Ahhhhh. Finally an enjoyable day off (not that I didn't work for it), but after a 12 hour day earlier this week and being scheduled for tomorrow, it was nice to have some time off just to sleep in, go for a long run, clean up my apartment, lift weights, bake some oatmeal chocolate chip muffins, catch up on some reading, catch up on peoples' lives, fix my wireless internet, do some dishes, finish some laundry, check out dogs at the animal rescue league (and by league I mean leagueS), and just relax (yes, yes that did happen also). I needed today. Recently, I've been randomly hop-skipping my way through the bible by flipping coins, picking books, and working my way through them. I just finished Philippians (one of my ABSOLUTE favorite books, one that's been revisited many a-time, and one that has fantastic memory verses if you're ever looking for some you want to recall for aid in every day situations). Today, I decided Acts would be a good place to turn. I read through Acts 1 and just about stopped at verses 7 and 8 because I immedietly knew they were the X-marks-the-spot of what He wanted me to read because if He's anything, He's definitely omniscient. I did end up foraging on through the next couple chapters, and while these verses may not apply to you and your life-phase, they happened to lead me to a state of those inexplicable goosebumps and a non-stop, inner-cognitive smile.
"He told them, "You don't get to know the time. Timing is the Father's business. What you'll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes to you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world." - Acts 1:7-8 (The Message).
Did you hear that? Father Time has it all under control. Actually, quite frankly, we're probably better off not knowing the timing of certain life events let alone, having the crystal ball to the future. There are days where I pray for a road map, as well as, direction; however, The Omnipotent One often sends back one of those figure-eight looking sand holders that apparently tells time. Trying to read one of those is about as confusing as the curriculum for Physics 303. But that is completely fine. Just remembering that His timing is perfect, and He will work all things together for our good is enough to elicit a sigh of relief. Along with that sigh of relief comes one of the best gifts we could ever wish to receive: The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is like our little internal compass on the road map with which God has provided. He is more than Pinocchio's Jiminy Cricket because He's more than just a conscience. He's our guidance counselor, our morality gauge, the comfort of our favorite blanket, the joy we receive from the first swig of that summertime lemonade on June 21st, the beauty of the sunset over Gull Lake in mid-August, the first auburn-colored leaf dropping from a tree, and the Santa of the spiritual world. The Holy Spirit is the giver of our spiritual gifts and the instruction manual that comes with them. This verse almost hit me like a slap in the face...who am I to take the spiritual gifts that I have been given and stick them on a shelf to collect dust behind the clothes that are out of season? How ridiculous is it to forget such an imperative blessing? This is where we find purpose: using our gifts to the best of our ability with the aid of their giver, helping others, a smile here, a piece of advice there. This will allow God to seep in through the cracks of our every day lives like red paint on white shutters until finally He's bursting out of every seam like the buttons on my jeans after Thanksgiving dinner. I want God to not only be a part of my every action and word but to be proud of my every action and word. I want my very life to be the act of leaning forward into the finishline tape at the end of the race, pushing onward toward the goal of reaching the Father and extending some Heavenly real-estate. I want to get to the end and hear the words, "Well done, my good and faithful servant, you have fought the good fight, and finished the race...".
So, what does this have to do with anything? Pull those spiritual gifts out of the boxes labeled "To Be Used in the Future", dust them off, and put them to work! What exactly are you waiting for? The attainment of the perfect job, the purchase of your dream house, the last 10 pounds to come off, the collection of that diploma, the earthly definition of success to come knocking at your door, the white picket fence and 2.5 children, approval from a significant person in your life? I hate to break it to you, but if that's the case, your tombstone may read, "Died with their feet stuck in quicksand but a heart full of good intention". But what good is good intention if the intention is never carried out?! Life is about living in the here and now (don't worry, daddio, I am still contributing to my 401K and savings account). This doesn't necessarily mean "Don't think about the future", but it does mean "You can make all of the plans you want, and ultimately God's plan will win out sooooo, why bother?". Enjoy the beauty in every minute of every day. The smell of freshly brewed coffee in the morning, the endorphins after exercise, a fresh coat of paint in a bold new hue in your living room, the way your Bible pages make that crinkly sound after you've turned them umpteen times, the way the crisp air nips at your face as the fall football season begins, the sweetness and ease of peel of a ripe cutie, the way your joints de-stress and lengthen as you lay down in bed at night, the smell of burgers grilling as an indication of summer being on its way, the feeling of the sun warming your face as you relax in a hammock, the enjoyment of finishing an amazing book and finding out there's a sequel, a simple and heartfelt "Thank You" for finishing a task, checking something off of your to-do list. Life is a beautiful gift not meant to be benched. The best advice I can give is to stop waiting. Put on that armor and start living your faith outloud.
Most of all: enjoy it. Not doing so would be...well...a sin.