A mid-life appraisal

We stood in a field on Sunday, the sun shining over the ocean behind us. This singer, a preacher-man, a pastor who has loved Jesus since he was a little boy stood before us and told us his truth; spoke over us of pain and struggle and hope and restoration; of being repaired and made new by the maker of all things.

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He looked us in the eye and asked us this one question:

‘Are you where you want to be right now?’

The sun shone and the sea glistened with the heat of the question rising right up off it. Waves beating back and forth on the sandy shore.

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Am I where I want to be?

Do any of us even know where that is?

Do we stop to take the time to look, long and hard and honest, into the soul of who we are?

Because, you know what? We only get one chance at this thing here called life, and that’s the cold hard truth of it, no matter how it makes us feel.

We get up, we work, we play, we take kids to school, and cook meals and hang out laundry in the sunshine. Clean carpets and bathrooms and walk dogs and tend gardens. Watch TV and read books, eat, drink, chat with friends and tuck children into bed. And before you know it, the years are pelting past at high speed, those big digits coming round faster than you’d ever thought they might and the question still looms; hanging over us, it’s silence getting louder and louder with each passing year.

Am I where I want to be?

Not yet.

Not yet comes the whispering answer to the loudest question I ever did hear.

I have carried around with me this dream to write for more years than I can remember, and yet writing – actually sitting down and putting words on a page – was a non-existent part of my everyday for too long. There were many different reasons why over the different seasons of my life – young babies, a career in the city, time, energy, motivation, confidence, training; We can make all sorts of excuses – of varying shades of validity – but the honest truth is this: we will be what we do with our time.

If I want to be a writer, I need to make time to write. If you want to be a golfer, get out there and hit a ball round a green. My gorgeous, brave friend is just about to return to study; she knows the sacrifice to her and her family over the next 3 years will be significant, but she can see where she wants to be and how she must get there.

So whether it’s art or music, learning that language you’ve always wanted to learn or wishing you knew your Bible more; whether it’s being more patient, kinder with your kids or your spouse, or whether it’s getting up early and spending a few quiet moments in careful contemplation before the day begins, many of us have ‘some place’ we aspire to be that we’ve not quite reached yet. Many of us have hopes and dreams stashed quietly away in our hearts, and when we’re brave enough to peek in, so often it can look like we’re a million miles away from ever being where we want to be.

And the danger with that, is that we can let the discrepancy become discouragement. That instead of it motivating us to make a change, we become despondent and discouraged, wallowing in where we are now.

If you’re feeling that today, know this; this was never meant to be the end point. Only a place on the path along the way.And wherever we end up, and however different it looks from where we thought we’d be, there is always HOPE and there is always RESTORATION.There is always more to come.

There was a story once of a young man who left home. Irresponsible and rash, with a pocket full of dreams but little wisdom or maturity to guide him, he took his portion of the family inheritance and lived hard and fast. But when the money ran out and the friends ran away, as he lived on some-one else’s land and worked for food that barely filled his belly, he remembered who he was and where he came from. Returning home to beg mercy and a decent job from the Dad he had left so hastily, his Dad saw him first and ran to him. He hugged him tight and threw a party in his honour, his Father’s love covering over all that has gone before.He spoke truth over him as he called him his son still, and spoke hope and restoration, as he called into being that which was not yet.

(The Prodigal Son – The Bible, Luke chapter 11)

While we’re still breathing, there is still time; time a plenty to make a change, to turn vision into reality, to take the next small step along the way to becoming who we want to be. Whether it’s a full 180 degrees like that boy back there, or just putting a little more time towards the thing we’re still longing for, restoration and hope are never out of reach. The secret is to keep the pleasure in the here and now, whilst still reaching out for the what is yet to come…

‘Keep your fingers on the near things, but your eyes on the far horizon’  Anon

I’d love to hear the things you’re still hoping for and how you’re going to make them happen… you can share them below and we can encourage one another to keep chasing after the dream!

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