life doesn’t have to pass you by

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Do you ever feel like you’re missing out on your life?

My son is 4 (almost 5, Mom!) and is starting to obsess over time. “How many minutes until Daddy comes home?” “How much time do I need to sleep?” “How long will you be gone?” It sounds cute in a blog post, but guys – it drives me up the wall. He doesn’t actually understand how time works yet, so my answers are never sufficient.

I’ve always tried to give my kids time warnings on when we need to leave fun places… count it down so they aren’t shocked and don’t cause a scene (because, that totally works. LOL.) It’s no wonder he doesn’t understand time, because all parents know that five minutes never actually means five minutes, and neither does two or one or any other time I announce. It’s all relative, and I’m afraid he might be catching on.

The problem is that sometimes, when I tell him five more minutes, he just obsesses and worries about the time instead of using up the time he has left. He argues with me about having more time, and asks every thirty seconds how much more time is left. And I’m constantly telling him, “Dude, you’re gonna miss your chance. Don’t waste your last five minutes complaining – Go play!” I didn’t even realize I said this until they started saying it to each other when they want to convince the other to do something. “You’re gonna miss your chance!”

I’ve started asking myself if his obsession with time is just a kid thing, if he got it from me – or if the world just teaches us that we’re always missing out.

We all worry about how much time we have left. We spend time planning, working, obsessing over the next thing instead of enjoying where we are right now. We wish our younger years away, and then when we’re older we hold onto regret.

Is it just me?

I have a hard time sometimes just sitting down and actually enjoying where I am – because I have to think about what’s coming next. I worry and plan and schedule and before you know it, I’ve missed out. I’ve missed out on quality time with my family, or I’ve wasted an hour by myself scrolling through social media, and just like that – the time is up.

I don’t believe God holds moments in time for us, and if for some reason we “miss it”, we’re doomed. That’s not the God I know. The phrase “missing your chance” was not invented by God. He’s the God who creates moments and carries and sustains us. He’s the God who invented things like joy and sunsets and the beach and iced coffee and everything else we enjoy. His plans are far too big for us to simply drive by, as if His one major purpose for our life is like an exit off of a major highway. That is not the heart of God.

BUT – our time here is short and precious. Here today, and gone tomorrow. We do have a choice how we live it out.

It’s a wild balance – living with God. He gave us this life and wants us to enjoy it. But He also reminds us that “We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing.” Psalm 39:6

So what do we do with it? As we work, take care of our families, volunteer, do the dishes, try to stay healthy, try to be kind to people, get enough sleep, make time for God and others… I don’t want to get caught up in my busyness and miss my chance to be present in my own life.

There is an actual, straight-up answer in the Bible for this dilemma. The way Paul lays it out makes it feel like I’ve been sitting down to coffee with him, spilling my guts about how I’m busy and overwhelmed and I don’t know how to be present. And he listens, and nods, and finally responds with:

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”                     Romans 12:1-2 msg

Want to be present in your own life? Want to see your life as God sees it? Miraculous, meaningful, blessed, full of purpose? Fix your attention on God.

Anxious about tonight, tomorrow, next week? Fix your attention on God.

Your world is requiring more than you can give? Fix your attention on God.

You’ve lost who you are, and feel like you’re missing it? Fix your attention on God.

People driving you crazy? Fix your attention on God.

Falling deeper into hopelessness? Fix your attention on God.

He’ll bring out the best in you. He’ll change you from the inside out. He wants you to live your life even more than you do.

Lay it down before Him as an offering. You are His to begin with. Fix your eyes on Him, listen as He speaks, and respond. It’s sure harder than this step-by-step makes it seem, but if we could lean into the truth that everything in our lives are for His glory and not our own – the pressure is off. He is faithful, and He is for you.

I have come so that they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they have ever dreamed of.”                                                                                                     John 10:10 msg

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