To Be More Joyful: Live in the Now

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This year marks the twentieth since I graduated from high school and moved away to college. Oh my! I had a very different picture of my future life back then. What’s funny is that I’m so much happier with the current state of things than I would have been if I had got the things that I wanted.

At different times in my young adult years, I wanted to be a fighter pilot, a police officer, a lawyer, and a journalist, preferably investigating crime cases.

Yeah, I watched too much TV as a kid.

As it turned out, I studied in France for a year, came home, got a BA in French Literature, married, became a high school teacher and then retired two years later to be a full-time, stay-at-home mom. At one time, I thought I would never get married. Later, I was only going to have two children. As it turned out, it was pretty tough to have a second child. Now I’m blessed with six children.

My so called “plans” were just that, plans. And, I’m so glad that God had a better plan than I did. Whooee!

Leaving the Past Behind

A little girl hugging mom and looking at the camera over her shoulder.

Like the wrinkled brow of my daughter, so does my own face scrunch up when I remember poor choices and bad decisions of the past. Hubs and I have had long discussions about things we wish we hadn’t done.

In the big picture, we love where we are. But, there are moments and memories that we do regret. Why did we buy that house? Why did we sell that house? Why did we get into such horrible debt?

Life is full of disappointments. You’re no different than the Mom Nextdoor. Each of us can look back and go, “ewww.”

But, certainly, this doesn’t contribute to a more joyful life. Repent of the past, make a decision to do better or different in the future, and make a plan for “next time.”

Don’t Pine for the Future

A boy playing in the waves at the beach.

In some seasons of my life, it seems that I was always living for something more. Wanting to find Mr. Right, get married, have a baby, buy a house, you know the story….

When we were struggling to have our second baby, I pined away for that moment when I would hold another baby in my arms. Yet, when he came – three years later — I realized that I had squandered precious moments with our little family of three. While I was ecstatic to have another child, I was sobered by what I had missed in my impatience.

Enjoy today.

You may have hopes and dreams you want fulfilled — right now. You may regret past choices that you still feel pain over. You may be allowing the past and the future to rob you of the present.

I know. I’ve been there. I go there still. We can learn from our pasts and we can plan for our futures. But, we need to enjoy today. Embrace the now. And suck every drop of goodness out of what’s going on in the present.

This is the day the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

— Psalm 118:24

Do you struggle to live in the now?

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  1. Thank you so much for posting this today. We are in the middle of a lot of changes, and it is hard not to be impatient for things to settle. Its a beautiful day, and life is GOOD.

  2. Oh yes, great post. There have been times in the past that I pined for the future, but I’ve gotten past that. I am not regretful, and so incredibly joyful. I try very hard to live in the moments, in the now, although I am a chronic planner. I have a strong sense of mortality and that keeps me from getting too far ahead of myself, I think. I’m sure I miss moments in the now, but God is sovereign and I am content ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Thanks for your kind words and for sharing your struggles. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Great post! It is another reminder to me to just enjoy the now. Kids really do grow up in a blink of an eye. My oldest will be 17 on Thursday and it feels like just yesterday I was holding him my arms for the first time.

    1. Isn’t that the truth?! My oldest is sporting a little moustache!! {gasp} and he’s only 13. What happened to my baby?

  5. This is so helpful for me to read. Thanks for sharing your story & for your constant honesty. one of my biggest struggles has always been living in the now, and I don’t want to miss this time- because I’ll never have it back. With God’s grace I can live for now- and the future in heaven too!

  6. This is just what I needed. Thank you for being to candid and honest about your life. It makes me so happy to know that I am not alone in how I feel!

  7. I learned about living in the now and planning in 1995. While it is difficult for a person who constantly doesn’t want just a plan A and B, but a plan C an D to let go and allow things to unfold I have definitely gotten better about it. Growing up I used to love the poem “The Weaver.”My favorite part was always “the dark threads are as needful in the Weaver’s skillful hand, as the threads of gold and silver in the pattern He has planned.” So I guess regret just isn’t something I do . All my interactions, good and bad, led me to exactly where I’m supposed to be and made me the person I am today. And I’m good with that.

  8. What a great post! You’re so right to remind us all to live in the moment so we don’t miss a thing.

  9. Yes, I struggle to live in the now, but you’re quite right. The place of God’s blessing it is often said is the place of His choosing. This is where I am, I don’t want to miss it ๐Ÿ™‚ .


  10. Thanks for the reminder. It was something I knew, but something I often forget. As we wait for my God’s leading in relocating, we need to remember that we’re here where He put us. He has a perfect plan. Thanks for encouraging me today!

  11. Wow, what an uplifting post. I wouldn’t say I struggle to live in the now, but I definitely used to. I have been working on living for today lately, and this post came at a great time to remind me that I’m doing a pretty good job of it. Thank you!

  12. Thanks for sharing! My daughter leaves for college in a week, I’m trying to enjoy every moment instead of crying about how much I’ll miss her.

  13. the more I read of your blog, the more I see we have many things in common (I was never going to get married either, then thought for a long time our first was going to be our only child due to fertility issues, and oh the horrid debt and dumb decisions).

    I think about the things I wanted when I was 18, 20, 22 … and I’m so glad that God had other plans for me! (oh, man, SO glad!)

    so, thank you for this post on perspective on enjoy THIS day and the NOW ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Thank you for writing down what often needs to be said but isn’t. Exactly what I needed to read this morning!

  15. Wow, this post is just what I needed today. I have definitely not been living in the now for the past month or so. My husband and I have been talking about having a baby, and I want one so badly but am realizing that God wants me to be patient a little while longer. When you mentioned how you missed all those opportunities because you were so impatient to have another child, I realized that I could be doing the same thing to myself. I totally need to enjoy every moment now, because life will never be this way ever again. Thanks so much for your post!

  16. Thank you for posting this. Its a good reminder and something I needed to be reminded of.