Life’s “Next” Button

This morning, we need to start with the recognition that the 1990’s was the greatest decade of music ever. This has little to do with the point of this post, but I feel it should be said and that you should agree.

We recently discovered that our van has Sirius radio. This is an important discovery because on Sirius, there is a 90’s grunge / alternative station that is fantastic. Almost every song that comes on just takes me to a happy place. Almost.

The problem is that I have gotten accustomed to Pandora and Spotify. So when a song came on that I didn’t like, I actually reached for the “next” button without even thinking. It even took me a minute of confusion to figure out what was going on. I have conditioned myself to reach for the “next” button when something I don’t like comes up.

As I sat frustrated through some awful King Missile song, I realized this particular aspect of technology has worked its way into how I think about life.

I often want to hit the “next” button in life.

I find myself constantly looking towards the next thing. I start sentences with “When I just get….” The tendency to do this also goes up when life is not quite going the way I want it to. I look for the “next” button when I find myself stressed, tired, frustrated or unhappy. I assume that if I can just get to the next part of life, everything will be ok.

I have conditioned myself to reach for what is next when life doesn’t turn out my way.

But when we are reaching for the “next” button, we often miss out on what is happening here and now. Now don’t get lost in the analogy – I don’t think God wants me to sit and listen to a crappy 90’s song. But I do think God wants us to stay away from the next button.

It is easy to complain when life is not going our way. It is easy to assume that the next thing on the horizon will be better. But it robs us from what God is giving us now.

Perhaps you are in this season for a reason. Perhaps God needs to do something within you before the next thing can come along. Perhaps God wants to show you something that the next thing would keep you from seeing. Or perhaps your pursuit of what is next keeps you from seeing God at all. God becomes a genie who exists to grant your wish for what’s next. So God becomes a great source of frustration when we don’t get what we want.

So instead of the “next” button, maybe we should be more conditioned to hit “pause.”

Life rarely turns out the way we plan. Life is often difficult. We suffer, we hurt, we get frustrated. That is the stuff of life. If I am reaching for the “next” button when life gets difficult, what I am missing out on is life itself. Life does not exist anywhere but in this moment. The present moment is all we have.

Perhaps what I need to do is pause, take a look around, and see what is going on right here. Maybe I need to put in a little more effort into the care of my current season of life.

We can spend a lot of time and effort moving towards what is next, but often the greatest things we encounter in life come from learning to pause in the midst of difficulty, frustration and stress.

What might God have in store for you in this season?

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