Living in the Next Season

Living in the Next Season

By Christin Cox 

          Tears. Just more and more tears. The same time each day. Like clockwork. Let me preface.

          A few months ago, I was living in Atlanta—my happy place where all my friends were. Where I could go to an Atlanta Braves game at SunTrust Park after an impromptu invitation from a friend.

           “Want to go the Falcons game tonight….Hawks game….Taqueria del Sol….walk in the park?”

           The answer was the same. YES. I love those spontaneous meetings with friends. I love being able to go and do whenever I please. I liked to think of myself as a “Yes” girl—not giving up the opportunity to meet with a friend or listen to someone’s story.

           The Lord, however, had a different agenda for me in this season of life.

           Moving to Atlanta last year was a huge deal for me. I lived in the same town for 23 years. It was the place I grew up, went to high school, graduated college, and even attended grad school. The town shaped me and molded me, and I could not be any more grateful for that measly, old Mayberry town.

            I can remember being so awfully anxious to leave Mayberry and get on to something “better.” For me that “better” was Atlanta, and it was. It was the best thing that could have happened to a small town girl like me.

            After living in Atlanta for a few months, I went back home one weekend in September for my friends’ wedding shower where I was reunited with someone from my past, Reid. I first met Reid when I was in high school. He was the cousin of one of my high school friends, but older than me. Way older. Six years to be exact. During that time in my life, anyone 3+ years in advance was a complete no-no. While walking up the stairs to make my plate at the “I-Do-Barbecue,” Reid politely said, “Hey, how are you?” with a heart-melting smile.

            Fast forward, eight months later, to my current tears.

            I made the decision to move back to Milledgeville after much prayer, wrestling with the Lord, more prayer, more wrestling, and many job interviews later. I knew that my time in my fun, upbeat, never sleeping town was coming to close, and I was excited to be back home. I gained an appreciation for my Mayberry town during my time in Atlanta, and I was so eager to be back, firm, and consistent.

             My vision and perfect little plan was nothing to what I am experiencing. Imagine that! Currently, I am waiting to purchase a house, waiting to move into my new classroom, waiting to be married. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

             There is that one burning question that everyone asks, “What’s next for you?” It’s the question that has resonated in my mind. It’s the answers to those questions I have convinced myself of: “My life will be better when what is next is what is now.”

             When I get to my new house, then I’ll be able to have a good quiet time with the Lord.

             When I get settled, then I can invite people over to my house and start a small group.

             When I get into my classroom, then I will have a sense of purpose.

             When I get married, then I’ll be satisfied.

             When I have kids, then I’ll feel like I am where I am supposed to be.

             When the kids graduate from high school, then we will feel at ease and free of stress.

             When I just get this next promotion, then I can rest.

             When Friday gets here, then I can be OK.

             When this bridge gets fixed, then I won’t be so angry sitting in this traffic.

             That “next” living has destroyed my soul. It has left me broken, barren, and with boundless tears welling up in my eyes. I don’t want to live in what’s next. I want to be rooted in now.

            I cried every day for weeks, prepared and eager for what was next. I had done it while living in Atlanta knowing I would be moving. I have now cried knowing I am moving into a new house and so disappointed in the long and dreadful loan process. I have cried staring at my boxes of clothes and houseware items screaming to be unpacked.

           I am a planner. I like to plan and have an idea of what is coming up on my schedule. However, I have learned through my salty, alligator tears and this idea of “next” living that I had gotten it all wrong. I could fill up my planner with all the upcoming dates, appointments, meetings, spontaneous invites and wedding showers, but the Lord writes my life agenda. I know this and have known this, but I wasn’t claiming it.

           I want to claim it now.

           I want to claim the freedom that comes from living today.

           I want to claim the Lord's agenda for me, for you—an agenda full of compassion, grace, freedom, rest, righteousness. The Lord’s agenda includes off-road experiences.

           Remember the disciples leaving after John the Baptist had died? They were full of sorrow and heavy burdens knowing that their friend, someone who paved the way for Jesus, had just been so cruelly killed. Can you imagine?

          Jesus said to his disciples, “Come away with me. Let us go alone to a quiet place and rest for a while" (Mark 6:31).

           So, they go off on a boat together, and before they could get to their destination, a crowd of hungry people had already gathered. The disciples knowing they did not have enough food to give these people were surprised to find that Jesus already knew how this would be handled. He would take five loaves of bread and two fish and feed five thousand men and five thousand women. And, to go further, Jesus would have exactly twelve baskets of food leftover—one for each of his twelve disciples.

           I know I sure could not have planned that out.

           Let’s take Jesus’s offer. Let’s go away with him and rest in His agenda for us. He will have a basket of abundance ready when we make it to what is “next.”

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— H.B.W.