Friday, March 6, 2009

You're Gonna Miss This

This morning, before we signed the final copy of our will, the following song came on the radio, and I couldn’t help but cry. I guess preparing to move away from almost everything I have ever known has made me a little emotional. How does it speak to you?

“You’re Gonna Miss This”
Trace Adkins

She was staring out that window, of that SUV
Complaining, saying "I can't wait to turn 18
She said I'll make my own money, and I'll make my own rules"
Mamma put the car in park out there in front of the school
Then she kissed her head and said "I was just like you"

You're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a godd look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this

Before she knows it she's a brand new bride
In a one-bedroom apartment, and her daddy stops by
He tells her “It's a nice place”
She says “It'll do for now”
Starts talking about babies and buying a house
Daddy shakes his head and says “Baby, just slow down”


Five years later there's a plumber workin' on the water heater
Dog's barkin', phone's ringin'
One kid's cryin', one kid's screamin'
She keeps apologizin'
He says "They don't bother me.
I've got 2 babies of my own.
One's 36, one's 23."
Huh, it's hard to believe, but ...

Sometimes I feel like all I hear is people rushing to the next thing. They can't wait until the weekend, a vacation, until they find the right person to marry, until they have kids, until they graduate or retire or have more money or lose 10 lbs or the kids aren't in diapers or they buy a bigger house...until they go to Africa...
We are letting life pass us by. Well, at least I have been.

Not to be morbid, but what if we die today? In some cultures, that concern is a reality. Maybe our relative safety has spoiled us to the point we are ungrateful and always wanting more. What if Jesus comes back in 10 minutes? Will he be pleased with the priorities I have, reflected in how I spend my time?

Preparing to move to a place even moderately more risky than home has made me think: if I died today, could I really say I have made the best use of my time? No. I am not afraid of the process of death or my destination, but rather that there is so much work yet to do for the Kingdom.

To be perfectly honest, I am currently in the process of learning to accept God's timing, not just in death, but in life. I am not there yet, in case that wasn't obvious.

Preparing to leave for a year is unlike anything I've ever done. I have never gone more than 3 months without seeing my family. We will be without access (or have limited access) to most of the things we take for granted: Milk in every corner gas station, TV, pure water, cars, Wal- mart, our favorite foods, family, friends, our church families, our pets, malls, telephone calls, banks, our wedding rings...I could go on and on.
I am intimidated. But more than that, I am so excited.

I am excited to watch God work. I am excited to run to Him, to learn from Him, to grow closer to Him. Of course, I know the requirements of spiritual growth, and they don't always excite me, but it comes with the territory.

I am so excited, if fact, that I have been all too eager to leave behind the present. I have not valued the present as I should have.

In the study of Positive Psychology (currently an emerging subfield in Psychology), "savoring" is how we describe one's experience of enjoying or delighting in something. There are typically considered to be 3 types of personalities when it comes to savoring, all temporally related: those who savor the past, those who savor the present, and those who savor the future. Of course, all of us enjoy things in all three of these ways, but most people hava a definite propensity toward one category. Take, for example, a vacation. If you find the most enjoyment while thinking about it, planning for it, and imagining what it might be like, you tend to savor the future. If you enjoy the vacation itself most, with little thought to the present or the past, you savor the present. If you love to reminisce about the vacation once it is done, by talking about it or looking at photos or souvniers, you savor the past.

I am definitely in the first category. Not surprising, especially given my tendency toward worry (ugh- working on that, too). In fact, I used to look to the future so much that I would spend an entire vacation taking pictures and journaling, only to not savor the actual experience. Sick, I know.

This song reminded me of my tendency to disreguard the present. For some reason, I always seem to think there is something more important to be preparing for, and I don't want to disappoint anyone. Something more important...but in whose eyes? It has been Josh's and my prayer that we would be able to minister to our family and friends even as we prepare to leave for Africa there. Obviously, we believe God has called us to something important there, something important to Him. But, if those around us can't see the work of Christ in our lives, haven't we missed an opportunity just as significant? How many times have I been "too busy"? What is so important?! Even now, as we are trying to squeeze in all the packing and visiting and arrangements, NONE of that is more important than an opportunity to serve the Lord.

Even knowing this, I fail. I mean, like, everyday.

I've pondered this phenomenon a great deal, but even what I have discerned as possible causation hasn't change my behavior to speak of. It is motivated by fear- that I won't get it all done (because apparently my to-do list has become my priority in life), that I will be unprepared and disappoint someone, that I will choose the wrong way to spend my time. It happens when I allow my view of life to become so narrow that I make decisions based on what I see right in front of me, rather than how God might see it.

It happens when I don't trust in God's promises- that He loves me, cares for me, wants the best for my life, and is in control.

Yeah, this is a lot to have come from a country song.


Kate said...

Your faith is amazing--it was one of the first things I noticed about you in Archery. You absolutely sparkle with it. I just wanted to let you know that you were a big part of my decision to become a Christian, even though we only spent 55 torturous minutes together two days a week. I know you and Josh will be a wonderful blessing to the people in Namibia. Thank you.

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