“Live the life that unfolds before you” — the prophet character in Jonathan Rogers’ Bark of the Bog Owl exhorts the protagonist with this phrase four times in two pages and I felt like he was speaking to me. I was out of town for a guest teaching gig and finding myself distracted by the days ahead, things that needed to be planned, potential opportunities, and hypotheticals that are better left unexplored.
I’m reminded that all I have is the current moment in which my physical body finds itself within time and space. This present is meant to be lived in; to be stewarded well.
As Tim Willard writes in The Beauty Chasers (highly recommended read btw) “I realized”… “that for much of my life, I’d looked ahead to the next thing instead of being in the moment. True life, I discovered, is recognizing the moment of glory when you’re standing smack-dab in it. Don’t look ahead. Be here, now. See this moment for what it is…”
It’s a lesson that I’m reminded of every few years.
In my enthusiasm to live fully and steward my time on earth well, perhaps I’ve reduced life to a series of events deemed worthy societal accomplishments + personal bucket list items.
It’s easy to see life as a to-do list and it feels good to check off those boxes. Or even to see myself as a princess warrior charging the hill of life’s challenges determined to slay the dragons in my way.
But maybe life is not meant to be conquered. Maybe it’s simply meant to be lived.
Because eventually the adrenaline high will wear off, the memory will be pegged, the resume updated, and the cycle will start over.
These ambitions are not bad in and of themselves, yet when I race from one to the next, I find myself missing the process. What if I chose to linger in the moment instead of seeing the task at hand as simply a means to an end?
Hebrews 12 exhorts us to run this race with endurance. Endurance requires patience; it’s not just a series of little sprints from one thing to the next. These little goals are the pathway of faithfulness, by which we bring God glory, as we fix our eyes on Jesus.
May we live this life that unfolds before us —resisting the what-ifs — seeing, savoring, and trusting that our times are in His hands. We’re exactly where He needs us to be.
May we persevere towards our destinations with determined intention yet not at the expense of missing the landscape and love along the way. Let us seek the beauty in the in-between and savor the journey of this life adventure; that at the end we might hear “well done, good and faithful servant.”