We celebrated Thanksgiving this week. I know, we’re about three weeks behind, or beyond, depending on how you look at it, but life threw us a curve ball Thanksgiving week, so our celebration just happened. We basked in joyful hours full of noise, good food, a few three-year-old meltdowns involving who got to sit where and who got to play with what first, multiple attempts at a family photo, and general chaos. Did I mention loud noises?
As our son’s family was preparing to leave, our granddaughter opened the back door, flung her arms wide, and exclaimed, “Hello, world! Welcome to the future!” While I suspect this is a line she memorized (her daddy did the same thing) from a movie she watches frequently rather than phrases wrought from her own creative mind, her words made me think about the on-going challenges of this year. We could all benefit from the perspective that puts this year in the rearview mirror and looks, with expectancy and hope, toward the future.
Facing the Future
Several factors are inherent in looking toward the future:
Sometimes, facing the future is daunting because we can’t be sure what will happen next. Often, that which is known feels more secure than the unknown, even if the known isn’t great. Navigating the unknown requires courage and a forward-looking mentality. Trust also factors in. Forward motion hinges on flexibility and adaptability.
Fear is a sneaky little commodity that infiltrates our thoughts with what-if-the-future-is-worse scenarios. Fear always paints a dark picture and fails to provide even a single ray of light on the horizon. Overcoming fear takes determination and the ability to shift your focus from anything that overshadows positive aspects of the future.
Catching a Vision
With any type of creative endeavor, you have to envision the end result in order to set the process in motion. Until you visualize the overall concept, next steps are nebulous.
While we do not know what the future holds, focusing on potential outcomes helps move you forward. For example, if you have the goal of a healthier lifestyle for the future, you have to narrow the time frame and implement tangible steps to reach that goal. If the goal lacks concrete, incremental steps, it is worthless.
Embracing the Future
Many endings exist for the phrase that begins “When opportunity knocks…open the door; be sure the door isn’t locked; don’t miss out; be willing to take a chance.” Often, we miss opportunities because we aren’t paying attention, or our nemesis, fear, conjures lots of reasons to remain in the safety of the familiar. Approach the future aware and expectant. Refreshing new opportunities and insights await.
Have you ever experienced a time when someone made a promise to you and failed to fulfill it? Once this happens, you tend to be wary and try harder to distinguish promise-keepers from promise-fabricators.
One of the definitions of promise is “good grounds for expecting a forthcoming occurrence.” The year 2020 has smashed our perception of promising, but with persistence we reignite our expectations that what is forthcoming, the year ahead, will bring positive change. With the enthusiasm of my little granddaughter, we can embrace a welcome-to-the-future attitude.
With the approval of a vaccine to combat COVID-19, hope is renewed for the beginning of an end to the pandemic. But hope involves more than trust placed in research, medicine, leadership, or the economy. Hope is confident, unwavering trust in God, who created the universe. No matter what the future holds, whether difficult or easy, God cares, comforts, and sustains us as we move forward. He alone controls the future.
“Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.” Isaiah 43:18-19 MSG
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving beyond difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House) and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
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