To everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1, N.L.T.)
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, blog posts, and newspaper articles to make sure that I’m not “Anonymous.” Trust me, that sounds exactly like something that I would say or write. 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 “careers” of my two sons, Ryan and Royce. Every time I coached one of their rec. league teams, I could hardly wait for the season to be finished because I knew just how much time, energy, work, stress, and aggravation would be required by that season. Consequently, usually from about game two, I was in countdown mode. Of course, even as I was in that mode, I already knew that the next seasonal sport and its schedule was looming on the horizon. And shortly after that sport began, I’d want it completed, too. Then would come the next sport, which would be the same song, third verse. On and on it went like that, as the boys played baseball in the spring and summer, soccer and football in the fall, and basketball in the winter.
Honestly, I had to MAKE myself stop and smell the roses concerning their ballplaying. When they did something good on the field or court, I couldn’t let that shining moment get washed away by my impatience. No, I needed to join them in those moments so we could genuinely enjoy them together. For example, if either son made a great play to get the first out for our defense in a game of baseball, I couldn’t be standing in the dugout thinking, “Okay, only two more outs until this inning is over, three more innings until this game is over, and four more games until 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 that 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. 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.
As I think about my own life, though, 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 and good memories that I want you to make in this place.” 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. And as for me, I’ll be attempting to take that excellent advice myself now that I’m finished writing this post. That’s the plan, anyway. As for how successful I am at accomplishing it, well, I guess we’ll just have to see how things go.