The Life Your Stuck With


2024 is almost a month old! Did you take some time to reflect on 2023? Or did you just try to bury it and all its memories? Do you have ‘regrets’ things you wish you would have done or people you wish you would have spent more time with? Were there opportunities missed? I’m sure most of us would have to answer yes to at least a couple of those questions.

Perhaps you took some time to hope and think about this year- what you want it to look like this time next year. What are some things you want to see happen this year? What are some things you want to be different this year? Maybe your plans include people you want to spend time with and relationships you want to invest more in.

Sometimes, when it comes to the new year we have grand ideas, but terribly short attention spans. And like our culture our stick-to-it-ness continues to deteriorate. We jump ship the moment we're not happy anymore. We jump ship the moment we're not ecstatic anymore. And we don't stay with stuff long enough to really see significant impact.

We overestimate what we can do in the short-term. And we underestimate what we could do in the long-term and we get stuck! We figure, what’s the use, this is the life I’m stuck with! Instead we need to ask ourselves the question: Who could I be by 2029? If I give it all I got, if I trust the God who made the Heaven and the earth, and who is for me and not against me, who gave me His Son, who gave me His Spirit, who could I be 60 months from now?

To explain what I mean-I went to Paul’s letter to the Romans chapter 13, from the paraphrase “The Message.” “But make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed. We can’t afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! Don’t loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!” Romans 13:11-14

The word picture in just the first few verses is something many if not all of us can identify with: ‘don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day by day obligations- We get so caught up in the day to day, in work, in going to bed and getting up, in doing the same ole thing each day- that we get exhausted and tired- we just don’t feel like doing it anymore, but we don’t know what else we can do. We feel stuck.

Having the long view- 5 years instead of just one- helps us to plan and to discover the direction that God is taking you. If we’re always busy doing, we can’t hear God. If we’re always exhausted and feeling wrung out- we can’t focus on the destination- only the work at hand. God wants us to be looking forward- to be ready for the end of the journey.

Paul wrote, ‘Our time is about over’- the night is almost over- dawn is about to break. We don’t know how long we have. We don’t know if we’ll be here tomorrow let along 5 years from now- so how are you going to use the time you have- in the next 5 years?

Three things I see and that we can apply from this text:

1. Time is not on your side. Paul brought this concept of time up. He said that he doesn't want us to lose track of the time. He wants us to be aware of the time. Your life seems so real right now, doesn't it? You're buying things. You're going. You're driving your F-150 around. You're double-clicking stuff on Instagram. But before you know it, it's all going to vanish into thin air. You will not be on this earth anymore. Time is not on your side. I like how Aristotle put it. He said, "We should measure time in heart throbs," meaning every time your heart beats, it's a gift. And you're not guaranteed it's going to happen again.

2. Future you is simply an exaggerated version of current you. If there's a critical nature to you, if you have a wounded spirit, if you're rushing around to cast judgment on the people around you, well, Jesus put it best. That kind of critical spirit, it will boomerang back on you. You are what you eat. You become like what you watch. And you reap what you sow. So future you? It's not so mysterious. It's current you, exaggerated. But you don’t have to stay stuck that way!

a. The good news is, if you don't like what you're getting, you can change what you're doing. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun.” If you don't like what you've been getting, you need to change what you're doing. You need to make some different decisions. You need to make some different choices. You need to value some different things. What needs to change?

3. Ongoing consistency is much more important than short-term intensity. An ongoing consistency, every time, trumps short-term, flared up intensity. Ongoing, steady, slow, measured consistency allows you to tap into what has been called the most powerful force in the universe, and that is compound interest. Albert Einstein said “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it ... he who doesn't ... pays it.” It’s like a snowball- they begin small, but as you roll them they grow and they grow and they grow. We need to take the first step to change- and continue to add another to get to where we want to go and who we want to become.

Who do you want to be in 5 years? What do you want to accomplish? In your faith? Your finances? Your family, your calling? Are you willing to work? Are you willing to put in the time and effort?

The life you get stuck with is the life you make. So, make it a good one.