Did I love and serve my family?
4. Did I pursue the interests and passions God has instilled in my heart and called me to nurture?
5. Did I value relationships?
If I can say yes to the majority of these questions, I think I can go to bed content, knowing that while today might not have been perfect (as I’m writing this, it is 3:40 p.m. & I’m in my 3rd pair of sweats because my daughter has thrown up three times all over me, the couch & herself…she finally just dozed off on the ipad keyboard…yeah, I just left it there) it is simply where I am.
And if I am responsible with today, and Jesus is just as good as he always is, I really don’t have anything to worry about.