I would typically prefer to be sound asleep at 3:15am, but on this particular night my wife and I were wide-awake…and so was our sweet 7-week-old baby. I never really took the advice to heart that people offered to us before our child was born when they said, “Enjoy your sleep now while you still can.” Now I understand! Nearly every hour on the dot, our newborn son had been up that night and was more fussy than usual. Finally, after the fourth time of soothing his cries and carefully laying him back down to sleep in the past five hours, my wife and I rolled back into bed and I desperately wished for that day in the future when our son would sleep peacefully through the night. Then, almost instantly, a sobering thought quietly ran through my mind: When that day comes, this day will be over. When my son begins to sleep through the night, that means he will be older and bigger and this season of his innocent newborn cries and gestures will be past.
Looking back, I realize all the times I have rushed through a beautiful season, eagerly expecting something better in the next. When I was dating my girlfriend (now wife), I just wanted to be married. Once we were married, I couldn’t wait to buy our first home. After buying our first home, I was looking forward to having our first baby. Now, on this night, I realized I was already wishing for that baby to grow.
Of course there is nothing wrong with being excited for the things of the future, but I saw how easily the excitement can drift into discontentment and rob us of finding beauty in each moment/season that the Lord has given us.
How easy it can be to get sucked into thinking, “I’ll be happy when…” or “Things would be better if…” instead of thanking God for this moment – even the raw, messy, exhausting, painful, or seemingly insignificant moments. Seasons of storms and seasons of sunshine alike are a part of the Author’s (Acts 3:15) story and He has given us the ability to have constant hope and joy throughout any season life throws our way (Romans 5:2-5).
I thought of the apostle Paul who was the epitome of finding contentment in the moment. In Philippians 4:11-12, he writes: “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” Remember that this is Paul speaking – a man who had gone through seasons of abandonment, imprisonment, cruel beatings, mockery, rejection, and more. Yet, even in the seasons of pain and discouragement, Paul learned how to find a place of contentment in both the highs and lows of life.
So instead of spending today wishing for that next big promotion, next vacation, next upgrade, next season of life, I want to challenge you today with the same challenge God gave me on that sleepless night: find a reason to give thanks in the season God has placed you in at this moment. The truth is, even in the darkest of days, we can find a reason to give thanks and appreciate for this moment, this breath, this instant that will become a memory sooner than we realize.
As for me, I will begin cherishing those sleepless nights with my son much more now because, someday, I know I will wish for them back.