Lately, I have had a growing awareness — sometimes troubling — about how quickly time is passing by and how I feel about that. This summer, I’ll turn 44. My Dad lived just beyond his 45th birthday. As a boy, I remember that vividly. And now, as a man, I am nearly there.
- The Bible says: “For we were born but yesterday … Our days on earth are as transient as a shadow.” (Job 8:9)
- David prayed: “Lord, help me to realize how brief my time on earth will be. Help me to know that I am here for but a moment more.” (Psalm 39: 4)
- And Don Henley said in one of his songs, “you wake up one morning … and half your life is gone.”
Well, if my dad’s lifespan is the measuring stick, then I’m way past the halfway point. And, as a result, I find myself thinking more and more what I haven’t done. Or, more honestly, what I haven’t done well.
I have unrealized goals for my family, marriage, career, and ministry. And I’d like to make more progress towards those goals before my time here is up. In this regard, I feel like I’m in a race. In each of these areas, I regularly face challenges which are beyond my own strength, skills and abilities. The race seems to be combined with an obstacle course, leaving me out of breath and unsure of the best way to achieve my goals.
A New Perspective
At the suggestion of a good friend, I am re-reading Rick Warren’s Purpose-Driven Life. As a result. I’m working to see these time pressures & challenges from a different perspective. I’ve begun taking a longer-term [read: eternal] perspective on what is really important — and I am building toward that.
For example, I’d lost perspective on the challenges of life as part of a long-term character building exercise — not an obstacle course. When I didn’t have the answer, I had been throwing my hands up in the air and walking away. Now, I’m starting to ask for help .. at work, around the house, and with the more variable and valuable challenges of parenting.
In addition, I previously had been focused on urgency and a growing list of “to-dos,” rather than prioritizing and focusing on what is most important. I am using the Bible verses that I opened with as a point of reference, replacing my fear-driven motivation about running a race with an eternal perspective. We’re saying no to good things in our family in order to focus on and build Godly character:
- We’ve walked away from youth soccer mid-season and a martial arts belt test (both *after* we paid … ugh).
- We’ve turned down tempting opportunities for extra income.
I’d love to tell you that things are settled down and worked out. But neither of us would be convinced. I’ll probably soon lose perspective again, and get caught up in the lie that increasing the speed of life somehow improves its quality or long-term impact.
In the meantime, I have some more work to do in my men’s group and the rest of Rick Warren’s book to re-read. And now I have enough time to do them both. To me, those are important and they keep my focused on the eternal perspective I often forget.
- So, when you’re running on empty, how do you focus on things with eternal impact?
- Any suggestions on keeping an eternal perspective as you grow older?
– By Jason Bachman
Jason completed his initial Crucible weekend in 2010. He has staffed and volunteered at The Crucible Project ever since. His mission is to create a world of authentic community where people speak the truth and accept each other. Jason works as a solution consultant for a global firm, and lives in the Chicago suburbs.
Photo Credit: Phil Gladys via Creative Commons