What do you think will make you feel satisfied with your life? Get married young, have enough kids (but not too many), have a Pinterest worthy house, grow your career (living a well-balanced life, of course), and have a great retirement? Go to college, develop your skills, try new things, give to charity, have nice stuff, follow all of your dreams, be financially prosperous, stay in shape, take time for yourself, don't be selfish, spend lots of time with God, and don't be stressed, for crying out loud!
It's a lot, isn't it?
For most of my life, I was terrified of wasting time. When I felt like I hadn't spent time well I would be absolutely crushed, and I struggled to forgive myself for any mistakes I made. At times, the fear of failure and perfectionism was paralyzing, keeping me from doing anything at all. The pressure to do everything and get it all right was just too much. Actually, I still struggle with this mindset... a lot. I think that every second is some sort of test and I need to make the most of my time or everything is ruined. It's like there is a filter over my life that causes me to view everything in terms of a scale or rules (remember that box I talked about in the last post?!).
Have y'all ever felt trapped in that relentless cycle of regret, confusion, and anxiety? In high school, I remember laying in bed some nights feeling so distraught because of how short life is. I was petrified of getting to the end of my life and having missed the point. I was right about one thing: finding the purpose of this life on earth is super important, and I am currently asking God to help me live with much more intentionality. But the anxiety I experienced did not come from my perceived lack of time. Rather, it came from the fact that I was almost completely focused on my time on earth. Over the last couple of years, God has shown me that this earth-centeredness drives so much fear and regret in the world. Maybe you have a different struggle than I just described. Maybe instead of panicking because of the whirlwind of life, your goal is to survive. That survival perspective, in my opinion, actually comes from the same core issue as the whirlwind perspective: If we are fixated in an earthly mindset, we will either hold on to life so tightly that we freak out, and/or miss the deeper importance of it and end up just trying to make it to another day. There's good news!!! Neither of these lifestyles are what God has for us.
After I graduated high school, I attended a school at Youth With A Mission (YWAM); the main objective of the school is to set six months apart to do nothing but get to know God and tell others about Him. I will talk more about this in another post at some point, but during my time there I totally lost it. I began to question, well, everything, and the swirl in my mind demanded that I lay down a lot of perfectionism in order to simply seek Jesus. I knew that I needed Him to meet me so that I could just survive. During that time, God began to teach me what really matters in life. I remember at one of our Monday night worship nights I felt like I could see more clearly than I had ever seen before. I began to see that Jesus really is the reason for everything. He really is the One Thing. We are often so blinded by the ways of this world that we don't even realize that deep down, we're missing the point.
I could finally see that being with Jesus forever is the point of my existence. It's not the thing that happens after I do good on earth. In His grace God began to show me that HE is the One Thing. In that moment I could feel the weight of years of pressure falling off of me. If Jesus is really the One Thing, then that means that nothing else but Him matters. That means that all of my mistakes are redeemed. When I look into Jesus' eyes at the end of my time on earth, I will not have a single trace of regret because He's just that good.
Growing up, I knew and loved God, but 99% of my focus was on my life on earth. To me, eternity was kind of just where you hang out forever once you're done with the main event down here. But God helped me to see that eternity is really, really, really real. The devil wants to keep us sleepy to that truth. Sleepy to the revelation that Jesus is real. Like how often do we actually stop and think about the fact that one day we can literally hug Jesus? The enemy wants us to be so wrapped up in the earth that we spend our time trying to protect and please ourselves instead of pursuing the One who we will spend forever with. JESUS is the main event. When God gives us an eternal perspective and a revelation of His goodness, we can lay down our well-planned and analytical lives. We don't have to have a white picket fence life any more, because this life stops being our focus. We don't have to "do all the things." This life is super important. In fact, eternity makes it more important. But we shouldn't worry about "making the most of this life" according to the world's standard, because the whole point of this life is Jesus. When it's all about simply being with Jesus we are free.
Psalm 27:4 says, "One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple."
It is a battle, y'all, because the enemy knows that if we realize that Jesus is the One Thing then everything changes. But the truth is true whether or not we happen to agree with it in any given moment. In His love Jesus marked me with the One Thing, and He will keep pursuing me - and you - until our whole lives agree with what He says. He never meant for us to carry the weight that so many of us do. I encourage you to surrender and ask Him to reveal Himself to you as the One Thing. No matter what, Jesus changes everything. ❤️