This month I will celebrate a monumental birthday. I will turn forty. As many people do, I first struggled with the mark of a new decade. It seems like birthdays that end with a zero are not much fun after twenty.
As I contemplated this birthday, I began to look back over the last decade to think through all the things that took place during my thirties. Here are ten events that took place over the last decade:
- Two of our children were born (what blessings!)
- I made a career transition and became a pastor (big move)
- We bought our first dog (life is now complete)
- I earned a Master’s degree (debt-free, praise God!)
- I had heart surgery (glad that’s over!)
- I wrote and published my first book, Born to Grow (have you read it yet?)
- I appeared on National Television (Watch Here!)
- I wrote a second book, Good Father (not yet published, stay tuned!)
- We bought a new home (God you have been good to us!)
- I became a landlord (some people think I’m crazy…maybe.)
As I look back over the past ten years, two things come to mind. First, I see the faithfulness of God throughout my life. Father has been with me and has guided my steps along the journey of life and provided for my every need and beyond. Therefore, instead of sulking about getting older, I will celebrate the goodness of God in my life and give him praise.
Second, I realize that so much can change in a period of ten years. It made me start to ask myself this question. “What would happen if I became even more intentional and focused in how I spend my time?” I began thinking of my life in ten year increments. Instead of bemoaning the turning 40, I am challenging myself to think more strategically.
- “What would I like to accomplish in the next ten years?”
- “Who are the people I want to invest more time in relationship with over the next decade?”
- “What type of person do I want to become and what areas of my life do I need to start working on?”
- “What would life look like ten years from now if I applied myself to one singular God glorifying task or goal?”
At times, Christians may be hesitant about thinking too far into the future. We know that we are to live for our “daily bread” and that we cannot control the circumstances of our future. As James said, “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (James 4:14)
What I am not suggesting is that we try to be “the masters of our own destiny” or that we plan our lives down to the nitty gritty details. As a former neighbor once told me, “If you want to make God laugh, just tell him your plan.”
Instead, I am suggesting that we spend more time thinking through the resources, passions, gifts and talents the Lord has given us and apply those in a concerted effort to a goal or dream.
In so doing, we must also become more diligent in eliminating activities that are only wasting our time. Do you realize that in a ten year span, most Americans spend well over a year of that time watching television? I guarantee, we will not look back ten years from now and think, “Wow! I’m glad I watched so much TV!”
My encouragement to you, no matter how old or young you may be, is to prayerfully consider the next one, five or ten years ahead and ask God what He would like you to work on. Then, diligently apply yourself to accomplishing that goal in the strength of the Lord.
Let’s honor God with our lives by “making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:16, ESV)