Nash’s Note: We often look ahead of the current season, as we anticipate the next. We miss out on the gifts of today, so we can prepare for something that might never come tomorrow. Here’s Chelsea’s guest post, where she recognizes the differences between the two.
Elisabeth Elliot once said:
Single life may be only a stage of a life’s journey, but even a stage is a gift. God may replace it with another gift, but the receiver accepts His gifts with thanksgiving. This gift for this day. The life of faith is lived one day at a time, and it has to be lived-not always looked forward to as though the “real” living were around the next corner. It is today for which we are responsible. God still owns tomorrow.
A couple years back, I played one of those secret santa games during the Holidays with a group of people. Some of them I knew personally, some I didn’t know all too well. When it came time for us to hand off our gifts, I realized my name had been chosen by someone I did not know personally. I thought to myself, surely it will be fine. As long as she sticks to my paper of interests, she can’t mess this up.
Prior to opening the gift, I was excited to see what she would have chosen for me. When I saw what laid in the bag beneath a mountain of tissue paper, I grimaced and then quickly smiled reassuringly that I was happy with the gift, when I indeed was not. Anyone else would have loved the gift: it was in style and everyone wanted thesm. Everyone except me. I wasn’t big into technology or the latest gadgets, so colorful water speakers weren’t on the top of my list. I went literally months without even taking them out of the box, and eventually, I sold them at a garage sale for really cheap to a teenage girl who begged her mother for them.
When I think about my single season in life, I reflect on this moment. God chose my name and wanted to give me a good gift. He wrapped it with opportunities to travel, mission trips, guiding youth, teaching children, speaking to women, and writing books. But when I look at it, I frown angry that He wouldn’t have gifted me something better. Doesn’t He know that I want a family someday, and that by thirty five, women have more risks during pregnancy? Doesn’t He know that I want to be married and impacting the world with my future husband? Doesn’t He know me at all?
Of course He does. He not only has your paper of interests, but He helped you write it. He sat with you going, “Oh, don’t forget, He has to love sports, fishing, or anything remotely manly.” In fact, He knows you better than you do, so when He gifts us with something, He’s not only thinking of what we would like, or want, but He considers what we need. God doesn’t give awful gifts. It’s not in His nature. So when we consider our single season as a terrible time, we literally are saying to God, ‘you could have done better for me. You could have stuck to the paper and given me exactly what I want. Then I would have been happy.’
But we wouldn’t be. Happiness isn’t defined by our season, or our accumulation of things. It’s defined by our identity, by who we are, and how we choose to perceive life. If you wake up saying ‘oh, I would have been happier to sleep ten more minutes,’ you’ve already treated your gift like it was trash. You awoke, the sun is shining, the day is at your fingertips, and you have mass amounts of opportunities before you. This alone (life, living, breathing, being) is a gift.
The same can be said about singleness or marriage. If you wake up every day trying to skip over the chapter you’re in, you’ve already chosen to hate where you are. But if you were to look at your season as a time to steward a gift God gave you, then you would cherish every profound piece of wisdom gained during the journey. You don’t have to like the gift you’ve been given today, you don’t even have to enjoy it, but accepting it and embracing it will take you steps closer to future gifts to come.
It is in this season that we learn who we are, what we are passionate about, and how to fulfill our purpose. It is in this season alone that we are capable of learning what only this season needs to teach us. Whether this season is preparing us for another gift in the future, or has been graciously given to us for the rest of our lives, it is a gift. We can choose to live it, or grieve it, but either way, we cannot skip it. We are responsible for today. God still owns tomorrow.