I’ve heard it said that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something.
I’m not sure how being a mother would be calculated if you factor in nap times, night times of being “on call,” and the fact that every time you turn around your children are at a different stage of life. (As if you could become an expert on unpredictable humans).
But if you took a skill like learning to play the cello, it would mean practicing for 40 hours a week every week for five years.
Trying to Do It All
A few weeks ago, Christopher and I strolled past ice cream and used book shops on our way to Touch of Italy for our anniversary, relishing our kid-free evening. We talked about the dreams we have, from publishing a novel to saving up for a powered paraglider (I’ll let you guess which one was Christopher’s).
It made me wonder how I would feel if none of our dreams happened–or if the pieces of success didn’t bring the fulfillment we thought they would.
If this life is all there is, we only have 80 years to squeeze everything in–if we’re lucky. Our bodies start breaking down, and we might regret not doing more when we had the chance.
As our children grow, we see them as fresh starts and try to live some of our dreams through them, running them from activity to activity in an effort to keep them from being “deprived.”
Or maybe surviving life with little people right now feels suffocating, the minute-by-minute responsibilities turning into weeks and months of setting aside other pursuits.
At times, I’ve fought the feeling that in some undefinable way, I’m missing out.
That if my circumstances were different, I could really be successful.
And then I’ve realized how prideful that is, choosing to live in discontentment rather than trusting God’s good care in the life I have now.
As believers, we don’t have to worry about missing out because Jesus gives hope in the present, marching all the way into eternity.
If we truly believe that we’ve been given the Holy Spirit “as a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance” (Eph. 1:14), and that we have a “new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. . . kept in heaven for you (1 Peter 1:3-4), this present life can always be enough because Jesus was and is enough for us.
We don’t have to prove that we are enough because Jesus’ blood-bought forgiveness and garment of righteousness has already covered us and will cover us until our souls step into resurrected, perfect bodies.
So what do we do with our desires now?
Christopher and I talked about starting a life list, dreams that we would give to God. We realized that the list could be as long and outrageous as we’d like, since we have eternity to finish it.
Death from this life would only mean that we can work at the other things on the list from resurrected bodies that have been made perfect. Because Jesus is coming back to create a New Earth, we will have the chance to keep learning, in a world that has been completely restored.
Just think how many things we will have the chance to become an expert in.
Time is Not Running Out
When we quit feeling that we have to get it all done now, it makes this life so much less stressful.
When we see our lives on this present earth as a tiny dot on the line of eternity, we can rest in the circumstances that our Sovereign and Good Father has us in, and enjoy the people He’s put in front of us.
Because He’s in charge and always will be, we have a sure hope.
Paul says in Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
If we are choosing to look to the God of hope, joy and peace are benefits in the present as well as the future, whether it be our kid’s next milestone or our final destination.
My mentor reminded me that God gives us grace in the present, and we can’t always see what His grace will look like in the future.
Trusting that God is good, loving, and in control, takes effort (strengthened by the Holy Spirit’s power), but the alternative is trusting in myself and forfeiting the gifts of joy and peace He wants to fill us with.
Lifting Our Eyes
Maybe you feel like you’re making little impact on the world. . . look to the God of eternity.
Maybe your marriage doesn’t feel like you imagined it as a little girl. . . look to the God of eternity.
Maybe the cooked rice got thrown to the carpet, smashing down into a sticky mess. . . look to the God of eternity.
When our desire is for Him, He directs our other desires and goals for our life.
Jonathan Edwards put it beautifully:
“God is the highest good of the reasonable creature. The enjoyment of him is our proper; and is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied.
“To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Better than fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of any, or all earthly friends.
“These are but shadows; but the enjoyment of God is the substance.
“These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun.
“These are but streams; but God is the fountain.
“These are but drops, but God is the ocean.”
― Jonathan Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 17: Sermons and Discourses, 1730-1733
The Father has accomplished our salvation and adopted us as His daughters, so we can live lives of gratitude instead of striving for the world’s perception of success, fame, or money.
And as the apostle Peter reminds us to love one another deeply, he also gives us the perspective we need:
“For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For,
“All people are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of the Lord endures forever.” (1 Peter 1:23-25)
Will you surrender the seed of your life to wherever the Father wants to plant you for this season?
Will you invite Jesus into your desires as you let your thoughts be shaped by His enduring Word?
Who is the Father leading you to love deeply today as you look to the hope of eternity?