Looking Later

When you’re doing something, by default, you’re not aware of what “future you” is gonna think about it. 

That’s why we’ve got such a culture of instant gratification. There’s not even an inkling of consideration as to the future benefit or consequence of an action. Our realm of awareness maybe extends to that of the next couple hours or next day or so… which is why sometimes, one might choose not to partake in Mexican food before a long flight, or guzzle down a full bottle of Gatorade before bed. Why did I just choose two bodily functions as examples? I dunno. I guess they’re the things that I’ve experienced the most “consequence” in when it comes to a lack of sense. I’m sure you’ve got your own strange list of things that you’ve learned form experience, okay…

But why doesn’t our awareness extend to things that really matter in the long run?

Like, why don’t we think about the end result of the gospel when we’re just casually talking to strangers? Or the ways that even the smallest acts of kindness can lead to amazing relationships and opportunities? We’ve surely all experiences a moment of looking back and realizing that if it weren’t for that smile or that extra effort or that kindness, we wouldn’t have gotten to where we are.

I was having a conversation with somebody very dear to me a little while back about this very topic… and mid-conversation, I realized that there was a very specific action that if I had not taken, we would have never met. Like, if it weren’t for one simple action that I thought nothing about, that very moment of conversation wouldn’t have existed. It’s rather mind-blowing to think about… but at the same time, it seems like we’d be able to figure this thing out by now, right? Why would it seem so impossible to have “hindsight” in the moment, AKA, foresight?

It’s because we don’t practice looking ahead.

Not only does vision equip one to make choices that will help them avoid future trouble or heartache or failure… but it also prepares one to make choices that are beneficial. Sometimes we’re so busy looking for potential pitfalls in the journey that we forget to grab the tools along the way that will make future pitfalls easy to get past. Yes, it’s a balance of seeing both perspectives, but I feel like we far more often lack this sort of foresight, rather than caution.

Think about this. You’re only able to have the sweet, reminiscent memories that you will have about a given adventure, after you have the boldness to adventure in the first place. When you reach an opportunity for adventure or excitement or exploration, you must let your fear be overtaken and utilized to drive the future memory of it. Sometimes doing “cool stuff” is scary. But y’wanna know how I get past it in a moment and JUST DO IT? I think about the story that I will have collected after I do whatever is scaring me. It’s all about looking ahead.

But here’s the even crazier part… most of the time, that momentary foresight isn’t even for us to enjoy, but rather, it’s the beauty and responsibility of the gospel. 

When we begin to allow the Holy Spirit to work in us, we no longer have the leisure to not be vividly, daringly attentive to every moment. Our awareness must always be on 100%, ready to act when the still, small Voice beckons. If you’re asking to be used by God, he’s probably already told you what to do, you’re just not thinking small enough. Sounds opposite of what you usually hear, right? “Have big, hairy, audacious prayers”, right? Well, how about this then… massive prayers and dreams are forwarded by even the smallest acts of obedience. Whether you know it or not, your tiny acts of obedience might one day be the determining factor in another’s salvation. Even little the things you do that you think are inconsequential… they just might have the most eternal consequences of all.

Since you’ve been raised to new life in Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven…
— Colossians 3:1

It’s our great joy and honor to be guided, trained, and shown truth by the Spirit. It’s also our wondrous responsibility to make sure that we steward our moments well, always aware of what’s trying to be accomplished in the Kingdom of Heaven in any given time. It’s great to have wisdom enough to see how an adventure could result in a future story to tell. It’s even greater to use that wisdom to sense when the Holy Spirit is moving, and to act swiftly and effectively to pioneer the Kingdom on earth.

BIG IDEA: Let vision of the future inspire your present self to be more aware of opportunity.

I pray that in this day, you see every moment as a brilliant opportunity. It may be simply for you to glean from and enjoy later on, or it could be of eternal consequence. I dearly pray that you see the value of the souls that constantly surround you, and take every opportunity, every chance, and every risk to see them come to know Christ. We’ve been blessed beyond imagine in this life, whether you know it or not. I hope that you’ll live adventurously, boldly, courageously, and purposefully, with the realities of heaven in the forefront of your mind. Keep being awesome, friend, and keep moving forward.