Wasted Time

I was horrified, could it really be true? I had just opened up my journal to write down a few thoughts, but first I found myself reading my very first entry. The date was marked 3/13/2002. The entry was a short prayer, a prayer I wrote back while I was still in college just over 10 years ago. Reading it now made me angrier than I have been in a very long time. It was a glimpse back into a forgotten past, but it was also a vision for what the next 10 years (now the last 10 years) would bring. I was angry at God, but I was angrier at myself. 10 years ago, I confessed to my journal my frustrations about life, where I was at, and lack of direction in knowing how to move forward. Reading this infuriated me because today I pray the same prayer, begging God for a purpose and for a plan. What scared me was that I apparently was stuck and had not even realized it.

For 10 years, my wheels have been spinning, yet here I stood with the same worries and concerns from my past. After the urge to throw the journal across the room had subsided, I began to ponder the reality of the situation. I was not angry at the fact that nothing had changed in ten years. Plenty had changed; I married my best friend from college, I have moved many different times, experienced many different things, and held a few different jobs. What I was really angry about was the fact that after all this time I still refused to accept that life is lived moment by moment.

The last 10 years have been a blur of success and failures, but the real issue is not found in lost wealth or dashed dreams. The heartbreaking reality is that all this time, God had been moving me through life, giving me people to interact with, and offering me ways to serve and make a difference. But it was not how I thought it should be, so I closed my eyes to those around me and prayed that God would take me to where I was supposed to go. The problem is that I decided to keep my eyes closed until we got to wherever we were going.  10 years ago, I prayed and asked God to send me where he needs me, then proceeded to cry and complain the whole way there. I think I just assumed that I would be magically transported to some grand destination in life. I failed to realize that there would be a lot of layovers along the way. More importantly, I refused to believe that I could be useful during those layovers.

How many of us waste away our days, miss opportunities, and fail to fully live, because we are too busy wishing things were different? Even on a simple scale, we all walk through the week just waiting for the weekend. What is it about us that demands we constantly ignore the moment while waiting for tomorrow? The truth is that today will never be as good as we wanted it to be; there will always be unexpected hurdles, a cold, a broken-down car, a poor performing employee, a bad grade at school.

Life is full of moments that we would rather wish away, but these are the real moments of our lives.  These are the moments that test our true character. Do we simply wish them away, or do we live in the moment and seek to better ourselves and those around us, no matter what? Do we complain and cry or do we die to ourselves and say, “This is not where I thought I would be, but here I am, so use me”? We tell ourselves that we can’t help others, we can’t find opportunities, and we can’t get ahead until everything in our life is lined up just the way we think it should be.  We miss out on so much by simply wishing away today, by only hoping for better times to come. Ultimately, we can serve, grow, and build a better life today, or we can close our eyes and pray that tomorrow will arrive quickly. We can miss out on life by only focusing on our dissatisfaction of current circumstances, or we can realize that every moment is special and every second brings with it opportunities, lessons, and even a little joy.