The Problem With Living Like You’re Dying

This is a conversation that I have had with friends before. While it isn’t quite as common of a trend now, there were a few years where it seemed like every time I turned on the radio there was some song on about “I’m going to live like there’s no tomorrow”.

Now hear me: I am all for making the most out of the opportunities in your life. Someone once told me “You regret the things you don’t do more than the things you actually do”, which I love. By trying new things and actually taking a shot at doing the things we dream about, we open up entire new worlds that we may never have known otherwise.

So really, I think there can be a lot of good that comes out of thinking this way. But this post is just to present a counterpoint to this phenomenon with “YOLO” that has taken over pop culture.

Starting off by just looking at my own life, I am an ENFJ (extrovert), meaning that I enjoy having lots of noise and people around. While most of my friends actually tend to be more introverted, and enjoy solitude as a way to decompress, quiet stresses me out. I find it impossible to drive in the car without music playing and typically always have the TV on in the background if no one else is around. It is actually the first thing I do in the morning when I wake up, just to help keep me awake. This personality type also tends to mean that I like to be busy and involved. I won’t list everything I have taken on; nearly all of it is very enjoyable, but essentially I have a really busy schedule.

So you may be thinking okay…that’s nice, but what does that have to do with the topic here? Well, essentially, it means that I for one am often in this “What haven’t I done today that I might regret later on?” mindset. It’s led to a lot of really positive things in my life, and I am very proud of some of the things I have gotten to accomplish by God’s grace. But just as some people need some motivation to get going, go pursue their dreams, work towards making things better, others may need to slow down a bit.

“Be still, and know that I am God.” -Psalm 46:10

There are times when I literally sit and realize that I have not gotten to spend as much time in the Bible, decompressing, or reflecting as I would like. Typically during the day I am rushing from work, to volunteering, to one activity or another. I am truly thankful that I am so involved, but sometimes it seems like maybe I am trying to take on too much. When I am not occupied by a task, it has gotten to the point where instead of feeling restful, I get anxious and guilty. I feel like I am wasting my time, instead of taking that time and turning it over to God to fill my mind while I am being still.

I do not want to be so “busy serving God” that I am actually blocking out that time to just sit and remember that I do not have complete control, and am not Superwoman.

So while it is great to try new things, give in to change, and fill time in a productive manner, I wish in some ways that we would become a little less obsessed with “making each moment count” and “living like we are going to die tomorrow”.

I confess that in some moments where I might be a little crankier than normal, and I hear celebrities or musicians make statements like that, I think “Well sure, you have millions of dollars. You can just jet off to Italy tomorrow on a moments notice if you feel like it, really live it up. What about the rest of us?!” But that wouldn’t turn out so well because then I would hurt my finger when I jabbed really hard at the radio preset buttons on my dashboard out of frustration.

So really all I am asking for is some encouragement for everyone. That “Hey, you know what? You are doing the best you can. Maybe there are things you can do more of, maybe there are things you need to cut back on. But do not worry if each day doesn’t look like this picture perfect fantasy of accomplishing everything you want to do. Because friend, that takes time, and God’s timing is not immediate. God’s timing is perfect. Perfect is not immediate gratification. Perfect is having the strength to surrender control to a power greater than just you. And if God leads you to have a day where you just need to lay down with a wet cloth on your head while you read a good book because you are so exhausted, well then sometimes we need those days. Because that is life. This roller coaster of moments where you are full of bliss or despair, and moments that are so ordinary it’s beautiful.”

That is all I want to hear once in awhile: that it is okay to just be still, listen, and be quiet before you act. And those things that haven’t happened yet that you want? Work towards them, but realize they might not be just around the corner, and that that’s okay. God is going to be there by your side regardless of whether or not you have made that skydiving trip yet, and if you desire to work for His glory, things larger than you ever would have imagined will happen!

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