Today I'm 30!
What a crazy journey it has been so far! Many highs and many lows. Many successes and many failures. I now have two beautiful baby girls Rylynn and Paisley. And of course my beautiful bride - Crystal. But as the dust settles on these numbers... 3-0, I feel like, with God’s help, I’m just starting to get life into proper perspective.
My personality is one of an observer. I quietly watch people. Constantly. Creepy, right? I literally watched people PROFESSIONALLY for seven years employed by retailers… I caught shoplifters.
But as I watch us, and see how we live in our modern world, I’m concerned. I see how easy it is to give our short lives in devotion to so many of the wrong things. I’ve certainly seen it in myself and many others. Whether it is a pursuit of wealth, career, status, or the ever-exhausting “opportunity”, it is challenging to keep our devotion FOCUSED on the things that truly matter.
Wealth, career, status, opportunity, and the like, all have this great ability to mask themselves in what are seemingly good things; “financial security”, “job security”, or “career advancement”. So we trick ourselves into thinking we are doing noble things for our future. But the danger is that those “noble” things will silently lure us into many awful realities when left unchecked;
- Working 70 hours a week and placing great strain on the family unit
- Foregoing vacations with our family for years on end
- Leaving little to no room for personal faith and personal growth
- No sabbath day of rest
- Spending way too much time and money chasing fruitless ventures
- Allowing stress and the demands of work to guide how you live
And that’s just a short list of my own failings. You certainly have your own you can add.
We convince ourselves that these harsh realities of “today” are okay for a season, in hopes that tomorrow will be different. We are comforted by the fact that so many of us are in the same boat, but we fail to see that boat is heading for a 500ft waterfall.
So, what if this utopian tomorrow we are committing our lives to doesn’t ever arrive? What if the life we’ve spent way too much time imagining just seems to keep pushing off into the distance? Are we able to sustain living like this for years on end? Burnout is a very real possibility operating under the pressure of a “perfect” tomorrow. I’ve been very close to total burnout.
We seem to fall in love with what could happen in our idea of tomorrow instead of realizing and appreciating the gifts God has blessed us with today. We continuously trade our “now” for “tomorrow”. And what a devastating trade that can be when you arrive at the end and realize you never truly lived in any moment.
Our days are numbered, folks. We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow. Continually exchanging the hope of tomorrow for the reality of today will not pay off in the long run. Because eventually in the endless chase for “tomorrow” you run out of “todays”.
At times, I’ve stupidly prioritized career over family, opportunity over faith, and tomorrow over today. I’ve been there. I’m still fighting it. I’m among the top offenders.
But God has been waking me up from a work-induced coma.
One major jolt from my life defibrillator came when I was somehow watching Rylynn smash her cake at her first birthday. How did we get her so fast? Life seemed to be flying right by me. How can I slow it down? She had teeth, smiled, and could say “daddy”. Where had I been? I was “here” but still somehow missed it.
You hear this same story over and over from people in all walks of life. But for some reason I feel like so many of us refuse to make a change and take charge over our time again. We keep filling our schedules and keep grinding it out with things that are ultimately fleeting. And if we refuse to make a change, life will continue to feel like it is just passing us by.
I don’t know about you. But I want to get on the train where my life is already headed. I don’t want to stand by and wave as it passes by.
I have been blessed with a beautiful family to love… right now. I have a Savior who loves me, even as broken as I can be. What more could I want? I’m done chasing things that will never love me back.
Career, money, accolades, awards, houses, cars, hobbies, etc... they will never love you back.
I still have great hope for what God is doing in my tomorrow and I will certainly continue to work hard to build a future for my family. But with perspective, purpose, and intentionality this time.
I will love my wife as Christ loved the church and try to be a great father to my girls and bringing them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. And I will gladly lay down my life for my family, including giving up career "opportunities". Because when I lay on my deathbed, those “opportunities” aren’t going to be standing there comforting me as I pass into the next life.
It may have taken all 30 years thus far to arrive here, but I’m thankful it was now and not another year later.
Don’t waste every “today” trying to reach an unreachable “paradise” of tomorrow, or you will never live a single day in your life. God has given all of us so much to be thankful for… right now. Don’t miss the opportunity you have every single day to count your blessings. Don’t get distracted endlessly pursuing the one thing you don’t yet have. God has been so faithful and good to all of us. It just takes living in today and living in the moment to see it, realize it, and thank Him for it.