Monday, April 30, 2012

The Right To Search {Learning to live 'In the Moment'}

Last week I went to Women's Conference at BYU. The keynote speaker -- Ruth Todd, a former news anchor here in Utah--was not one I was particularly excited about. I was sure it'd be adequate, but I wasn't think 'This will be life changing' -- which, by the way, WAS what I was thinking about the closing speaker, one of my favorite religion teachers at BYU (and btw, his walk WAS amazing too).

So I was sitting there listening to her talk and taking a few notes. Most of it was good, but nothing earth shattering. But then she said something like this:

"Each of us has a right to search for the life God has planned for us"

These keywords struck me.

The right.

The right to search.

And what am I searching for? A life that God has planned for me.

I'm a planner by nature. I want to plan it all out. I always have my life planned out at least 5 years. And I have goals for the next year. And a to do list for today. And a calendar with appointments booked. It is my way.

But this planning, forward thinking nature, comes with a downside: always looking to the future. It is hard to live in the moment when you always have your eyes on the horizon looking to the next thing (and I have great things planned.). So I work so hard to reach my goals and then care barely stop to take a breath and enjoy them when I get there. It's like I'm climbing a mountain to see the view and I reach the summit and  barely stop to take a glance before saying "Well it's time to head back before it gets dark" and then grumble about my sore hamstrings the whole way down.

Sheesh. That is no way to live your life.

Sore hamstrings are fine and all, but at least enjoy the view you worked so hard for.

I knew I needed to slow down and enjoy it a bit more, but I wasn't sure how to turn off that planning, forward thinking part of myself that is so ingrained in who I am.

Then, when I heard that phrase at women's conference it was like a light bulb lit up above my head.

I have the right to search. To take my time and search. It's not just that I don't need to have it all planned out; but--in fact--God designed this life to be one where I search and figure it out as I go along. It is supposed to be that way.

(Photo taken at BYU women's conference last week, with Instagram)

It was like I had seen my current life as a sort of "pre-life". That Joe and I were working hard to get out of debt, to get our careers established, to buy a home, settle down and finally live our lives. And this pre-life stage was taking longer than I had planned. I was irritated and getting restless to start the rest of my life. Then I decided to go back to school which further pushed by our house buying settling down plans and uh-oh, tacked 2 more years onto this seemingly never-ending pre-life.

And then I had this revelation. This life I'm living is not pre-life. This is my one and only life. It is a meandering path I'm on. I'm not searching for the path to the rest of my life, I AM ON IT RIGHT NOW.

I've trusted God to know where I am and where I'm headed and to guide me in the decisions. So I just need to relax. He's never let me down. He's guided the big decisions and it has always turned out just fine. Even better than fine. Opportunities have come that I, in my little mortal planning pro and con list making ways could never have anticipated. But he can anticipate them, he can see the big picture and he can guide me when I need to make metaphorical right or left turn in my life. I don't need a road map, I just need to see a little ways ahead and trust God to act as navigator, he's proven to be a reliable one.

So I'm taking my foot of the gas pedal and relaxing for a moment. I have sketched out plans for the future, but they are labeled with a big fat "subject to change" sticker. I know what we're doing for the next two years -- it's grad school up at the U while Joe works and Evie keeps on growing up. That's our plan for now.

I feel calmer. I feel more peaceful. I feel like I can see my whole life before me and I don't know what's going to happen but I know that it's going to be good. And I've been given the right to search for the right path, and I know God will help me. It's not just all going to be okay, it's going to be great.

And I don't need to obsessively make 5 year plans (and back up plans, and to-do lists and back up to-do lists) to make it happen.

I can just live in the moment and enjoy my happy little life.

And like most life lessons, I wish I'd figured this out a bit sooner.

8 little remarks:

Angie said...

beautiful! So true that we all get causght up in waiting for x to happen. preparing for our next this or that. I LOVED what you said about it not being our pre-life. Loved it!

Brooke said...

Where's the like button? :) I like that, and I like your analogy of climbing up the hill and not stopping to look at the view and getting down before it gets dark. That's totally me. And that's totally why I married Eric so he can help me see that view and slow down a little bit. You're awesome, thanks for sharing.

Holly Strong said...

I love it!!! I have a hard time living in the moment, expecially when the moment sucks. I keep thinking it has to get better, but then better never really does come. I have been trying to do this too. Good Luck!!! I will be along the ride with you.

painty (Melinda) said...

Great insight. Thanks for sharing.:)

Tannie Datwyler said...

I like this a lot. I especially enjoyed you talking about the "pre-life" thing. Oh, I have been guilty of that SO often.

Greg and Nancy said...


Ali said...

Well said. My "baby Evan" taught me this lesson in a major way. I still need to remind myself of it some though. But even so, when Jeff and I talk about the future, it ALWAYS has a big "subject to change" sticker on it (I like the way you put that) cause you just never know what God has planned...but you're right- He'll plan it and BE WITH US.

Kaela said...

I love this post so much. I love your insights and love that you shared it!! Thanks!!! Life continues to teach me this over and over and it can be really hard when I think I want something and it doesn't work out... but then it turns out its okay! Attaining things on a checklist, as gratifying as it can sometimes be, is pretty overrated- I think HF has much better lessons and blessings in store for us than we would never think to put on our checklists. It can be hard, but the peace and calm are where its at:)

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