The following quote is attributed to “Anonymous”:
First I was dying to finish high school and start college. And then I was dying to finish college and start working. And then I was dying to marry and have children to grow old enough so I could return to work. And then I was dying to retire. And now I am dying…..and suddenly I realize I forgot to live.
As I read those words, I almost feel the need to start sorting through my old sermons, blogs, and articles to make sure that I’m not “Anonymous.” Trust me, that sounds exactly like something that I would say. Sometimes it seems like I spend every day of my life dying to get to the next phase.
There are so many personal examples that I could name here, but I’ll go with the sports “career” of my ten-year-old, Royce. Right now I’m coaching his rec. league baseball team. Even though we are only three games into a little ten-game season, I’m already in countdown mode. Of course, we already have the form to sign him up for football this fall. And no sooner will that sport begin than I will want it completed too. Then will come basketball, which will be same song, third verse. On and on it goes.
Honestly, I have to MAKE myself stop and smell the roses concerning Royce’s ballplaying. When he does something good on the field or court, if I’m not careful I’ll let it get washed away by my impatience. That’s something that I CAN’T LET HAPPEN. I must join him in the moment so we can genuinely have it together. If he makes a great play to get the first out for our defense, I can’t be standing in the dugout thinking, “Okay, only two more outs and this inning is over, three more innings and this game is over, and four more games and this season is over.”
But Anonymous and I aren’t the only people who struggle in this area, are we? Could it be that you are on the list too? Be honest, right now are you dying for something to be over? Are you currently spending far too much time wishing this day, this week, this month, this year, or this “season” was over? Do you really think that whatever that next phase is will find you operating any differently? Speaking from personal experience, I doubt it will.
I have a friend who has a very annoying habit. Whenever you are talking with him, he spends most of the time looking over you to see who else he can spot. (By the way, that’s a problem short people like myself don’t have.) Seriously, even as he is in mid-sentence, he rarely makes eye contact with me. Instead his eyes scan the horizon, looking for his next encounter or conversation. Frankly, I always find that incredibly rude, even though I’ve never told him.
But as I think about it, that’s pretty much how I treat God concerning the various seasons of my life. Here He is, wanting me to join Him in enjoying a particular time or moment, but all I can do is be on the lookout for the next thing. He says, “Wait, there are lessons that I want you to learn right here. There are good memories that I want you to make. There is simple pleasure to be found in the here and now.” But my response is simply, “When do we move on, Lord? Out there is where the good stuff is.” Sound familiar? If it does, I want you to do something for me: Go to God in prayer right now and ask Him to help you appreciate each day and each season for all the wonder it holds. I’ll be taking that good advice myself now that I’m finished with this post.