Sunday, July 28, 2013

Making the Most of Our Time

At church this morning we finished up a series on the "Marks of a Growing Disciple". One of them we talked about today was making the most of the time that God has given us. Given this last week, mourning the death of a 23 year old young woman, this struck me particularly hard. None of us knows how many days or years we have here on earth... I have watched friends say good-bye to their children at the age of 3, at the age of 16... I have mourned with friends who have lost their spouse who was close to my age, I said good-bye to my Daddy just shy of his 57th birthday. I don't understand why some die so young, I don't understand a parent having to bury their child, a mother leaving behind a loving husband and two young boys... but I trust God implicitly and know that He knows all of our days. 

We spend about one-third of our time at work. This really hit me - I thought...

  • "How do I spend my time at work?"
  • "Do I glorify the Lord in what I do?"
  • "Do I honor God in my words, my actions, my attitude?"
  • "Do I work as if Jesus is standing right next to my desk? Because in reality He is right there with me."
My heart, my mind, my attitude will be different tomorrow morning when I go into work. I want my life to count for Him and I'm spending one-third of my time there so if I am not using that time for Him I am wasting one-third of my life.

I have struggled lately with how I am spending my "free" time... feeling like I am spending too much time on myself and my healing process that I am going through. However, something my pastor said this morning resonated exactly with something my counselor and I have talked about. God doesn't want me to waste my pain. I could spend all day questioning God about why I have been dealt the hand I have -

  • "Why did I have to suffer sexual abuse as a child?"
  • "Why did I have to suffer emotional abuse from a mother who really didn't know how to be a mom?"
  • "Why did I have to lose my Daddy at such a young age?"
  • "Why did my fiancĂ© walk out of my life with no explanation?"
  • "Why did my former church treat me so poorly and refuse reconciliation despite my persistent requests?"
I could spend all day asking "Why?" Or, I could continue my process of healing and grieving and counseling and realize that all I've been through has made me who I am today. I might not have the compassion, love, and empathy for others if I hadn't been through so much myself. So even though right now I am having to take the time to process and heal - God is still using me. I am able to pray with more empathy, I am able to encourage others, God has taken the pain in my life and is able to use it for His good and glory. What I am doing right now, ministry-wise may not look the same as what others may be doing. It might not be taking the same amount of time and pouring it into others - but God is using me nonetheless. He has given me a love of writing and if my openness and sharing about my journey can encourage someone else then I consider that an amazing thing.

I listened to part of Pastor Rick Warren's message today - his first since mental illness took his youngest son Mathew 16 weeks ago. My heart bleeds for them, but I am so amazed at how God has used it to reach others for the Kingdom. Pastor Rick and his wife and family have been so transparent through their grief process and are helping others now - he's doing a series on stages we go through after a major loss. We live in a fallen world and loss happens all around us - Pastor Rick can reach so many people and help so many through his messages on this.

There have been times I have thought I am too broken for God to use, but He is showing me that whatever has happened in my life - no matter how broken I might be, He can, and will use it all for His good. He can make beauty out of ashes and use your life for amazing things. 

I don't know how many days I have on this earth... only God knows that. I could go to bed tonight and not wake up in the morning. I could drive to work tomorrow morning and get t-boned by a semi and die, I could be diagnosed with un-treatable cancer... I just don't know... I could live to be 110... God knows and that's enough. My responsibility is simple - live each day for Him. Don't waste my time, don't waste the pain. Let God use me how He wants to... be open to what He wants me to do. 

Seeking to Make the Most of Every Moment,


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