I love spring. I love watching the earth come to life after walking through a season of gray and darkness. During our long Iowa winters, I often grow weary of the cold, windy days and long for the next season.
The picture above is a beautiful tree in my front yard. Isn't it gorgeous! I look forward to seeing its beautiful blossoms burst forth every spring.
I also know these beautiful spring days will lead to the glorious days of summer. But as I work in my yard in the intense heat, I know I’ll be wishing for the cooler days of fall.
Seems like I spend a great deal of my life looking to the future.
It’s a pattern God has been helping me break free from. The lessons have been hard at times, incredibly humbling, as I see how I struggle to appreciate the moment or season I’m in and get caught in the pattern of longing for the next thing.
It seems I suffer from delayed appreciation. Let me explain, and maybe you can relate.
For example, when my kids were babies and fussing all night, I longed for the days when they would be more self-sufficient.
When they got older and became involved in activities that required constant driving from one place to another, I longed for the day they could drive themselves.
When they started driving, all I did was worry!
When I sat in my empty nest after my fourth son graduated, I longed for the days gone by when our house was full of chaos and noise and activity.
I’m learning that every season of life holds tremendous joy amidst different kinds of struggles. There’s never a “perfect” season or a “perfect” life. God is teaching me to appreciate the here and the now, no matter what it looks like.
Paul wrote about this so eloquently in one of my all-time favorite Bible verses:
“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 everything through him who gives me strength.”
Philippians 4:12 (NIV)
These words inspire me to seize every moment, especially as I remember that Paul wrote these beautiful words while in prison. Can you imagine? He found contentment in the midst of horrible circumstances because he was firmly rooted in his faith. His words remind my soul to appreciate the breath in my lungs, the roof over my head, the food on my table, the love of my Savior. Every single day is a gift from God, and we can choose to appreciate it or let the goodness and beauty contained within it pass us by.
And reality is, we will never get this exact day again.
I could stay stuck in regret for what I’ve missed along the way, but that won’t get me anywhere. Instead, I am choosing to change my natural tendency to long for the next thing as I learn to appreciate every single day, even the hard ones. As I ready my heart and look for the lessons contained within those hard days, I am being convicted, over and over again, to appreciate the way God is continually drawing my heart closer and closer to Him through every season.
And as Paul says, whether we are living in a place of abundance or simply surviving, one thing that doesn’t ever change is the strength of our loving Father to get us through whatever season we are in.
I invite you to join me on this quest! I am determined not to miss another minute of my life wishing for the next thing, losing sight of what's right in front of me because of delayed appreciation. I don’t want to focus on cherished moments from my past and lose sight of my beautiful present.
Today, whatever this day looks like for you, is the day the Lord has made. May we choose to rejoice and be glad in it!
With God by our side, we can break free from delayed appreciation and learn to appreciate the present!
And speaking of appreciation, Happy Mother’s Day to all you Mama’s out there. Whatever stage of motherhood you are in, may you feel encouraged and blessed and, most importantly, appreciated!
Love and hugs,