Recently I had a discussion about the word “someday.” I started to realize that this word was dangerous for me. It allows me one of two things; the permission to walk down a road I need to be cautious of, or the excuse to put things off a little while longer.
I have a board on pinterest where I pin cute wedding or baby ideas. What did I name said board? Someday. It’s a wistful acknowledgement that I’m not anywhere near ready to be planning a wedding but that I see things and want to remember them. Likewise with kid stuff. But for me, I have to be careful not to get so caught up in planning for my someday that I miss today.
Someday gives me the permission to start down a road that genuinely isn’t wrong. I feel like the someday road has stop lights. There are times the light is green and I can move forward further down my road. There are times the light is yellow cautioning me to slow down and take inventory of my surroundings. There are times the light is red and telling me to stop, for my own good, before I end up in a car crash. In my own impatience, I’ve decided to run those red lights more often than not.
I assume that most of us, when we are driving real cars, take care not to blatantly run a red light. We know the dangers, we know we can hurt someone or be hurt, and we certainly don’t want to clean up the damage of a car crash.
I can remember one specific time I chose to run a red light. I was driving home from a bible study in Nashville because severe tornadoes were headed our way. In fact, they were so severe, they did this. I was about 4 blocks from home and I got caught at a red light.
The wind was swirling, the lights rocking violently back and forth, and between flashes of lightening I could see funnel clouds forming. My midwest growing up years taught me not to mess with tornadoes. But being a law abiding citizen I decided to sit at that light. As tree branches came crashing down I thought, “screw it. I’d rather get a ticket than get sucked up into that funnel cloud. Plus, if a cop is dumb enough to give me a ticket right now, then he deserves to fight a tornado.”
So I drove through the light, made it home, and spent the majority of the night locked in a closet with my best friend on the phone giving me up dates on the storm’s path. Even in the midst of being in legitimate danger, my instincts initially wanted to wait through that red light. Running through that red light felt more dangerous than sitting there waiting for a tornado.
Unfortunately, I’m a little less careful with the rest of my life when it comes to red lights. They feel more like punishments than protections. I resent them and decide to push past anyway. Inevitably there is a car crash. A car crash where the wreckage is not scraps of metal and cloth, but hopes, dreams, investment, time, love, vulnerabilities. This is a car crash that can’t be easily cleaned up by a tow truck and city cleaners. This car crash usually involves untangling and pain. It’s the worst of all car crashes because no one walks away from it without long lasting scars.
So I’m learning those lights keeping me on track on my path of someday are there to keep me safe. To allow me to live out the best Christ intends for me and my community. I’m less likely to hurt someone else if I wait patiently at my red light. It takes on an entirely different meaning when I start thinking about how my actions affect others. But I’m really selfish, remember?
The other pitfall of someday is the permission to put off action. Someday I’ll do this, someday I’ll do that, someday I’ll be a famous dancer, someday I’ll own my own business, someday I’ll be debt free, someday I’ll travel around the world.
This type of someday begs the follow up question, “okay, so what are you doing about it today?” It’s a tricky line to walk – preparing for someday but living in today. In the New Testament, Jesus tells us not to worry about tomorrow, yet in the Old Testament Proverbs we’re warned about not working hard and being prepared.
How do we reconcile these things?
Often we put a someday before them. We use them as a defensive wall so we can’t fail. Someday doesn’t have a time limit on it. If I’m 35 and still working a dead end job but have dreams of owning my own bakery, my someday allows me to not feel like I’m failing.
As a twenty-something, I feel like I have all the time in the world. Time to get it right, time to figure things out, time for someday. But the older I get, the faster life passes me by, and the more time I lose to prepare for someday. Investing in someday today is investing in my future.
I used to think things just happened. You wanted to be a famous ice skater, you put on a pair of skates, and went to the Olympics. You want to be a successful business person, you got a good job at a thriving company and then you were successful. When I started to realize that wasn’t the case, I gave up. After buying ice skates and one ice skating lesson, I wasn’t Tara Lipinski, so I was done.
I wish I could count how many things I tried and wasn’t good at immediately so I quit. I didn’t want something someday, I wanted it today. Unfortunately I’m guilty of having that same child-like mentality in relationships, finances, my walk with Christ as well as other areas of my life. It’s something that bleeds into my adult life.
What about you? How does someday affect your life?