Snowflakes on the sleeve of my coat, Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Each of us is but a breath

I got stuck in a snow drift Monday morning on my way to work. I backed my car out of my garage and THUD! I sank into a drift as tall as my knees and twice as wide as my 2012 Malibu. Backing out in the pitch black dark of morning is always an adventure, but getting stuck in the snow isn’t a new experience for me. With a little creative maneuvering and the deactivation of the car’s traction control, I escaped my snowy prison and got on the road.

But it didn’t take me long to realize that something wasn’t quite right. I got up to 40 miles per hour, and the steering wheel began to wobble. And what can you do in that situation? Well, a smart person would probably stop. But I decided to go a little faster and see if it went away. I pushed it up to 50, and–no. The wibble-wobble didn’t go away. In fact, it got worse.

To make a long story short, I pretty much decided that it had to be snow packed somewhere, and on the advice of my dad, I chose to go ahead and come into town for work. But the requirement was that I couldn’t drive over 50. That was the kicker. Driving 45 miles one way to work isn’t a very big deal when you can go 70 mph (*cough-cough-75-cough-cough*), but that same distance at a limit of 50? With crazy drivers zooming past you? PLUS, it was going to take me forever to get into work, which meant I would be later than I normally like to be.

If the day continued as it had started, it was going to be a horrible Monday.

But I pushed forward, with some encouraging words from my mom, and drove into Wichita with my hazard lights on, keeping my speed around 50 mph, wheels wobbling all the way. For the first ten minutes, I was stressed out and frustrated and irritated and grouchy. What a way to start my first full week in 2014! But then, I reminded myself that everything happens for a reason, and I turned on some praise music and enjoyed my extra-long drive into Wichita.

And guess what? No, I was still late. To make it to work on time after my fiasco of a morning would have required a TARDIS (wibbley-wobbley, timey-whimey?). But the morning drive did fly faster than I expected it to, and I guess that’s what made me think today about how fast time goes. I know I’ve posted about it before, but time really does go fast. Life really is short.

Snowflakes on the sleeve of my coat, Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Snowflakes on the sleeve of my coat, Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Today’s verse is Psalm 39:5.

You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
    My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
    at best, each of us is but a breath.

The Psalmist understood how short life is. I can’t remember if this was David or not. It probably was, considering how many Psalms he wrote. But whoever wrote it captured the concept of how fast time goes in beautiful words: “at best, each of us is but a breath.”

A breath. A vapor, like it says in James. A wisp of fog, a puff of smoke, here for a little while and then it’s gone. Compared to eternity, our 70, 80, 90, 100 years on Earth are nothing. Less than nothing. No more substantial than a cloud brushing the summit of Pike’s Peak.

So what does it matter if your schedule falls apart? What does it matter that you need to spend another 15 minutes getting to work when you hadn’t planned on it? Granted, if you’re an hourly employee, that’s different. If you have a responsibility to be on time, then be on time, but at the end of the day, life happens. And the more upset you get about it, the less likely you are to appreciate the time you still have.

Be responsible, of course, but be sensible. Recognize truly how short life is, and be thankful for the time you have. This world isn’t our home, no, but it’s where we live now. God put us here for a reason, and He allows things into our lives for a reason. We may never know why, but He does. That’s what matters.

So whatever goes wrong in your life today, don’t freak out. Don’t get frustrated. Remember your life is just a breath. Make the most of what you have, and when things don’t go the way you want, just chill. Try to see the bright side. If you can’t find something good to say about God, you’re not paying close enough attention.

Sunrise on Christmas Eve 2011

Being intentional in 2012 . . . because 2013 will get here sooner than I think.

I used to think I appreciated time. I thought I really understood how fast it went, and I thought I had grasped the appropriate level of intentionality that I needed to live my life by. And I did this at a young age so I would be able to make the most of the life I had been given.
I was wrong.
Time goes so much faster than any of us think. It’s cliché, but it’s true. It doesn’t feel like a year has gone by. It doesn’t feel like it should be 2012. But it is. And it got here so quickly.
Time moves so fast. With motion no one can stop and with decisiveness no one can fight. We all try to fight time, but we can’t. And when we waste it, it’s gone.
Sunrise on Christmas Eve 2011

Sunrise on Christmas Eve 2011 - Haven, KS

There is only so much we can accomplish in the brief time we are alive. Granted, I believe we are all here to accomplish something, or God wouldn’t have left us here. But I think we really need to understand how short and fast life is. Because if we truly understood, we wouldn’t be sitting around waiting for something to happen. We’d get up and do something instead.
And that’s my goal for this year (one of the many). I still think I need to wait on some things because those things are up to God, but on the rest of my life, the areas where I’ve just been dragging my feet, I have to stop. Because life is short.
Today’s verse is Psalm 90:12.
12 Teach us to realize the brevity of life,
      so that we may grow in wisdom.
I find it ironic that we have to be taught the brevity of life. No one can convince you that life is short until you realize it yourself. No one can make you live an intentional life. That’s up to you. And unfortunately, it’s something you have to learn for yourself.
Life is short.
And I have a lot to do. So I’m going to get busy. And not just being busy for busyness. That was 2011. And 2011 is over and done. 2012 will be different, and 2013 is only a year away (if the world doesn’t end on December 21, that is). I’m going to get busy being intentional with my time and my efforts and my gifts because I’m not going to live here forever and as long as I’m alive I want to focus on what really matters — and that’s reaching out to people with the truth (believers and non-believers) that Christ is the only way to have a relationship with God and that God is everything we need.
I’m not old. But I have learned how short life is. And I have witnessed first hand how fast time flies. So I want to make the most of the life God has given me the best way I know I how, and I’m going to trust that He’ll take care of the details. That’s what He does, after all.
So Happy New Year, everyone. May 2012 bring joy and peace, even if it doesn’t bring happiness or smooth sailing. And let’s all get busy and focus on the things that matter because sooner than we think, the things that matter will be all we have. And everything we think is important will fade away.