Tuesday, December 4, 2012

the beauty of now

I'm a music fanatic--through the good and bad times in my life, it seems there has always been a song that just somehow fits.

For a little background (and to make an incredibly long story short), I'm in one of those places right now where I'm not really sure what's going on. I'm in grad school and looking at the fact that if I'm going to make it through this program I'm going to have to shift my priorities. I've been wondering if this is what I need to do and praying for clarity and peace about whether or not I've made the right decision in being here. I look back and keep saying, "What if I had..."

Well, on my drive to class this morning I was listening to an old cd I found in the glove box yesterday. It was SheDaisy, and the song, "Now" came on. The first verse says,

If I could be 13 again
To live with no regret
I could still be president
And I could feel my 
dad as he's holding me
In his arms not in my dreams
And I could not wait to
Be something at 23...

Man, I can't tell you how easy it is to look back to that time when I could look forward and see my future all laid out before me. As a teenager, there was no limit to what I thought I would be able to accomplish. My plans were all made, and when people asked where I would be in 10 years I knew exactly what my life would look like...

Funny thing is, my life today looks nothing like what I thought it would when I was giving that description 10 years ago... or even 5 years ago, for that matter.

The chorus of that song goes on to say,

But now I've got the sun
To clear away the clouds
So why look back when there's a
Stunning
Blazing
So Amazing now!

When I listened to that this morning, something clicked for me. It doesn't matter what might have been. I have an incredibly challenging but amazing life right now, so why do I keep looking back and wondering where I would be today if I had made different decisions?

I can honestly say that I can't think of a single big decision in my life that I haven't consulted God about, then made my choice based on where I thought He was leading me. I have, in good faith, followed wherever that path has led.

I'm in no way saying I know where I'm going now, or exactly why I'm here in grad school. The obvious answer would be to say that I'm here to get a PhD in Medical Physics, but I've learned through the years that the obvious answer isn't always God's answer (in my life, actually, it has seldom been the case).

I have to confess that I haven't been talking to God or listening to God nearly as much as I should have been lately, which most likely explains why all these doubts and fears have taken such a hold on me. That being the case, when I wanted to go to the Scriptures this morning to get some perspective I didn't have a daily reading plan that I've been following. In the back of my Bible, though, there's a plan for reading through the Bible in a year, so I looked up the passage for today.

It's funny how God works things out for us sometimes. The passage I read this morning was Philippians 3:7-14. I won't write it all out here because it is pretty lengthy and would add to this already too long post, but here's the gist of it:

As a Jew, Paul had every credential imaginable. He could essentially be held up as the good Hebrew poster child. When he encountered Christ, though, his life was turned on its head and he realized that all that stuff didn't matter. What mattered was Jesus Christ, and Paul realized that he would give everything he ever had as a credit to his name if he could just become more like Christ. He, like all of us, had been called to chase after Christ, to do everything in his power to become like Him.

He summed everything up with a phrase that I'm going to borrow from the Message paraphrase: "I'm off and running and I'm not turning back."

This may seem like an odd connection to some of you, but that passage made one thing clear to me--now isn't the time to look back and try to figure out what might have been. Now is beautiful, or as SheDaisy said, "stunning, blazing, so amazing"! Now is the time for me to forget about the past and just work on following Christ in this moment, and for me right now that means working my hardest to juggle all the amazing opportunities in my life at the moment: a husband, kids, grad school, writing, calligraphy, crochet... all the good stuff, and the crazy hard stuff, too!

What makes your now "stunning, blazing, so amazing"? 
 

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Thoughts? I would love to hear them!
~Mandy