What I Have Learned

A few blogs ago I posted the following:

“in a few months my wife and I will celebrate 5 happy years of marriage. I’m not sure how that ranks with the rest of the world but I figure 5 happy years out of 29 years of marriage isn’t bad.”

If you want to know what that was all about click here. What I forgot to say was, there is another anniversary before our wedding anniversary. This week I celebrated the 30th anniversary of my 20th birthday. Celebrated may be a little misleading, it’s more like mourned the loss of my youth. Well that’s not it exactly, I lost my youth a long time ago. I guess the best way to put it is, I celebrated the fact that I am old enough to be asked for advice and mourned the fact that I am old enough to be asked for advice.

One day I was in my forties and the next day I was… ah-well-um… one day older. Yah that’s it.

It always amazes me that we celebrate milestones as if the time spent before and after is trivial. I didn’t turn 50, I became 1 day older than I was yesterday. My health did not suddenly change nor was my face impacted differently by gravity. I may have lost a few hairs between the last day I was 49 and the first day I was 50, but I’ve done that every day of my life (in the last 15 years I lost a few more than I grew back). Has anything really changed in one day? Not really, although it is important to make it seem like something is different, that way people give you presents and cake. When you think about it we really do make a lot of fuss over the person who has managed to live one more day and say very little about the woman who carried them for 9 months in their belly, went through hours of labour and countless sleepless nights all to make this birthday possible.

Life should not be measured counting years but instead it should be measured by calculating distance.

If I didn’t own a mirror I would have no concept of what time has done to my appearance. If I hadn’t experienced the effects of chronic illness I would have no concept of what time has done to my health. I still plan as if I was 20 in both looks and health. It only takes one glance at a reflective surface or one minute of strenuous activity to propel me forward in time to my current age. One day past your prime is disheartening, 30 years is downright depressing. Other than getting presents for my birthday, renewing my licence by my birthday and getting medically necessary, preventative testing around certain birthdays, I am no longer counting my age in years, no longer calculating milestones based on the day I popped out (my mother probably wishes it was that easy). Instead, I need to calculate the distance I have travelled from the time I became aware that I needed God, to now.

Milestones that mark the path of a maturing Christ follower.

  1. Accept God knows and I don’t.
  2. Think you have it all figured out.
  3. Discover something about God that just blows your mind.
  4. Think you have it all figured out.
  5. Discover and adopt a new doctrine.
  6. Think you have it all figured out.
  7. Discover more to that doctrine.
  8. Think you have it all figured out.
  9. Refine that doctrine.
  10. Think you have it all figured out.
  11. Discover and adopt a replacement doctrine.
  12. Think you have it all figured out.
  13. Have a personal supernatural experience.
  14. Think you have it all figured out.
  15. Try to reproduce that supernatural experience.
  16. Think you have it all figured out.
  17. Develop a doctrine around your supernatural experience.
  18. Think you have it all figured out.
  19. Throw out that doctrine and replace it with a new one.
  20. Think you have it all figured out.
  21. Get actively involved in a mission or church cause.
  22. Think you have it all figured out.
  23. Wonder why others don’t share your passion.
  24. Think you have it all figured out.
  25. Develop a legalistic point of view based on your doctrine and service.
  26. Think you have it all figured out.

 

Progressing from salvation toward maturity is halted by the times we think we have it all figured out.

I wish I was young again because when I was young I knew everything! For some this sounds like an accurate way to describe the change in memory that takes place as we age. For others it’s a way of saying young people are disrespectful know-it-alls. For me it’s a reminder that I have had it all figured out so many times only to have God show up and gently, often with a sledgehammer, remind me I’m not even close and never will be this side of eternity. My brain is too small to comprehend God’s ways. My sinful weaknesses are too strong for me to formulate the Godly response for every situation. My emotions are too corruptible and my pride too extensive to allow me to show Godly grace and mercy all the time. I guess the best way to put it is I have travelled a great distance and still haven’t arrived at the place God wants me to be. Sadly, where God wants me to be is right where I started out in the first place – accepting that God knows and I don’t.

 

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. Isaiah 55:8 (NIV)

8 comments

  1. I really enjoyed this post. It made me chuckle actually. Somehow I’ve managed, in a short amount of time, to figure out that I’ll never have it all figured out. Accepting that, and the fact that #15 wasn’t working no matter how hard I “tried” (reproducing the experience) allowed me to embrace the word “rest”. That’s how it seems anyway. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There could have been a number 27-1000 but the even numbers would always be “Think you have it all figured out” I figure even though I know that I will never have it all figured out, I will hit the 60th aniversary of my 20th birthday and still keep thinking finally I have it all figured out – can’t wait until heaven when all will be revealed then I will find out just how wrong I have been

      Liked by 1 person

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