Has there ever been a time in your life that you wished would just end? Maybe you were going through a stressful time at work. Maybe you or a loved one went through a terrible illness. Or maybe you just really hate the winter. Whatever it was, you found yourself thinking that life would be so much better once this or that was over.
In life, we sometimes find ourselves in a lose-lose situation. On one hand, we just want to get through tough times and finally be happy; but we also don’t want our lives to pass us by. On the other hand, when we do find ourselves enjoying life, the moment is tainted by an upcoming event that makes us anxious.
The Bible tells us ‘there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens’ (Ecclesiastes 3:1–8) and goes on to list all the positive and negative events in life, not just the positive.
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace. — Ecclesiastes 3:1–8 (NIV)
Instead of wishing our lives away and living in the future, let’s spend more time living in the present and enjoying every season of this gift of life we’ve been given. Here are a few simple ways to start.
Pray in every situation, not just the good times, not just the bad times, but always.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. — Philippians 4:6–7 (NIV)
2. Focus on today
Don’t live in the future and don’t spend your days focusing on how happy you’ll be one day. Live in the present. Also, don’t let today’s joy be stolen by worrying about the future.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. — Matthew 6:34 (NIV)
3. Be grateful
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. — 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 (NIV)
The Bible commands us to give thanks in all circumstances, not just when we get what we want or when things are going well. Be grateful, no matter what. When you focus on being grateful, as we should be doing, you tend to pay more attention to the positives, not the negatives of the situations.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. — Colossians 3:15–17 (NIV)
4. Take joy in your trials
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. — James 1:2–4 (NIV)
Instead of wishing your problems away, persevere and learn from them. If you find it difficult to do so, start by praying for help to find joy in these situations. Remember that these trials make you who you are; they complete you. With each trial you overcome, you’ve built up your endurance, character, and hope, and whether you feel it or not, you’re ready to take on the next stage of life.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. — Romans 5:1–5 (NIV)
5. Be content with what you have
If you’re content with what you have, you’re less likely to focus on the things you don’t have and the things you want. Not only will you learn to appreciate what you have more, but you’re less susceptible to jealousy, greed, and love of money, all of which are condemned in the Bible (Proverbs 14:30; Luke 12:15; Hebrews 13:5; 1 Timothy 6:9–10).
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. — 1 Timothy 6:6–8 (NIV)
6. Do everything for the glory of God
Focus less on yourself and what you want, and more on the kingdom and glory of God. We’re here to bring glory to God (Isaiah 43:7) — not satisfy our own selfish desires, which are in conflict with God’s will (Galatians 5:17) — so the more we spend our time bringing glory to God, the less time we have for indulging our own fruitless desires and ultimately being unsatisfied.
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. — 1 Corinthians 10:31 (NIV)
7. Remember that this life is short
When you’re having trouble enjoying your day, just remember that this life is fleeting (James 4:14). One day, we will die (Ecclesiastes 3:1–2). That in itself should remind you to treat each day as if it were your last, because it well may be.