I was reading an article this morning about the new Instagram logo. The response was overwhelmingly predictable.
“Keep it the same!”
“Why did it have to change? It was great just the way it was!”
“Change it back!”
“There was nothing wrong with the design!”
The apparent outrage of the tech community was not in response to a moral shift in society. It was not because of blatant misuse of proprietary information or gross copyright infringement. No. The emotional eruption was because of a logo change. It was about the logo, but it wasn’t about the logo. A logo, much like a picture or a song or a scent, can be uniquely attached to a feeling or experience, and nostalgia can be a powerful if not dysfunctional motivator.
When humanity experiences something that resonates positively within them our desire is to linger much longer than we should. We often try to place good experiences on a virtual loop. We say we want change but in reality we just want a variety of ways to experience what we’ve already experienced.
What many fail to understand is that transition is not disrespectful to the past. It does not negate the legitimacy of one’s past experiences, nor does it devalue them. It simply declares that there is something in the future that will be just as beneficial even though “the logo may be a different color”.
The future is more than a moment of promised recognition. It is the moment of intense spiritual evolution that re-defines our very existence. And therein lies our most fascinating opportunities and intriguing possibilities. It is the moment we cease to be who we were and now operate under what can be.
Oddly enough, our thoughts of the future are often ones of control and influence. We feel as if we can determine the outcome of our future. We believe it is in the palms of our hands to determine the fame we will achieve, the wealth which will be at our disposal, and the perfect spouse who will seemingly complete our lives. But the future is not a substance to be controlled. It is not an item to be purchased or a limitless commodity available at the local department store. The future is a wildly unpredictable vixen full of uncertainty as much as hope. Future is as prepared to rob as it is to bless. This is not to say the future is a magical genie needing merely a few gentle caresses to make our dreams come true. No, changing the future is not within our grasp, as much as we would be inclined to dream so. The future is not promised to us (Proverbs 27:1), but the present is. How we act, what we say, how we behave here, now, in this moment, shapes who we are and who we will become.
But the present is not where we desire to spend our time. We desire to spend our time in the past because it exists as a reflection of who we were, moments that we would not bother to spend energy to change because we are powerless to do so. We romanticize the past. We think back fondly on the gracious times and scowl at the times we would like to forget but can’t. This is is why the future looks so attractive. Because maybe, just maybe, even though we can’t alter the past, we can change the future. But it’s not the future we’re changing. It’s the present.
The future is simply a biproduct of our activity of the present. What would happen if we desired to change the future but never the present? What would happen if we continually looked to the future for hope, even though it is not certain, and fail to recognize that it is the present that shapes our lives? Jesus’ proclamations were those of hope. They are those of love, compassion, mercy, and grace, but NOT for the future, because the future is not promised to us. Only the present is promised. This moment, right now. The moment you are reading this is a promise that has been revealed to you. It is the now, and the now is where we are best equipped to serve.
This could not be more real than in Jesus’ selection of followers. The disciples were anything but perfect, but Jesus was not looking at what they would become in the future. He did not wait to use them, but chose to use them in that moment, in the present. He took all of their short-comings, failures, insecurities, doubts, and flaws and used them in the present. Why? Because He knew that if He could reveal himeself to them now, the future would take care of itself. This is also why Jesus urged us to not be anxious about tomorrow, tomorrow has it’s own problems. Jesus wanted us to focus on the now, the present.
The moments that we let pass by us every day.
The moments we lose track of.
The moments that we look back on and wonder where they went.
These are the moments Jesus wants us to claim.
What does this mean? It means that we don’t wait for a future moment to tend to the poor, we seize the moment in the present. We don’t wait until the future to introduce Jesus to someone, we do it in the present. It seems somewhat daunting, and if you’re like me you may be wondering where to start. And when we wonder when we wonder where to start we seldom begin because we’re afraid of beginning in the wrong place and wasting our precious time.
This is why Jesus sent to us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit allows us, encourages us, and directs us in the present. The Holy Spirit reveals to us our plans in the present, knowing that if we get the present right we’ll be setting ourselves up for the future. This is what it means to have a relationship with God. To follow Him in the present, and in return, shape the future into what God had intended since the beginning of time.
Your present will always be someone else’s future and another’s past. Transition is acknowledging God’s work in the present for a better future built upon the past, honoring it, not forsaking it.
Transition is a good thing. It means God’s not done with you yet. Embrace it and walk with expectation, and don’t worry about the logo. It’s already in the past.