“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring” – Proverbs 27:1
Here’s a thought. Life’s short, go to Paris! Or how about this one, swim with dolphins. Or see the Grand Canyon. Take an Italian cooking class. Learn the piano. Why?
Because most of us are stuck in a time of waiting.
I don’t mean the good kind of waiting, like waiting on the Lord for direction, or guidance, or answered prayer. No, I mean the bad kind of waiting, like waiting to be content with our lives. Waiting to do something we really want to do. Waiting for tomorrow, waiting for later, waiting for that next season of life… to live life to the fullest. To be happy.
Is that what God wants for us? I don’t believe so. Why would He want us to perpetually wait for tomorrow, when He clearly tells us that tomorrow is not guaranteed.
“Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” – James 4:14
But we wait. We put things off. For later, when we’re older. When we have more time. When we finish school. Or get married. When we land that job or get that promotion. After we buy the house. Or sell the house. After we’re done having kids. Or the kids get older. Or the kids move out. When we slow down. When we retire. Later.
But no one has ever been given the promise of later. I learned that lesson three years ago when a radiologist told me the words I didn’t want to hear:
“Your tests came back. Positive for cancer.”
Thanks to amazing medical care, four painful surgeries, and the grace of God, I’m okay now. But I’ve stopped waiting for later. I’ve also thought a lot about why we get stuck.
Why do we wait? What keeps us from living our lives to the fullest?
1. We don’t think we deserve it.
Whether it’s something we’ve done in our past, or a habit we can’t seem to break, most of us walk around with a heavy, albeit invisible, backpack of guilt. It weighs us down. It makes us feel ashamed. Unworthy.
Well, the truth is, we are unworthy. But Jesus died for every bit of our unworthiness. So confess the guilt and move on. Our God is a good father, who desires to give us good gifts, whether or not we feel like we deserve it.
“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask” Matthew 7:11
2. We worry about what others will think.
Starting a business, learning a new language, going on a mission to Africa, sky diving… trying new things takes a whole lot of courage and sheer determination. It also requires the rejection of others’ opinions. Friends might think we’re crazy. Our mother may disapprove. But God created in each of us a unique heart with unique desires and things to accomplish on this earth. He can use those desires to get us in places we may not have gone, to share His love with people who may have never known it.
“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” Galatians 1:10
3. We fear failure.
This is probably the biggest reason we put things off till tomorrow, why we shy away from living life to the fullest today. What if it doesn’t work out? What if we fail? Well, honestly, we might. But then again, we might not!
When our life on earth is through, would we prefer to say we were scared? Or would we rather say that we stepped out in faith, followed God, followed our heart, and lived our most abundant lives? Maybe it’s my cancer diagnosis talking, but I choose the latter.
“Then you will prosper if you are careful to observe the statutes and rules the Lord commanded… Be strong and courageous. Fear not; do not be dismayed” (1 Chronicles 22:13, ESV).
So take that class. Plan that road trip. Join a choir. Swim in the Gulf of Mexico. Finish the degree. Tap dance. Go for the job. Write the book. Run a 5K.
Life’s too short to wait.
♡ Kathryn O’Brien is author of children’s picture books and writes for Proverbs 31 Woman.
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