Finding contentment in the now

I saw myself the other day – three little ones in the shopping cart and three older ones walking along behind, pushing another shopping cart filled beyond capacity. Mom was giving instructions as she navigated the parking lot for her ducklings, keeping them all in check. Like a time warp, I stopped to stare at the family, remembering what used to be mine, wishing to belong.

The past can be magnetic at times, drawing us back into the nostalgia of it all, wanting to stay there, do it again, change mistakes, and make things new.

I blame the holidays, which seem to force us into places we wish we could stay and hang out. Those memories of people no longer here on earth, the pictures of little ones now grown and gone, and the pieces of life that still do not make sense.

Psalm 131:2, “But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.”

One of the toughest parts of growing up is the realization of the steps that keep us going year after year. My sister passed away a few years ago. Her grandson, Alex, remains a huge part of my life. On a recent visit to my house a few weeks ago, he said, “I wish I was still little.” It took me back – because, at the age of 12, he was still little. But I understood what he meant without explanation. If he were still little, my sister would still be on earth.

I don’t think anyone is exempt from the emotions of letting go of something. My friend’s granddaughter likes to say, “I miss the old days.” She is six years old but knows what it was like before and what it is like now.

Maybe you are there – struggling with the “old” days. When King David wrote this verse in the Book of Psalms, he was demonstrating the humility of where he was in life. He reconciled his life with every step God had taken him. The past was in the past. The future was in the Hands of God. The present is where he is now and where his God needed him to be.

Where are you? Hanging out in a past that is gone? Living for something in the future? Or walking humbly where you are now?

God’s best for us starts right where we are because He can help us to get where He needs us to go. Even if the present is one of the toughest times of your life, God will use it to restore your life and give Him all the glory.

The present takes a calm, quiet attitude of contentment. Like a weaned child from his or her mother, there is a resolve in the here and now – a peace – which shows God we are in line with His plan for where we are going next.

Take a few breaths. Consider who is around you. Listen to the sound of your own voice. Give yourself a big smile in the mirror. Thank God for exactly where you are and how He will use it in the future.

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