“Moreover, I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, even there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness. I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every work. I said in my heart with regard to the children of man that God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but beasts. For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. All go to once place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return. Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth? So I saw that there is nothing better that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot. Who can bring him to see what will be after him (Ecclesiastes 3:16-22).”
This passage can be easily taken to be depressing, if you let it…. I mean, who wants to consider the fact that we are born, and then we die? This passage may also be overlooked, as it is written outside of the lens of Jesus. The writer questions whether the spirit of man goes upward, but the question is not clearly answered in the book of Ecclesiastes. As Christians, knowing our salvation is guaranteed, we may feel we know more than the writer, and ignore his words.
Many Christians are constantly looking forward to heaven, and I think that’s an appropriate response to our salvation. However, I don’t think we should give up on the present while we contemplate eternity. Our time on earth is truly a gift, and as I’ve previously mentioned, a way to prepare for heaven.
I have spent a large portion of my life living for the past or the future. I’ve let guilt about my past mistakes and my dissatisfaction about unfulfilled dreams waste precious time for too long. I’ve spent countless hours imagining what life could be like if certain things would happen, not even considering if my ideas were remotely in line with God’s plan for my future. All of this is meaningless in the grand scheme of life. I cannot change the past, and I cannot predict the future. The only chance I have is to live each day the best way I know how.
When we moved, I started becoming more intentional about living in the present. I still don’t have this completely down, but I feel I’ve come a long way. I have been trying to build boundaries to keep negative influences from hurting me or controlling me. I have had to accept that some people I love may never understand me, my experiences, or my beliefs. And even though it hurts, I must let go of the negativity related to this truth, which continues to pull me down. I can still love these people and pray for them, but I cannot change them or expect they will want to unconditionally accept me for who I am.
I am more comfortable with the woman I am becoming, and I’m able to be completely myself and open with whomever I interact with. I am less afraid that being me will alienate other people from me. I trust that God will bring people into and out of my life in His timing, and will not let my concerns about the future affect my actions today.
My relationship with my son has improved dramatically because it’s only the two of us and I no longer have any excuse to neglect my responsibility in being the best parent possible. I can admit to my son that I do and will continue to make mistakes, but try to make the best decisions I can at the time. I feel he has grown tremendously in the past year, and is on track to be a compassionate, self-sufficient, and confident man.
I am embracing talents that I had previously given up on when others took control. I no longer need their approval to know that I am doing a good job. While it makes me feel good when people appreciate what I’m doing, as long as I’m glorifying God in everything I do, that’s the only satisfaction I need.
I am taking responsibility to learn how to do trivial things that I’ve avoided because other people were better at those tasks than I was. It doesn’t matter if my home is perfectly decorated, my dinners are gourmet, or if my fashion sense is impeccable. I will give everything my best effort, and that’s good enough for me.
It’s so freeing to make your own decisions and completely own your life, regardless of what other people think. Do I make mistakes? Every day! I often say too much, sometimes not enough, and frequently the wrong thing. My actions don’t always coincide with my intentions. I’m far from perfect when it comes to parenting, keeping house, and fitting in with certain groups of people. I find myself having to apologize a lot, but those apologies are heart-felt and sincere, not simple words with nothing to back them up. God is continuing to mold me into His desire for me….something better than I could ever imagine!
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble (Matthew 6:34).”