The other night my husband and I were watching an old re-run of Johnny Carson. For those of you who are of a different generation than me – Johnny Carson was the Jimmy Fallon of my generation. He had a warm demeanor and quick sense of humor and almost every night we used to go to bed with Johnny. (Kind of a clever line don’t you think? heh! heh!)
Each Tonight Show re-run displays the date when the show was aired on the bottom of the screen. It’s like going back in time listening to Johnny’s monologue as he talks about the current events and the major “happenings” at that particular moment in time. During the last show we watched my husband commented, “That show was 3 days before my 25th birthday”. We both kind of looked at each other in amazement realizing how quickly 33 more years had passed since that day long ago.
I remember when I was young getting kind of annoyed when older people would constantly tell me how fast life goes. When you are in the midst of raising babies, toddlers, and teens, a day can seem like an eternity. Now as I find myself in the position of the older person I am going to take the risk of annoying you by telling you that it really does go fast.
Sorry about that.
It is true that life passes quickly. The trick is to figure out how to make the most of our days while we still have them. How does one navigate through the fast paced, ever changing culture and do it well? How do we give to others, work, raise a family, support our spouse, take care of ourselves, and live for the Lord? How do we live life well so that we have few regrets after it has slipped through our fingers?
Most of you who read my blog are younger than me – by a lot. I don’t have as much time as you do. Much of my life has passed. Here is the deal. Once our lives pass we cannot change anything. We cannot undo what has been done. We cannot erase our errors. Those of you who are young have more time to get it right.
In order to live life right we need to understand that life is designed to prepare us for Heaven. It’s kind of like a dress rehearsal before the show. Life is not designed for us. We are designed for God. Life is designed for our sanctification. That’s kind of a vague Christiany word – what exactly does it mean? Here is the best definition I could find when I googled it.
In the spiritual sense of a believer’s life, sanctification means “to be set apart for God,” or to be made more holy through conforming to the image of His Son. Sanctification is a work of God’s grace. The whole person is enabled to die to sin and live according to God’s will.
The way to live life right is to become more Jesus. That’s kind of a tough pill to swallow isn’t it? I mean, seriously …we’ve got a lot going on and we need to have some fun don’t we? Yes – unequivocally, YES. God desires that we would have abundant and joy-filled lives. But here’s the deal. IF you want joy, IF you want good relationships, IF you want freedom, IF you need some peace, and IF you want to live your life well…it will only come by the Lord’s hand in your life.
God’s calling on our lives is bigger than we can imagine. It goes beyond this life and into eternity. The life we live on earth is a teensy weensy part of our life eternal. How we live life during our “dress rehearsal” has a tremendous impact on eternity. Eternity is the real show – life is our preparation for the “show”. Much of life is about how we choose to respond to our daily trials, challenges, frustrations, and heartaches. Our responses matter to God.
I have recently been in contact with two women who have some serious heartaches and concerns in their life and I noticed something that they both have in common. Even though they have some life shattering things going on, they each have an inherent optimism about them. They laugh, they encourage, they are fun and interesting, and they speak of the hope they have in the Lord in spite of their circumstances. They are two of the most joyful women I have ever met in my life.
How do they do it? They seem like they have figured out how to do life right. I cannot say that I lived my life as right as I could have. If I could save you from any of my mistakes I would give you two pieces of advice.
#1 – Humble yourself before the Lord. Jesus bought us at a price and we are His. Humbling ourselves means making Him ours. It is when we make room for Him in our lives. It’s a call to higher things and to follow His ways. Humbling yourself before the Lord requires trust…I wish I had trusted Him more instead of taking things into my own hands. It is letting go of the things of this life and looking to Him to fulfill His higher purpose. It is a daily practical application as we learn to live in the empowerment of God’s grace.
#2 – BE humble. Being humble doesn’t mean that we are modest. Being humble simply means that it’s not about me. Being humble means there is no room for self pity or getting our feelings hurt. It means that we don’t always have to be right. It is no longer caring what others think or what is considered status-quo. It means we do not live for the praise of others. Being humble means that instead of thinking about lil’ ole me we are considering someone else’s needs before our own.
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less”
– C.S. Lewis
My husband is convinced that self-centeredness is at the root of most broken relationships. I think he might be right. What if instead of being self-centered we centered ourselves on Christ? Imagine how it might impact our lives and the lives of those around us.
I have learned that when we humble ourself before the Lord He fills us up and enables us to live in that secret place. This is the place where Jesus can fill His desires in our lives. This is the place where we find true joy and peace. And I am learning that when I humble myself before the Lord and stop thinking about me…it’s much, much easier.
There’s still time to get it right.