Present

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I’m a planner.

I like to plan ahead.  I like to know what’s coming.  I like timelines and knowing what to expect.  Don’t get me wrong- I do have another side to me.  The side that gets tired of predictability and feeling tied down to plans, but that’s just to keep people guessing.  For the most part, I thrive on being able to see a good distance down the road.

But here I am, uprooted from my previous life, trying to get established in a new country, with a husband who is working in a temporary contract.  Not only is Dwayne’s job temporary, but it’s…challenging. (I’m cautiously not filling in details here online, so trust me on this one.)  So there are times when we wonder how he could ever stick it out the whole 2 years.  On the other hand, there are times when we consider whether we could ever return to North American life.  Now that we’ve pulled ourselves away from it, we realize that parts of it leave a lot to be desired.  Life in the UAE is pretty sweet.  And so we wonder if we’ll find ourselves here beyond the 2 years.  And then we come across people who have worked in multiple countries and have learned so much from immersing themselves in various cultures and we wonder if our next stop will not be Canada at all, but an entirely different country.

We wonder and waver.  We ponder possibilities.  Each scenario has costs and benefits.  Each has pros and cons.  But every train of thought or conversation comes back to this:

We have no idea.

We have no idea what the next year and half has in store for us.  We have no idea how we will be feeling next year.  We have no idea what opportunities will present themselves or won’t.  And especially, we have no idea what God’s Spirit will compel us to pursue from here.

I run scenarios in my head constantly, because, as mentioned, I’m a planning addict, but God has been showing me, over and over, that I simply cannot know.  Why waste my time trying to figure it out and plant myself in a future that may never exist the way I envision it?  What God wants for me is to live fully present in today.  To be faithful with the gifts he has given me in this time and place and season.  To tend the field He has put right in front of me.

this is the dayAnd so, my word for 2015 is “Present.”  I am learning to let go of a future I cannot guarantee for the present day, which is all I have for sure.

So, while I’m missing the family we left back home, I am soaking up the unprecedented amount of time we have together as a little family unit.  While I’m missing the deep, established friendships from home, I’m making the effort to reach out and invest in new friendships with a whole lot of amazing people who are not a 20 hour plane ride away.  While I’m missing bacon and cheese and barbequing, I have fallen in love with falafels and hummus and shawarma…and my body is so grateful.  While I’m missing the mountains and the greenery and seasons of BC, I wake up every morning to sunshine and chirping birds and a multitude of beautiful new places to explore.

My present is pretty great. I do not want to squander it by keeping one foot planted back in Canada and the other planted in an unknown future.  So, I’m working on bringing both feet back right under me.  Here in Al Ain.  Today in February, 2015.  I’m praying that God will teach me to number my days and leave the long term planning to Him.

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5 thoughts on “Present

    Lydia Saunders said:
    February 6, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    dear Jen..you inspire me!! How true..we need to live in the moment God gives us….I have to learn that too,especially with the move coming up and all that goes with it and the future as I’d like to not work as much and spend more time with my grandkids and the Lords’ work..but we do the Lords work wherever he plants us..take care dear one..you, Dwayne, Josia, and Abbey are in my prayers

      jendhansen responded:
      February 7, 2015 at 10:44 pm

      Lydia, did you sell your house?!? Is that why you mention moving? What a long-time-coming answer to prayer! Thank you so much for all your encouragement and your prayers!

    barbaraarenburg said:
    February 7, 2015 at 3:20 am

    Your writing brings so many emotions back to me and those feelings that come from trying to live in one country and way of life, yet with your foot still in another. I know these feelings, but yours are that much more intense with the distance you have between countries and the vastly different culture you experience

    I thank you for thinking through this at an earlier stage than I ever did when living away from our Canadian roots, and coming to terms with living in the present. I wish I had your writings to shake me up 8 years ago and work harder at living in the present instead of longing for the past and what couldn’t be.

    Our last unpredictable year and a bit has allowed for God’s Spirit to work on this very element in our shaken-up life. Very much a living from day to day and relying on the hope of our salvation and God’s mercies that are new every morning. We’re discovering his faithfulness is, indeed, Great.

    I commit to praying for your “present” and your “future.” God bless,

      jendhansen responded:
      February 7, 2015 at 10:47 pm

      So glad to hear how God is working I your present life, Barbara! I can so relate to your ‘shaken up’ life. Thanks for your reminder today of the hope of our salvation.

    Amanda said:
    March 6, 2015 at 5:13 am

    I love that phrase you used, “bringing both feet right back under me”. I so often rush through what is right here and try to get to the future too quickly. Such a great visual from that sentence. Thanks for sharing Jen!

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