For the forth time within seven days, I opened my Google search engine and typed, “Apartments for rent near Chesapeake.” For the next 35 minutes I immersed myself in washer and dryer hook-ups, carpet vs. hardwood, whether or not the kitchen had a pantry, square footage, and walk-in closets. I had, once again, began obsessing over my next move, wanting it to all come together sooner than later.
I can be obsessive. Don’t be nervous; I do not tap or check phones nor do I stalk Instagram pages. That is not the kind of obsessive that I’m describing, so I’ll elaborate. When I get an idea, am anticipating a change, or if I want something, I become so overwhelmed with the thought of it that I can’t think of anything else. I’ll find myself several times a day randomly brain dumping my ideas on sticky notes and in notebooks, and I will Google, Pinterest, and YouTube that thing over and over until I think I have a solid plan. This has the potential to be a very good thing. It indicates that I am typically prepared for whatever is coming, I have all of my ducks in a row. But this blessing sometimes becomes a curse when I am obsessing over something that is out of my hands.
I am sometimes guilty of creating a plan in a season where I should simply be exercising patience.
One of the most prevalent and current obsessions is my desperate desire to move. I am not in danger. There isn’t anything wrong with my apartment. I am not living in conditions that are hazardous to my health or well-being . My greatest complaint is that my apartment is so far from everything important in my life: work, church, my favorite hair store, and my siblings, just to name a few. That’s it. My rent is reasonable, my apartment has pretty good closet space (because that matters), and I have truly made it feel like home…but I want to move. Every single day that the Lord sends, I think of how far away work is, how long it takes me to get home after a night spent with friends, or how I’m not in a central location like I used to be. Everyday I think about moving, and every few days I search for a new place to live. Here’s the catch of it all: my lease isn’t up until April of 2019. I have a balance of seven months on my current lease. After paying the extra month of rent to break my lease, a security deposit for the new place, and the cost of a moving company (because I am NOT moving anything from this 3rd floor apartment other than by purse), I have already calculated that trying to break my lease and move would cost upwards of $2,000. It will be more expensive to move now than to wait.
As illustrated in my last few blogs, the Lord has been wringing my neck about self-care or my general lack there of. Over the last month or so I have been intentional about setting aside time that is just for me, putting space between myself and situations/people that drain me dry, and creating moments to be replenished. I have been so focused on developing a intentional self-care routine that I didn’t realize that God was teaching me a whole new lesson through it: BE STILL!
I’m a busy person bouncing from obligation to obligation so much so that it seems like I spend more time in my car than in my bed, so I could understand God’s command to be still in that regard. But he was like, “Nah, boo,” (cause he talks to me in clap back form), “You’re so focused on tomorrow that you have completely overlooked today.” *drops mic* After getting chin-checked, I stopped for a moment to take inventory of my today with special emphasis on my living situation. Here’s the data I collected:
In a nutshell, my home doesn’t feel like home because I haven’t treated it as such. Here I am in a rush to move on from a situation that I haven’t properly taken care of with the hopes to move on to bigger and better. HA! For those of you who have followed my story for some time, you know that this apartment was my gift from God for my transition. The Spark Notes version: I lost my place, I lived with my clothes in my car and my head on my brother’s couch, then after quite a few rejections, I got the keys to my own place…this place. I started from SCRATCH, and I made that apartment look and feel like my place. I can remember a time when I was excited to come home to that apartment. I was zealous to decorate and get everything just as I wanted it. Even though I never liked the distance, once upon a time I was a bit more content with the long drive and the solitude. All of a sudden what I once loved, took pride in, and was abundantly grateful for wasn’t enough. It didn’t tickle my fancy or measure up to my liking anymore.
All of a sudden I didn’t like what I had because it didn’t look like what I wanted.
So here’s my reality check…
My desperate desire to move is a metaphor for my desire to be the next version of myself. Almost daily I review this mental list of who I am vs. who I want to be and find all of the inconsistencies between those two women. So just as I did with my living situation, I took inventory of my life but with an emphasis on myself this time. This is what I gathered:
These are just a few truths. I’m in a hurry to be the Christen of tomorrow, but I’ve been treating the Christen of today poorly. The worst of the offenses is the sheer fact that I don’t take the time to applaud the Christen of today from growing, maturing, and transitioning from who she was yesterday! Instead, I dishonor who I am by always obsessing over who I could be.
So what do we do when what is and today aren’t good enough? We pray that tomorrow will hurry and come.
“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.”
Luke 16:10 [New Living Translation]
I want to focus more on the principal of this scripture more than the literal meaning and context.
What you do with a little bit is what you will do with a lot. In other words, your habits (care for, stewardship, appreciation, etc.) for what you consider to be insignificant won’t change just because that big blessing or next major move comes your way.
I have been mistreating my reality of today because of the possibility of my tomorrow.
The fact is my apartment is far from everything significant in my life, but the truth is I have a perfectly good roof over my head and a reliable car to drive me anywhere I want to go. I have been so obsessed with the thought of getting to tomorrow that I have neglected my responsibility to make today as good as I want it to be. “It is what you make it,” I was once told. So maybe if I put in some effort to make my home spotless again then I’ll feel comfortable while I’m there. Maybe if I stop cursing the long ride to work then I’ll see it as 35 minutes of uninterrupted peace before my day starts. I haven’t rearranged furniture or hung a new picture on the wall in a while, I still haven’t gotten those bags of clothes to give away from the living room to my car, and my daggone Christmas tree is still up!!! (It might as well stay at this point.) I haven’t used my diffusers or burned any new candles, there is no calming music playing from my iPod, and I can’t remember the last time I really let the sun shine into the apartment. Do you see my point? I’ve done nothing to make my house feel like a home, I complain about minute things, then I invest my energy into the next thing.
The same rings true for my own self. It is unfair to demand the next version of my life if I am not maximizing the life I have now.
The truth is WE can be so guilty of pouring into our “what’s next” that we don’t take care of our “right now.” Please don’t misunderstand me; there is nothing wrong with dreaming of and planning for tomorrow. PLEASE DO! But included in that equation is appreciating today. Whether you are thinking about your next job, place, move, or boo, you hope you aren’t overlooking the goodness of what you already have.
Today I am making a conscious effort to enjoy the moment that I’m living. There are some things about my today that I can’t control, but I can adjust. And the rest of the day…it is what I make it. No matter how eagerly I yurn for tomorrow, I can’t get there until I finish living out my today.
I hope this helps.