Living in the Mist Without Losing Hope

Yoooo Hoooo!!

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Another blog post, another random way of saying hello. If you’re new here, welcome! If not, thanks so much for continuing to read about the inner machinations of my enigmatic mind and the Lord’s patience with me. ♥️

The first draft of this blog I wrote in my microscopic notebook was untitled and empowering. The second draft of this blog I typed out, named Silencing the Soothsayer, morphed into this ultra bleak manifesto about the temporary nature of life. I let a friend of mine read a bit of that version and she was like, “Wow, that…that’s pretty depressing. Is this what you really think about life right now?” 

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I took that as a cue to hold off on this post and work through my perception of life with God. He revealed that I was missing some key elements about this life. I’ll be real, I was getting awfully sick of this world and the moral decay that is experienced on all levels. I approached God’s throne earlier this month asking for an advance on my inheritance because this life is trash compared to the next life. Isn’t it better to be with God than on this crazy earth in this rebellious flesh of mine? But what do I know? And God is quick to say:

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Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’”

-James 4:13-15

Everything is temporary, no denying that.

Situations. Relationships. Seasons. Days. Emotions. Years. Moods. Our life on Earth.

All temporary.

There have been times since I’ve moved back from Australia when I’ve thought, “What’s the point?” How can you have hope when nothing and no one is certain to stay? At any moment, you could lose it all and not know when or if God will give any of it back. The best part is Heaven and the rest beforehand is a wearisome war leading up to the victory that seems forever away. What’s the use in getting a new job or falling in love? Or moving to a new place? Or going back to school? There is no way to know how things will turn out or how long they will last. It’s all fleeting and you can take none of it with you after death.

And when you look at things that way, it can all seem very grim.

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How can one really have hope while living in the mist?

Accept Each Tense

Recently God has been teaching me how to consider the phases of life in a different way. The past, present, and future all have value, but if the value is misplaced, living in the mist becomes strenuous.

1. Past

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The Past.

Did you just shudder? Or maybe you smiled fondly at memories from long ago? Or was it a mixture of happiness and sadness? Some of us long to relive the glory days while some of us work extra hard to shut out any hint of the past. In both cases the past has put chains on our hearts and minds. The result is you’re either devastated or jaded. Two scriptures come to mind about these responses:

“Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?’ For it is not wise to ask such questions.” -Ecclesiastes 7:10

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” -Isaiah 43:17-18

If the past in question was particularly amazing, once its season has passed you’re skeptical about a future time being just as good, if not better. You reminisce yourself into a hole that robs you of present joy and future hope. On the flip-side, maybe the past was downright terrible and instead of processing and healing you just shove it way down and act as if it never happened. Our psyche never lets us off the hook that easy and it ends up robbing God of an opportunity to do something new within us. I speak from experience on both of these.

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Treat the past as a teacher and a reminder of the great things God has done. It’s a gift to be able to look back on the past as a survival guide or pleasant scrapbook. Because life is so complex, it’s a little of both. The trouble comes when we try to make it a sign of what is to become of us and our future rather than letting God be in control.

2. Future

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It looms over our heads causing us to stress over our career decisions, health regiments, relationship directions, and financial investments. Constantly prodding us to be prepared, be anxious, be productive, and be careful.

Was there really hope for any of us who were raised in a standardized testing culture to not be perturbed about what is to come?

A phrase I’ve been getting comfortable with saying lately is “I don’t know.” It all started with a dream I had over a month ago where a friend of mine kept asking me all of these questions about the future and I just kept saying “I don’t know.” repeatedly with no emotion. Once I woke up, the phrase just stuck.

“Do you think you’ll ever go back to Australia?” I don’t know.

“How long are you going to stay in Texas?” I don’t know.

“Do you think you’ll get that job?” I don’t know.

I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.

My next breath isn’t even up to me.

What I do know, and am continuing to have impressed upon my heart more is that my future is in the hands of a compassionate, loving, and wise beyond human understanding God. I will not live a moment longer or shorter than how long He has decided I should live. He knows what’s going to be beneficial for my mind, heart, and soul spiritually and what will not. However, what can trip me up, and maybe what trips you up also, is that I can confuse beneficial with comfortable. I’m not sure if God uses a formula as for the phases of our lives, and even if He did I doubt any of us would understand it.

“When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.”

-Ecclesiastes 7:14

3. Present

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The present is tricky because it’s where the past and the future converge. (If you think as deeply as me about the passage of time, I’m glad I’m not so alone.)  It’s the time when you can affect your future the most as you deal with the past and persevere.

In today, you can consider the past and be grateful for what God has done. Recounting the good He has allowed you to experience and the difficult times He gave you the insight to learn from. Both will aid in what happens throughout each passing moment. As each minute comes and goes, God is working on a future you and the future circumstances you’ll be cultivated in. Trusting God is the only way this complex timeline we call life won’t completely swamp you with its waves.

 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

-Matthew 6:25-34

Did you seriously think you were gonna make it through this post without seeing this scripture?

Live in the moment, but don’t be enslaved by it. If things are going great, enjoy it, but be careful to not hold on too tightly.  If things are going terrible, make sure to let it train you instead of stain you. Most of all, invest in the eternal, your soul and the souls of others, that is what’s going to remain at the end of it all. Should anything tether us humans, it should be something that is sturdy and unchanging. God does not shift like the seasons. He doesn’t change His mind like we constantly change ours. His character is set in stone and His love is unfailing. Every day is a fight to remain dependent upon this fact, not the past, present, nor the future.

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When it’s snowing grab a cup of hot cocoa and go sledding.

When the blizzard comes, take shelter somewhere warm.

When the flowers are in bloom, go on a nice stroll.

When the spring storms rage, hold tight to your umbrella.

When summer approaches, grab your sunnies and a beach towel.

When it’s sweltering, cool down and hydrate.

When the leaves begin to change, breathe in that crisp air with gratitude.

Don’t fight the passage of time.

What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.”

-Ecclesiastes 3:9-13

Exhale.

 

Moore Awaits ♥️