We live for the day. We dream about the day. We long for the day. The day that is beyond where we are at now. The day where we will have everything we have ever dreamed of.
Dreams are a wonderful thing because they are simply that. Dreams. What everybody tried to tell me (and what I never actually believed) is that the present years are the years to be embraced. We are free to dream, definitely. But we need to be careful to also recognize the past dreams that are being fulfilled at present.
I was reading James 5 this morning and there are three things that stood out to me, probably because they sum up the lessons I have been learning this year and the reality of life (so far) in my twenties.
"Be patient, then, brothers [and sisters]" (8)
You will not be rich. In fact, you will probably be the poorest you will be throughout the course of your life. And your parents will not continue to pay for everything. Budgets are real.
Your boyfriend/fiance/husband will be experiencing the same stresses as you. The teenage 'on top of the world' mantra will not last forever. He will not be perfect. His flaws are real.
You will not be the best at everything anymore. You will realize that even though you got the music award, the sportsmanship award, the math award, the science award, the english award, and the french award in highschool you physically cannot be the best at all of those things anymore.
You will have to learn to be patient with the people around you when they try to tell you these things, even though you know you can only learn for yourself. You will have to be patient with your parents as they try to navigate their roles in their young adults' lives. You will have to be patient with your boyfriend/fiance/husband as he tries to make it through this time in your lives as well. And you will have to be patient with yourself as you make mistakes and take some wrong turns on the second-decade-road.
"consider blessed those who have persevered." (11)
Some days you will feel like you're not going to get anywhere. Like when that job you were counting on doesn't work out, when your bank account becomes a couple digits less than you need it to be, when your relationship seems to be teetering on a rock, or when you don't do as well as you were hoping to on your final exam.
What I've been reminding myself - correction: what God has been reminding me - is that life won't be like this forever.
This is only a short time in our lives. We are not always going to be broke and confused and searching for our place in this world (at least to the degree we are now) forever.
But even though it's a short time, it's also an important time. It's a time where we are entirely shaped and moulded into who we are going to be - the individual people who will go out into the world and (hopefully) follow the paths that God has planned. In order to become those people, we need to persevere (perseverance must finish its work so that we may be mature - James 1:4)
"Again he prayed," (18)
It sounds so simple, but it is so powerful. Because prayer changes your perspective on everything. It takes the grief out of your own hands, and places it in the hands of the One who can transform anything into joy. And rather than attempting life on your own strength (this has never worked well for me) you then have His strength to carry you.
The other thing about prayer is that it is the key ingredient in your relationship with Him.
Communication is probably the most important part of any relationship. Prayer is communication with the most important One in your life. Prayer brings peace. Prayer brings power.
Prayer brings patience and perseverance and all the other things you need.