Not WHEN, but IF...

How am I supposed to be content when the world is full of amazing and exciting things?

I am learning to be thankful for the present moment, for the present joys that God has given me- right now. But I have to say, this goes against something so fundamental in my nature, something that feels like such a blessing and such a part of sinful nature at the same time: excitement. 

In college, both times that I was mentoring a small group of women, I would lead them through an exercise. I would have us all list 10 of their most important possessions or physical objects. Then we would imagine God telling us we had to give up one, and we'd cross it off the list. We'd keep crossing things off until we were left with nothing on the list. Then I would ask them if they'd still follow Him after this. It sounds like a morbid or disheartening activity, but it always got us thinking and talking about why we follow God, and if we have expectations that he give us STUFF in return for our faithfulness. 

But that exercise never seemed that bad to me. Instead, I should have written out all of my hopes and dreams for this life, and see how I would felt of none of THEM ever came to pass. 

My personality thrives off of excitement. At any given time, I have several things in the future that I am just so excited for. To me, the anticipation of an event is almost as wonderful as the event itself. For example, right now I am so excited for Homecoming at my high school this weekend, for my worms to come in the mail so I can start composting, for going to the farmer's market in 2 weeks and attempting to buy a week's worth of produce, and for Christmas with Husband's family in Arizona. That's just a sampling.

Because here is the kicker for me: I am so excited for all life has to offer. And I yearn for things that I probably will never get to experience. I want thirty lifetimes, just to be able to wander all over the world and soak in everything it has to offer. 

I want to live as a rancher, running horses over the prairie.
I want to be a mother, tending to ten children all day.
I want to live as a scientist, researching on the cutting edge of technology.
I want to be a teacher, a zookeeper, a musician, an actress, an athlete, a chef, a truck driver, a sales clerk, a tour guide, and a farmer. 
I want to shovel snow all winter and burn logs in a wood stove.
I want to live somewhere tropical, where it's 80 degrees and rainy all day.
I want to be poor, to experience simplicity and even hunger.
I want to live in a lavish palace with everything I could possibly imagine.
I want to live in Austria, Spain, Malawi, Russia, Chile, Canada, New Zealand, Egypt, and France.
I want to be out in the country, with no neighbors for miles in any direction.
I want to be in the crowded city, where I see friends and acquaintances every day. 
I want to be a crusader, fighting against the injustices I see around me. 
I want to be a minority.
I want to be part of a majority. 

But I expect most of these I'll never be able to do in this life. But what DO I find myself expecting and anticipating with great wonder? Having children. Living on the East Coast. Having a group of woman friends that I can share life with. Travelling the country. Teaching and impacting the lives of children.

There's a problem with this. What if God decides that none of that will come to be for me? What if He wants me to stay in Los Angeles or in California the rest of my life? What if He doesn't let me have children? 
In the past 5 months that I've been living in LA, he has been showing me over and over again that my best laid plans are nothing if he has different plans for me. And part of the issue with being an Excited Person is that if these things don't come to pass, there is great let-down, and that is the issue. Do I hold on to my dreams so tightly that I don't trust Him? Would I continue to follow my Jesus if He decided that I could best serve Him without children? Or on the West Coast?

So, here's my struggle these days. How do I balance it? How do I continue to be excited and so greatful for this amazing world that He has created, yet not to worship it? How do I look forward to my life and experiences, without expecting them? How do I bend my will to His? So far, He has given me an amazing life with more experiences than I could ever have hoped for. How do I trust that He will continue to do so, and that if He doesn't, it is for His glory? How do I release my grip and have a childlike faith?

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