DL Moody said that our greatest fear should not be of failing, but of succeeding in all the things that really don’t matter.
I’m going to confess; this fear cripples me. If I’m not watching closely, the anxiety of this fear can push me into making awful, dumb choices…or to stop doing anything at all and prefer hiding out at my house, busying myself with cleaning behind my fridge or something else as important. Often, I am haunted by the thought that I may trade in any care about eternity and all these souls walking past me in the grocery store for a safe, happy life with great home décor and a yard of grass that isn’t dying or needing to be cut…again.
Do you ever feel that press deep inside of you, whispering “hurry, hurry”? When all you want to do is sit and bemoan how fast time has gone by and how big those kids have gotten or how much the world has changed since the invention of iphones, but deep in the pit of your stomach, you know just how little time we all have left here? And women older and more experienced in life than me, often nod their head in acknowledgment of my passion and youth, insisting that it’s part of the joy of younger years, but also insisting that it’ll fade. It often makes you feel like you’re on the Titanic and no one will believe you that you’re all going down and though there are enough lifeboats this time, no one will tell the people down below that we’re sinking OR about the lifeboats!
“Oh Lord, don’t let me be tricked into believing that all I must do is take care of me and mine, and you’ll be pleased. Don’t let me trade the definition of success from risky and effective for your Kingdom to safe and stable, well-educated and salaried. Please don’t let me stand in my yard, caring more about the shade of green of my well-watered lawn than about the neighbor on the other side of the fence. Please don’t let me get distracted by prices and lists so that the people at the grocery store blend into busy instead of standing out as imperative.”
He won’t mess with free will. It’s one of the most wonderful, most horrible parts of this broken world. We love him freely, but just as freely turn away. I do. Daily. Sometimes, by the minute. My life is a circle, and if it wasn’t so danged detrimental for all the others around me and myself, it’d almost look like a dance. Me, twirling around, swaying back and forth with my head leaning this way and that, sometimes pulled in close to him, sometimes reaching out away, for my iphone or a mirror or whatever else I can use to make me feel like something…like someone. Without him. But we’re running out of time, and so are all the people around us. Statistics say it’ll be longer, but the reality is that if I get to live as long as my dad did, I have less than 19 years left. But I’m not promised that. I’m not promised tomorrow. But if I get to live 19 more years, that’s not long. 19 years ago, I was 11…that was just yesterday, ask my mom. Ask any mom. We know how time passes. And so often, in so many ways, I wish I could go back and have another chance. Maybe I wouldn’t have made so many mistakes, said so many hurtful things, made so many idiotic choices…maybe I could have been kinder, less self-righteous, more grace giving. There are so many things I have said over the last 19 years that I pray so hard no one remembers…
A friend read a question written in her study Bible aloud yesterday morning in my kitchen that has had me thinking of almost nothing else since. “If Jesus gave you a nickname, what would it be?” I know what it could have been all through my past, geez…not even far past, but last night. ..but luckily for us, and Peter and Abraham and all the others, he wouldn’t nickname us what we are and have been, but what we could be, will be with him. Rock. Father of Many. What would I be? What could I be? I hope it would be something about how much I love and look forward to seeing him…something about passion or justice and his glory. just nothing that has anything to do with what I am and would be left alone to myself.
So what does it all mean for us? Maybe we should talk to the stranger. Ask the question. Offer the forgiveness or ask for it. Form a relationship. Do whatever risk that could be uncomfortable and awkward for a minute, because eternity is on the line. It’s real. Heaven and what will be there. My dad is already there now…he has a job and purpose…probably something to do with water. I know of so many who have gone there just this year alone. The new earth will be filled with art and architecture. Nature, music, food. There will be cooking and building. Writing and painting. Organizing…oh, Lord, let there be organizing…you are the God of order, after all. But it’s real. And we need to live like it is.
All this to ask, “help me?” Don’t let me become complacent. Don’t let me trade in now for forever. Join me. Let your passion and zeal rub off and fan the flames that so easily begin to die out to barely warm embers. I’ve written on my big girls’ chalkboard, “Have fire in your soul and grace in your heart.” Part of the reason is so that they live that way themselves, but also? I need them in my life, on fire for God and his people, but loving his people hard and him harder. I need that reminder as the years tick on and these random aches of thirty turn into longer, lingering aches of 70 and 80 and all I want to do is what I want to do, I’m already there now. God is real, heaven is real, and that means something right now.