“Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.”
Psalms 90:12 NLT
If we are honest, many, if not most, of us tend to live life like we have days, weeks, months, years, decades left promised to us. (Now let me pause right here and just say that I’m believing Christ to keep me until the rapture LOL but anywho, you get my point.) We live with the arrogant assumption that we have plenty of time to do later what God has instructed us to do now. We spend our God-given time doing what we desire to do with it - pursuing what we wish to possess and working to make our own name great. How foolish of us.
Here in Psalms 90:12, David asks God to teach us just how short our lives really are so that we may develop wisdom...that we may make the most of our days on earth completing what He’s assigned us to do.
“Help us to remember that our days are numbered, and help us to interpret our lives correctly. Set Your wisdom deeply in our hearts so that we may accept Your correction.”
Psalms 90:12 TPT
“Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.”
Psalms 90:12 HCSB
A little further up in the text, David briefly speaks to the brevity of human life:
“For in Your sight a thousand years are like yesterday that passes by, like a few hours of the night. You end their lives; they sleep. They are like grass that grows in the morning — in the morning it sprouts and grows; by evening it withers and dries up.”
Psalms 90:4-6 HCSB
Sheeesh! Then when we flip to the New Testament, James reminds us again of just how short our lives truly are.
“What do you know about tomorrow? How can you be so sure about your life? It is nothing more than mist that appears for only a little while before it disappears.”
James 4:14 CEV
“But you don’t have a clue what tomorrow may bring. For your fleeting life is but a warm breath of air that is visible in the cold only for a moment and then vanishes!”
James (Jacob) 4:14
So how do we maximize the time God’s given us?
We walk with wisdom (Ps. 90:12) and intentionality about what God has called and created us to do (Luke 2:49).
Intentionality - the fact of being deliberate and purposive.
(Purposive means to move and operate with purpose.)
We’ve just entered the fourth quarter of the year. 2020 for many of us has been a struggle. We’ve faced and overcome challenge after challenge - so congratulations to you for surviving those days that you thought you’d never make it through! Congratulations for healing and continuing to heal from those days you thought you’d never move past! Look at you now! Purpose will keep you even when you don’t feel like being kept.
If you’re reading this, YOU HAVE PURPOSE!!
On this first day of October 2020, I want to encourage us all to be intentional about our time from here on out, if we haven’t been already. Now this post isn’t to encourage you to overload your schedule, overwork yourself and/or become overwhelmed so please don’t check out on me just yet.
You’re not here by accident. God has given you this time to complete something than extends beyond you. To fulfill something greater than you. To give something to this world that only you can offer. It’s important that you and I live a life that reflects that, a life that gracefully carries that responsibility and that honor.
Back in August we lost a gem, Chadwick Boseman. Though the news of his death is devastating, we can learn much from the way he lived.
A couple of weeks after he passed I shared this on Instagram and Facebook (@ Sowfull):
I have been having a challenging time with the passing of Chadwick Boseman. In addition to feeling grief, a lot of the time I feel “crazy” or “unjustified” in my sorrow being that I didn’t know him personally. However, though I didn’t know him personally, I did know his work and I saw his heart in his art, speeches and interactions with others.
You don’t have to be personally connected to someone in order to be greatly impacted by their presence in the earth. Many of us touch the lives of those we may never meet or even know exist. That’s how it should be. Everything we do is bigger than us. It extends beyond us. We were placed here at this point in time to fulfill a specific purpose that will shake and shape the world.
You’re already purpose-filled, now live purposefully. Don’t waste what God placed inside of you. Use it all.
Chadwick was purpose-driven and understood the importance of time and the power of saying “no” to whatever didn’t align with what his purpose was. He got up every morning focused on completing what he was called by God to do even in the face of what many would say was a legitimate reason to give up or slack off.
"Can I live with myself if I do anything else?...If that's what was put in you and you don't live up to it, you will always feel like you slighted yourself."
- Chadwick Boseman at Revolt Summit 2019
(I do not own rights to this video clip.)
Purpose pushed him and purpose kept him until it was completed.
There is much that God desires to do in and through us. There are many He intends to use us to reach but we must be available to Him. Part of being available means being intentional about who/what we allow to have our attention, who/what we dedicate our time to and who/what we commit to.
“Because I said no at certain times, it made me available for the things that got me to where I am.”
- Chadwick Boseman
“No” is such an important statement. It holds great power. That simple two letter word can change the pace and trajectory of your life. I believe we often fear saying “no” because we feel people will be offended and reject us for not saying “yes.” The wrong people will reject you because of your “no”...but the RIGHT people will respect your “no.” If they reject you, they weren’t someone to be accepted by anyway. If they reject you, they aren’t a part of your destiny. Although most of us do it to some degree, we really shouldn’t be living for the acceptance of others anyway. In Proverbs 29:25 we are warned that the fear of man is a snare. Paul also addresses in Galatians 1:10 how we can’t be a servant of God and also be a people pleaser. We must choose one or the other. We can’t serve two masters and we definitely can’t and won’t please everyone. Focus on pleasing your audience of one - God.
“If you live for their acceptance, you’ll die from their rejection.” - Lecrae
Other times I believe we suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out). We worry about missing an opportunity to have fun, be with others or maybe we think this opportunity will somehow get us to where we think we want to be. This is why discernment is so important. This is why Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to lean on God and not our own understanding. We must commit our ways to Him and go to Him with every decision no matter how minute we think it is.
Allow God to not only allocate you time but direct how you use that time as well. Don’t merely let God plan where you go in life but also the path you take to get there. Besides, can we really reach and fulfill all that God has for us if we don’t go about it His way in His timing?
