Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it. – Isaiah 30:21
I recently completed an online test to determine my life expectancy based on my current levels of health, diet and lifestyle. The results – 91. Not bad. Of course, I’m still working to improve my health, and so I fully expect that number to increase to 123, leaving me many more years to share with the people I love, doing all of the things that God has called me to do.
As I sit here and think about the life I’ve lived and the life still to come, I am struck by the labels we place upon our lives. Infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, our teenage years, college years, child raising years, golden years, our 20’s, 30’s, and so on. This list is incomplete, and the periods are in many ways repetitious and varied. In all of this, I see one thing in common: each label features a length of time that lasts at least a year. In most cases, these periods of time span several years or even decades. It’s funny to me how our “life labels” are by nature so lengthy, because looking at life in such big chunks only disguises the truly important things. We plan the wedding for months, but the act of God joining husband and wife happens in an instant. Set your schedule for the day, only to experience sudden chest pains and watch your life change immediately. Your plan for the rest of today may get thrown out the window before you even finish reading this blog. Simply put, we weren’t made for the long haul. Life is now.
Don’t believe me? Think about it for a moment. You have heard time and time again about the importance of long-term planning for health, finance, career plans and so on. So tell me, how does your retirement grow? Just set the money aside and spend it when you retire? No. Effective planners will tell you that you systematically review your investments to maximize profitability. Career driven people are regularly updating their resume or vitae in preparation for future opportunities. Couples who remain happy together for decades do so because they work at communicating and sharing love daily. Long term success hinges upon short term effort.
Here’s another favorite of mine. Ever meet somebody for breakfast or a morning cup of coffee and hear them tell you that they’re having a bad day? Can they really make that assessment at 9:00 a.m.? Statistically, that’s impossible – you haven’t experienced enough of the day to make that claim. No trophies are awarded for leading lap 6 of the Daytona 500, which is why you couldn’t possibly convince a driver to slow down and concede defeat at that point. Our lives are the same way. Satan and our sinful flesh try to convince us to label and categorize time so that we might overlook the simple interactions that mean the most to us. We race to get to the benefits of the next level of life only to bemoan losing the blessings of the previous levels. So if you’ve had a bad morning, call it that, but look for ways to improve in the afternoon, or the next hour, or for the next five minutes.
Life is about the moment. Take time to consciously live each moment, learning the lessons and completing the tasks that God has placed before you. We should strive to be careful about moving forward too quickly and missing our call. We should be equally careful to not look back with sweeping generalizations that would cheapen the experiences and life lessons God has provided us in preparation for today’s work. And in all things, may we constantly turn to our Father in Heaven to guide us down the path He has prepared for us. God will never move us too quickly nor will He leave us behind. Our life is His, and He loves us in every moment. May we return that love, moment by moment, for the rest of our days.