I’ve been caught up in the “life will be better when” trap. You know the one.
Life will be better when I move out of my parents’ basement.
Life will be better when I get a “real” job.
Life will be better when I pay off my student loans.
Life will be better when I’m in a relationship … engaged … married.
The last one, that’s me. A few nights ago as I was making the third trip from my car to my kitchen lugging in groceries, I thought, “Life will be better when I’m married; then I’ll have help carrying in groceries.”
Unloading groceries is the absolute bane of my existence. A little silly? Sure, but these small, silly thoughts have been adding up and stealing my joy in the present. I’m dating a great guy and instead of enjoying where we are, I’m always thinking about how life will be better when we take the next step. God has been using little things like bags of flour and bagels to bring to light my sin of living in the future.
He has also been using a well-known Christian classic. C.S. Lewis makes an eye-opening point in The Screwtape Letters that illuminates the dangers of living in the future.
Our business is to get them away from the eternal, and from the Present…. It is far better to make them live in the Future. Biological necessity makes all their passions point in that direction already, so that thought about the Future inflames hope and fear. Also, it is unknown to them, so that in making them think about it we make them think of unrealities. In a word, the Future is, of all things, the thing least like eternity. it is the most completely temporal part of time — for the Past is frozen and no longer flows, and Present is all lit up with eternal rays … nearly all vices are rooted in the future. Gratitude looks to the past and love to the present; Fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead.
It makes sense that Paul would admonish us to put on love above all other virtures as it looks to the present, the place “lit up with eternal rays.” And so today I’m committing again to a life in the present, a life of love.
In what ways are you tempted to live in the Future? How does it steal your joy in the Present?
Copyright 2009 Ashley Ramsey. All rights reserved.