Be intentional about your INVESTMENT.
“The most important thing you have is time. It’s not money, it’s time. Every day you have to put some time into becoming you you’re supposed to become.”
- Chadwick Boseman
There’s work to be done! We have to discern when it’s time to play and when it’s time to work. A few of us have been playing for too long, or dare I say it, sleeping on our purpose for far too long while our work has been laying on the wayside.
We should be investing daily into who God destined us to become. We invest 40+ hours into our jobs, ridiculous hours into social media, and countless hours into relationships (familial, platonic and romantic) but how much time do we invest into ourselves? How much time do we dedicate to the work God has assigned to us? Only what we do for the Lord will last?
Working diligently unto the Lord doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy ourselves. Working hard and being about our Father’s business doesn’t mean we have to work tirelessly. Making the most of our days doesn’t mean jam-packing our schedules from sunrise to sunset.
In fact the Word says,
“It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for He gives to His beloved sleep.”
Psalm 127:2 ESV
Another translation says,
“It is useless to get up early and stay up late in order to earn a living. God takes care of His own, even while they sleep.”
Psalms 127:2 CEV
When we are intentional about our time and the work we dedicate ourselves to, we will find that our hard work won’t be as draining. Many of us are drained because we’ve spread ourselves thin working on what God didn’t assign to us. You’re graced for what He’s called you too.
When we discern what is worthy of our God-given time and energy, we are able to say “no” to what is unnecessary. We are able to keep vain endeavors from imposing on the time afforded to us for work and rest. The Lord has given us more than enough time and resources to fulfill His purpose for our lives without being broke and burnout. Our problem is, many of us haven’t learned to say no to people, projects and personal temptations that rob us of our extra energy and resources. We try to do everything that’s asked of us. We find pride in having a full calendar. We feel accomplished when we cross everything off of our to-do list. We look forward to achieving our own goals on the ladder of success we’ve mapped out without even stopping to consider if any of what we’ve done and pursued is what God had for us to do. Learn to say “no” to all that doesn’t agree with what GOD has called you to do. That’s true success.
“Success is not what I've done compared with what others have done. Success is what I've done compared with what God has called me to do.”
Saying “no” doesn’t just apply to setting boundaries with others but also with ourselves. We must learn to say “no” to pleasures that don’t benefit us or align with our purpose (1 Corinthians 6:12). It’s imperative that we seek God and His will for our lives so we can effectively say “no” to whoever and whatever does not support that will, as well as can say “yes” to all that brings us further into alignment with it.
It takes great discipline to deny your flesh of instant gratification for future glory. Will we always get it right? Will we always say “no” to the wrong things and “yes” to the right things? Will we always remain focused and cast distractions aside? Of course not. We all have gotten off track one time or another. And if we are honest, we will likely slip again and get off track in pursuit of that which isn’t of God or isn’t in God’s plans for our life. (SN: Something we pursue doesn’t have to be inherently evil to cause us to be out of the Will of God. We could be pursuing something that in itself is a good thing - a job, relationship, friendship, etc. - but because it is not the “good” that God has for us to do/possess, our pursuit of it places us out of alignment with Him. Even if what we are pursuing is in the Will of God for our lives, if we are seeking after it outside of His divine timing, we are still out of His will. We must be aligned with God’s who, what, when, where and how in order to be in His will.) But when we do find ourselves outside of the Will of God, then comes the beauty of God’s love and grace. Lecrae says,
“...I’m realizing despite my many distractions, unconditional love remains. When good pursuits get in the way of God's pursuits we only need to repent and turn back. God never stops pursuing us; and because of His steadfast love, restoration is possible...remember God’s faithfulness to restore trust and repent of being distracted from His love if you find yourself needing forgiveness.”
It's All Borrowed...
“All of your life is borrowed
All of your glory's borrowed
Here today, gone tomorrow”
- This Is Life x KB
The fact of the matter is, our life is not our own. Our time is not our own. Any success or glory we think we receive or want to receive is not our own. We are to live our lives intentionally with the Will and glory of God as our focal point. That is the only way to live an abundant, impactful life that shakes the world, shapes the world and leaves a legacy that brings glory to God for generations to come.
I hope this post doesn’t make you feel as though the clock is quickly ticking and your time is running out. I hope that this post doesn’t make you feel pressured or as though you have to be in a rush. But rather I hope it echoes this quote by Taylor Simone Ledward Boseman, "take your time but don’t waste your time."
The children of the Creator of Time don’t have to rush, but we must not be wasteful of the time awarded to us. I hope that this posts encourages us to make good use of our days and to leave procrastination behind us. Tomorrow isn’t promised but today always is. What will you do with the “today” that God has given you?
“We never know when we’re going to leave this earth. Therefore we must live out our days for what they’re worth.”
- Please Forgive x Lecrae, Sean Garrett & Crystal Nicole
“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything You gave me'.”
- Chadwick Boseman
“This is what the Lord says: What fault did your fathers find in Me that they went so far from Me, followed worthless idols, and became worthless themselves?”
Jeremiah 2:5 HCSB
“Conduct yourself with wisdom in your interactions with outsiders (non-believers), make the most of each opportunity [treating it as something precious].”
Colossians 4:5 AMP
“I have glorified You [down here] on the earth by completing the work that You gave Me to do.”
John 17:4 AMP
“I glorified You on earth, having accomplished the work that You gave me to do.”
John 17:4 HCSB
“I have brought glory to You here on earth by doing everything You gave me to do.”
John 17:4 CEV