You know what I keep saying? “It'll be better when...”
I say this 100 times a day. Maybe 1000.
"I'm going to write on my blog more often, I swear. It'll be better when my office is done."
"My house is a God-forsaken pit of filth. And it smells weird. It will be better when my boys are grown...I mean, gone."
"My marriage feels kind of blech. I think we can't stand each other. But we love each other. But we don't want to be around each other. But we crave each other's company. But we want to fix each other. But we love the other's idiosyncrasies. But we annoy each other. But we adore each other. Ugh! Maybe things will be better when we take a vacation. Yes! That's it. Things will be better when we have some down time."
"My kid's grades suck. Things will be better when... Ok. Probably never."
But you see what I mean? Everything will be better when.
But when never gets here. It never arrives. When just hangs there, somewhere in the future, snatching more good reasons, more lame excuses, grabbing more and more time. All the while, I'm feeling ever more disgruntled with now. Now is no good, because I've got myself convinced that When is so much better/brighter/cleaner/ happier/wealthier/freer/less smelling of farts and armpits.
Now is bullshit. Now sucks. Now is gritty and hard, and it doesn't always go my way. Now I don't have enough money. Now I don't have enough time. Now I'm hungry and I haven't had enough sleep and I'm all kinds of psychotic PMSy. Now I'm busy, I'm sad, I'm frustrated, I'm running behind – But it's all ok, because things will be better when.
I've been doing a lot of looking back, lately. Mostly over our five years in Costa Rica, but I've also been looking back at my sons' waning childhood, and I've peered backward at a lifetime of seeking God, and a couple of decades of following Him. "It will be better when" is a common theme, I've noticed, and I've come to one big, fat, stupid conclusion...
When is a dangerous place to hang your Hope.
Every time I tell myself “It will be better when”, I'm giving myself permission not to believe that Now can be good. I'm letting myself off the hook for the ugly contributions I make to the struggle of marriage. I'm soothing the healthy discomfort of not living my own best life. Basically, I'm giving myself permission to enjoy a subpar existence in a dirty house with bad students who smell like a beef jerky factory.
And that's just crazy. Why would anyone choose to live like that?
I'll tell you why. Because Now is work.
See? If I can blame all of my problems on things that will happily fix themselves over time, then I never have to actually DO anything.
I am a lazy genius.
This morning, I prayed. I was lamenting my (admittedly wonderful, easy, full) life, and making more false promises of “better when”. As I was thrusting all my Hope into the unforeseen future, and calling on God to make it so, I felt that familiar stirring in my soul, a still small voice that bids me quiet and listen...
Seriously? Clean your house now.
The Kingdom of God is in the here and the now. There is no better when.
Hope lives today. Hope abides right Now. But Hope doesn't belie work.
I gave you today to live.
So do it.
.... ..... .....
Ever fallen into the "better when" trap?