Ornament with my brother's print on it, Haven, KS

Life is too short to waste

Life is short, if you think about it. When you’re young, it seems like it’s going to stretch out forever. I remember thinking 30 was ancient when I was a child, that by the time I was that old I would surely have the answers to everything. Well, 30 has come and gone, not by much, but I’m the first to say that the more I’ve learned in life, the fewer answers I have.

It feels like 2013 has been a year of really dreadful news, yet I am so thankful to be able to continue believing that God is good, all the time, especially when life isn’t. But there are days when I long for home. There are days when I am so tired of this broken world and all the trouble it throws at people I love.

But one thing I have learned in life is that if we are still here, God has a reason for it. We have a purpose, and it’s our responsibility as Christ-followers to make the most of the time we have.

Ornament with my brother's print on it, Haven, KS

Ornament with my brother’s print on it, Haven, KS

Today’s verse is Psalm 90:12.

Teach us to realize the brevity of life,
    so that we may grow in wisdom.

I learned this verse as a child in a different translation, which is a little more specific. That version asks God to teach us “to number our days” or to count our days. What good does that do, you might wonder? I used to. I used to wonder what good that did, to count our days, because we didn’t know how many we had.

But I think that’s the point. Nobody knows how much time they have. It doesn’t matter if you’re old or young or what country you come from or even what religious system you follow. That won’t change how many days you have left to live. There was one really notable example in the Bible, in the Old Testament book of Isaiah, where God prolonged King Hezekiah’s life (Isaiah 38:4-6) by 15 years. But that’s not normal. God doesn’t do that every time you turn around.

Generally speaking, when it’s the end of our lives on earth, it’s the end. And I’m not reneging on what I posted last Monday about looking forward to eternity. I still believe that with all my heart, that we need to be looking forward to the life to come more than we embrace this life. But with so many other aspects of the Christian walk, we have to find the balance between yearning to go home and living life here.

Don’t ever take this life for granted. Not ever. Every morning you wake up is a gift. You didn’t have to wake up today. Many people didn’t. And you’re not promised tomorrow; nobody is. So if you walk out your door today thinking that this life you’re living is something you’ve earned or something that just happened, you’re wrong. And you’re blind.

Every day is a gift, and it’s a gift from God. He’s the one who gives your lungs the strength to keep breathing. He’s the one who gives your brain the ability to keep thinking. Every good thing in our lives is from Him, and it is our responsibility to be good stewards of those gifts.

I’m still learning this. There are days when I waste time. There are days when I focus on myself. There are days when I only care about me and I ignore what He wants me to do. But the one thing I hope I never do is forget who gave me my life. He gave it to me for a reason, with a purpose, and He has me here for some reason. I don’t always know what it is, but He knows. And that’s enough for me.

Time goes so fast. I was talking about it with a lady at the grocery store yesterday. I don’t usually do that, but she was chatty. So I chatted back. (I rarely initiate, but I’ll always reciprocate like the good little introvert I am.) We got to talking about kids, and I never pass up an opportunity to talk about Baby Hoo, who just turned an astonishing six months old last week. I can’t believe that. Wasn’t it yesterday I was standing at Wesley Hospital, staring at her all wrapped up in blankets she couldn’t wait to get out of? Now she’s sitting up and holding her own bottle and making duck lips when she eats mashed-up mango.

Blink, and it’s gone. And if you aren’t paying attention, you’ll miss it. You have today. You might have tomorrow. That’s what it means to number your days. And when you can look at life like that, you’ll have wisdom, real wisdom, because you’ll understand how short life is. Don’t waste it.

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.