This time of year can be tough.
It’s cold and dark. For many people, it’s finally dawning on us that we have yet another three remaining long months of winter (or more). It’s the beginning of another semester of school, and the Christmas season is over. The few hours of sunlight we have seem to fly by all too quickly while the darkness stretches on and on. The warmth and carefree spirit of summer appears to be eons off into the future, and the trudge of January seems to be the only thing there will ever be. And, to top things off, people seem to be just a little more impatient and less kind than they did three weeks ago when it was Christmas.
For reasons such as these, this time of year I find myself wanting to do only a few things. Things such as…
For some crazy reason, I don’t find myself quite as motivated as I usually am during the rest of the year. Even while in class, I catch myself daydreaming and thinking about the things I have to get done before the day ends. Instead of focusing on the present moment, I often find myself in an “energy saver” mode: subconsciously saving energy in order to endure and make it through my tasks that are yet to come.
And subsequently, I’ve realized that I’m not putting my very best into anything that I’m doing.
Additionally, due to time spent dwelling on the future, I find myself consumed with plans and worries of what is to come. Thoughts such as “what am I going to do if this happens? Oh, what should I do to make that work smoother? Shoot, I don’t know much about that; perhaps I shouldn’t do it!”
But here’s the thing: We were not created to have thoughts preoccupied with fear; nor were we designed to live comfortable and controlled safe lives.
Lately I’ve been realizing more and more that I need to give up two specific areas of my life to the Lord:
fear and control.
God doesn’t want us to be preoccupied with what is to come or afraid of what may or may not happen. We don’t need to shy away from our fears, but instead we can confidently face them head on with the knowledge that the Lord is directly by our side. We don’t need to feel like we are the ones who are in control, because newsflash: we ultimately are not. Sure, we can plan and set goals of what we desire our lives to be like, but the course of our lives will ultimately be up to God and what He desires for each of us. There may be many possible routes; however, I’m a believer that if we trust Him, whatever He desires will eventually happen regardless of the decisions we make. Am I saying we don’t actually have free will? Of course not! But I’m also a believer that God works at an entirely different level and dimension beyond our own, and that He far surpasses the concept of free will. (But that’s a different topic and debate entirely.)
I love reading Psalm 46: 1-3. It says:
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”
Philippians 4: 6-7 also says:
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises SHAPE your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for Good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the CENTER of your life.”
So get out of your funk and quit focusing so much on the future. Be thankful for what you have in THIS MOMENT, because who knows when it will be your last. Focus on the now, and give up your worries and concerns to the only One who ultimately can take care of them.
Go live this week living more presently in every moment – consciously engaged, fulfilled, and loved.
currently lives in Fargo, North Dakota where she works remotely as a Policy and Communication Manager for the First Lady of North Dakota. Photography and writing are a passion that help her better appreciate the details of the world.