Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Short-Term Living


I think we've all heard a million times that "diets don't work." The only way to lose weight long-term is by adopting permanent lifestyle changes. I can personally testify that this is true, although not quick or easy. Well, I'm learning that this philosophy applies to a lot of other aspects of life besides eating habits.

I've mentioned before that learning to live one day at a time has made a huge difference in my quality of life. By nature and nurture, I've always been a long-term planner. I had to have a plan for every eventuality. I had to make sure all my bases were covered. In the fall of 2009, I had my first experience of watching my carefully planned future collapse in front of my eyes like an imploded building. It was terrifying. But by the time it collapsed again, permanently, last May, I'd learned some things. I knew that God was sovereign over my Plan A, and for that matter, Plans B, C, D, and E. I didn't need them. I just needed to trust Him with my future.

Focusing on today and the short-term, and being hopeful and open to possibilities for the rest, has given me a peace that I never had before. At first I thought it was a phase, a crutch I needed in order to get through. But now that I have my feet under me, I realize that this is a much better way to live. Yet, like a dieter in a family of unhealthy eaters, I feel constant pressure to go back to my old micromanaging, ten-year-plan ways. Again and again, I recognize the source of my sudden overwhelmed feelings and have to correct my focus. It reminds me of my cat Peach, who loves to hop up onto the kitchen counter while I'm cooking. I may set her down on the floor six times in five minutes, but she keeps hopping back up again. She doesn't get it, and apparently, neither do I. It's frustrating, but I know I have to keep bringing myself down from the counter until this mindset becomes more natural to me. I have to keep reminding myself that this is a lifestyle change.

I'm not advocating living irresponsibly, throwing caution to the wind, or forgoing dreams and goals. I think the problem comes when we lock ourselves in to a timeline, or decide exactly what our futures will look like. The fact is, the world as you know it can change suddenly, and it won't do any good to prepare for every possible outcome. The outcome may be something that never crossed your mind, anyway. Have goals, but be flexible, enjoy the moment, and know that God WILL provide for whatever He brings into your life.

I have many more thoughts, so expect more posts on this general theme.


  1. Agreed! Everything can become overwhelming when we think of it for a lifetime. Even the good things. I find my best way to cope through disappointments is to remember that I *don't* know the future, and I can't live like I'm doomed/stuck/whatever. Things change all the time, and all I have to do is get what I can out of the moment and day, and be reasonable about preparations. But it's hard--obviously I let myself get caught up in long-term fears very easily.

  2. Thank you for taking the time to write all this out. I really think God's trying to teach me this because I've been hearing it everywhere.

  3. I really appreciate your honesty in this post. I've been wrestling with not knowing what life will/should/could look like after the next basically-outlined next year+ and it is SO HARD to not know and instead be willing to let God shape those plans and for me to not be able to see what he has planned. <3 Thanks, Brenda!

  4. This is so good! I love your honesty. I've been listening to the mix I made for the girl in my church, which shares most of its songs with the mix I sent you last year, and so, reading this, Kutless's "Changing World" popped into my head. =o)

  5. Well said! I needed to read this today, in the midst of job search and wondering what my future will hold. :) Thank you!