You Have A Future (Part 1)

12 11 2010

Part One: To Be Continued

When I say, “You have a future,” what do you think that means?

What comes immediately to my mind is the teacher who looks at a student’s work and says, “I can see that you really have a bright future in Mathematics!” (This is something that was never said to me, by the way).

It might be someone looking at a kid’s science project exploring Human DNA who praises the ingenious young student, saying, “I can see that you really have a bright future in genetic research!” (Not surprisingly, this is something else that was never said to me).

Future, at least to those of us living in certain parts of the world, usually has to do with achievement and success. Based on that, does everyone have a future? What if your ability to be a “big achiever” is limited by an illness or a physical, emotional, or mental challenge? What if your ability to “have a bright future” seems out of reach because you can’t find work? What if life looks more like a struggle than a success; do you really have a future?

I want to be really honest with you about this; are you up for it?  The typical North-American is told that life is a dream that they can live! They are told that they “deserve” something great; they are painted a picture that life is just theirs for the taking and that the “future” is all up and to the right! How is this helpful when we all know that there are disappointments and set-backs that we all can and will face?

When we think that life ought to be perfect, and it isn’t, that can be very disillusioning. We can end up discouraged and depressed because the future didn’t turn out the way it was “supposed to.” The problem is, if our “supposed to” was wrong right from the start, then we were hoping for a future that was more based on a nice idea then the TRUTH.

Everything is moving you forward, and you can so so without fear of the future. In fact, when you are clothing yourself with TRUTH, you can actually look the future straight in the eye and smile, even laugh at the days to come:

She is clothed with strength and dignity; 
she can laugh at the days to come.

A Proverb written by King Lemuel

Since “THE FUTURE” is a big topic with a lot of angles, rather than trying to stuff it into one BIG post, I have given it three short ones so that you can really think about it from different points of view.

There Is More To The Future
 
Than What You See Right Now

Often times we look at life as if through a telescope. We put that telescope up to our eye and we see life in that one small circle. We see whatever we have aimed that telescope on; whatever is right in front of us.

  • We tend to do this when we really want something. We focus on that thing we want and obsess about it. We can’t see anything else. We are miserable when it seems out of reach.
  • We do this when we are in the middle of a problem. We focus on that problem and can’t think about anything else. The problem consumes our thoughts and we can’t imagine that it will ever go away.
  • We do this to ourselves at times, we look at where we are at right now and can’t imagine being any different. If we aren’t particularly happy with what we see, we think, “this is all I ever will be,” and can’t imagine a different us.

It is as if we have been focused on one hill and think, “this is all there is,” not realizing if we were to pull the telescope away we would now see many more hills and forests and lakes and towns and trails and sky! If we were to take that telescope away from our eye we would see a whole landscape around the one thing we were focused on.

We need to step back from whatever we are obsessing about and see that this isn’t all there is. Whatever we are looking at so closely today is going to look different tomorrow, or might even look different in an hour. That doesn’t mean that everything is going to be “fixed” but it does mean that we can have a new perspective. It does mean that God can help us see things in a new way.

Particularly when we are going through a hard time; when we are sad or lonely or afraid, it is easy to think, “this is all there is and ever will be.” We make decisions based on such little information; we make decisions in the middle of a crisis instead of giving ourselves a little room to think, to pray, to ask questions, to get help, to have a good sleep, to problem-solve.  When we are looking through our telescopes, we think our problems can be solved only in “one way.” The truth is, there are often many ways to solve a problem; it is just that some ways take more courage or time than others.

What I want to say that is TRUE about the future is that there is one. No matter who you are or where you are, there are possibilities for you, even if you can’t see them right now. If you are fixated on something, I want to encourage you to open your eyes to what is around it; if you can’t see it by yourself, ask someone you respect to tell you about life outside of that thing you can’t see beyond.

If you are discouraged, tired, or frustrated — by the way, never make important decisions when you are discouraged, tired, or frustrated; everything looks a bit blurry when you are in that frame of mind —  find someone who has lived a little longer than you and ask them to tell you the story of what is to come based on their own life experiences, and you will see, there is a future ahead of you.

While you are still living and breathing, just hang a “to be continued sign” on the things you run up against that you can’t easily solve. You might not have the answer right now but, be patient, listen well, look for answers, get great advice from people you respect,  and for those readers who are also wondering if God has something to say about their future and the life issues they are facing, indeed He does. Jesus Christ invited His followers to come to Him to find the answers for the things they couldn’t figure out. He invites you to do the same:

“Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find,
knock and the door will open up for you.”

— Teresa Klassen

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