I’m at a stage in my life right now where it’s sometimes really hard for me to live in anticipation of things. For so many years, I was always looking towards the next thing. In high school, I couldn’t wait until college. In college, I couldn’t wait until grad school. In grad school, I couldn’t wait for my first job. But eventually every sequence hits a point where you have to ask, “Now what?”
I suddenly realized that I didn’t know the answer to this question. I had my first job, but some plans got derailed along the way, and I realized I don’t have as much control over the circumstances of my life as I would like. I knew that my story had to go somewhere, but it felt like it hit the last chapter and I was simply waiting for the epilogue.
How can we have healthy anticipation without rushing through our lives? How do we keep that feeling of anticipation when it doesn’t seem like we have anything to look forward to? In order to have healthy anticipation, we need to think about the bigger picture and expect God to show up.
When we rush through to the next step in life or when we don’t think there is a next step, we’ve lost sight of the bigger picture and are only focusing on ourselves. Instead of being intentional about our actions and being present in our day-to-day lives, we end up rushing through, missing opportunities, and losing hope in things that actually matter. Our identity becomes our timeline, our progress instead of our purpose in Christ.
In order to live with healthy anticipation, we need to stop worrying so much about planning every step and start focusing on what God is doing in our lives, knowing that he will show up and move us forward. Even in times where we don’t know what to anticipate, we can be expecting that God is working in and through our lives and that he will guide us when the time is right to wherever our next step is.
In Philippians 1, Paul assures the church “that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6 ESV). We aren’t promised a clear path or a 5-year plan. We aren’t promised that every stage in life will be better than the next or that our progression in life will be continually moving up the ladder of success. But if we remember that our anticipation lies not within our own individual stories but within the story that God is writing for all of creation, he promises that his work in us will be completed.