It is Well with my Soul BYU Vocal Point

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Birthday Evaluation

Today is my birthday. When you get to be "my age," your birthday becomes less about gifts and parties and more about struggling to comprehend the fact that, Yes, I am really this age! Even my mother was shocked when I told her how old I'm turning this birthday! (And I'm not someone who hides their age; I think that is foolish. I'm now 47...You know the saying, "I've earned every gray hair?" Well, that about says it for me.)

Birthdays can also become about assessing from whence you have come and fixing your sights on where you are going in your life. For me, the real question is not about my "human" accomplishment but about the eternal value of my life. (Human accomplishments seem to have gone out the window a while ago). Of course that is something that is partially hidden in the mystery of God's knowledge and wisdom, but it does shed some illumination on how I am (or should be) spending my time right now. I cannot go to work; or even serve others very much in my church and community. Every time I have tried to take on a position of service in the past couple of years, I've had to bail, due to poor health and hospitalizations.

Yet there ARE some things of eternal worth that I can (and SHOULD be doing). One is, I believe, trying to encourage the readers of my blogs, becoming aware of their struggles as they share them with me, and lifting them up to the Father frequently. Another is to spend time in prayer. This is an area where, at times in my life, it has been a primary focus; and at others, one with which I have struggled. Right now, I confess it is one where I am struggling. I DO pray for people as God brings them to mind; I DO converse with God throughout my day; but I have not had the "success" at intense periods of intercession that I had enjoyed in times past. That had been a source of feelings of failure and some guilt, but I recently read something that caused me to take a different view of this.

I don't even recall where I read this; I know it was in one of the books on prayer that I own, possibly "A Praying Life" by Paul Young, I believe--but the author said that God calls us to periods of intense prayer, and at other times does not. At some times, we are just to grow in our enjoyment of Him and to walk with Him in simple conversation. It may be that this is where I am right now.... I do think though that I should spend more focused times of prayer than I have been, but am not even sure that I have the ability to concentrate that this demands. Maybe I should try typing out my prayers...and then just deleting them, as I've heard one person suggest. Writing has always helped me to focus my thoughts and get them on target...Maybe writing my prayers would help as well?

Anyway, I need to always look at my actions, and assess them with eternal eyes; God's perspective. The time I spend investing in my family--bears eternal weight. The time I invest in the lives of others, encouraging and helping where I can, does also. The time I spend studying God's Word; this too has eternal value...as does my memorization of Scripture.

So you see; even though I cannot go out and earn a living very easily; even though I do not have much contact with people--there ARE things I can do which will affect my relationship with God and thus have eternal value. Actually, I may be blessed by my illnesses because they have set me aside from the distraction and busyness of earning, and instead have allowed me this time to focus on my Father.

What do you see when you look at YOUR life with "eternal eyes"? This is an important question. Take a look and evaluate your lives...even if it's NOT your birthday! It may give you a perspective different from the world's assessment of your life as it has mine.
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