I managed to roll out of bed at 7:30 a few Saturday mornings ago. Now I’m pretty sure (okay 100% sure) that this was because my motivation was meeting up with some friends for coffee, because not much can get me awake at that hour on a Saturday (I almost high-fived myself), but that day the early morning alarm didn’t sting as much, and I didn’t forget my lipstick before walking out the door. Yay for little victories!
I had breakfast and an icy caramel coffee drink that was kinda heavenly and planned a little bit of a day trip with friends. I didn’t forget to buy envelopes with the bubble wrap inside before coming home again, where I replied to emails and sorted out post I needed to mail with the previously mentioned bubble wrap envelopes.
Things seemed organized and productive, and it wasn’t even past two in the afternoon. Plus, it was Saturday so I could hear the cheers from the football crowd at the nearby stadium, almost like I was getting my own round of applause for every task I finished. Bright, sunny, warm, and overall a great day so far.
I couldn’t help but contrast this to the way I felt a few days before though. It was cold, grey, windy, and I 100% did NOT feel like getting out of bed at 7:30 in the morning. Lots of days seemed to go by like that. I hit snooze about thirty times, then realized I’d be late for class if I didn’t slap on makeup and run out the door, managing to forget my headphones and an umbrella. So of course it rained, and without my headphones I couldn’t listen to music and imagine a dramatic music video in my head about how romantic OR soul-shattering rain can be (yep I’m one of those). In other words, that day was going all wrong.
But here is what all that got me thinking about:
“The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.” – Psalm 118:24 (NIV)
Someone told me the other day that they loved the color-theme for my Instagram and how they wish they “had their life together enough to do that.” I almost said thank you, but then I remembered that I ironed my shirt using my hair straighteners that morning, and even though I’ve been studying in England for two years now I still insist on leaving the house without an umbrella. I just had to laugh.
I definitely don’t have my life together. In all honesty though, I think this phrase is worshipped a bit too much lately. I guess it’s supposed to mean things like bringing all the elements of your life into your control and exactly how you want them or not letting everything scatter into chaos or other types of things that sound well and good at first.
The problem is it’s idolized. I’ll admit that as a college student, who doesn’t have the next 50 years of my life all planned out, this way of thinking is discouraging and exhausting. It’s a goal that sticks at the forefront of our minds, making us think, I just have to get there. I just have to reach this. When actually, that isn’t the greatest mindset in the world.
Why? It’s striving for something we will never achieve because there isn’t a specific point at which we’ll decide we are finally satisfied.
Because no, we won’t ever be satisfied. Some days are leaps and bounds easier than others, but no matter how color-coordinated my Instagram looks, or how many icy caramel coffee drinks I have in a day, those things are ultimately not satisfying, especially in the comparison mentality.
Comparing myself to anyone else is always going to leave me feeling empty, not motivated. It forces me to live in a constant state of Am I Good Enough? Which is the opposite of the Gospel of Grace.
I can also trick myself into thinking comparison isn’t happening because I’m not comparing my life with someone else’s, but even comparing it with a different day I had in the past can steal today’s joy.
The rainy days when everything goes by in a blur – with exams to study for and jobs to find and emails to sort through and blisters to endure – are of no less importance. They offer the same Kingdom potential as the warm and sunny Saturdays, because no matter how easy or difficult any particular day is, it’ll still be here now and gone in 24 hours, just like every single other day.
I want to choose what I value from every day wisely, and not be fooled by what everyone else says I should strive for. After all, I am exchanging a day of my life for whatever I choose to do with it. I’m not about to try and make it look like someone else’s. Unless…it’s the person who designed me and my life to begin with, which leads me to another reason.
The whole idea of “getting your life together” makes it sound like that’s something we must achieve on our own, as if it hasn’t already been put together when it was designed and planned before the earth was made. We shouldn’t worry about how we’re going to get our lives together because someone already has for us.
I don’t want to live my life thinking I just have to get there, I just have to reach this. Instead I want to strive for living my days aware that the Master Plan is much bigger than me and my life. This shifts the focus off of me and what I can do with my life, and over to what God can do to get as much glory out of my life as possible while I step out in faith to reflect him.
So if this is the case, how can I claim that I know what days I deserve to have and which ones are best? God can use every minute of my day, regardless of how great or not-so-great it seems to be turning out from my perspective. Being content with the fact gives us so much freedom! We don’t need to constantly project an image online to make it seem as though we magically don’t have the messier days, and we’re also freed from the pressure that says we’re in it alone.
As I said before, I definitely don’t have my life together as far as the way that phrase is normally interpreted. I don’t have an answer to the question, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” I definitely don’t exercise or drink as much water as I should, I grumble when I get stuck in traffic that causes a delay that’s over 20 seconds, and I can’t seem to remember to hit the “Eject” button before disconnecting USB drives from my computer. But I’m chasing after the living God who wants to show me how to live a life filled with Love, Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment.
He is sitting on the throne in heaven, and He has ALL of it together. Today counts, messy bits and all, and because of that if for no other reason I can say, “It is well with my soul.”
This is the day that the Lord has made, and I will rejoice and be glad in it!