When Does Life Start?

(I decided to go back through some of the writing that I have done over the years . I originally wrote this seven years ago, long before I had the thought of having a blog. I think it is can speak to someone today.)

            My watch battery died at 10:57 yesterday morning. I know it was that time, because the time is frozen there. I knew on Saturday that my watch was losing time, but I had no idea that the battery would go so quickly. I know, who wears an analog watch these days?  Well, I do, but that is not the strangest part. The strangest part is that I am still wearing my watch even after I know the battery is dead.

            The honest reason why is that my hand feels so very strange with my watch missing. I also have a major tan line that would look bad – or at least noticeable- if I went without my watch. I keep checking my watch, but the time has failed to change reading 10:57. Two times a day my crazy watch is accurate, but it stays on my wrist not doing the function it was created to do.

            There were many times in my life where my life was like my watch: stuck. My life was stuck and it felt like it was never going to start. It was the feeling of “Okay God, what now?” I would hear sermons talking about this “season of life” or “transition” and wonder when the “transition” would actively start transitioning. Maybe even worse, but life was even getting lonelier.

            Graduating college people tell you that your life is going to begin. You have told yourself you would start life. Then you graduate and you are alive, but do not feel like you are actually living. I was told “your time is coming”, but seriously how can your time be coming if the hands are not even moving?

            I was not stuck in the fact that I did not have a job, but more to the point that I had lost all of my support system after graduation. It is hard to hang out with friends if you are living an hour away from them most of the time. You do not have free time in the afternoon to do a Bible study or meet with your mentor. Your closest co-workers are eight to ten years older than you and fully immersed in living a life: married, children, working, and volunteering. You only are relatable to them because they have a niece, nephew, or cousin close to your age.

            Now don’t get me wrong. These people are usually well meaning. They want to relate to you, but they are in a different “season of life”. Those co-workers actually never tell you that, but that is how you feel. You know your feelings lie, but without a support system it is hard to be reassured that all of this is temporary.

            I was caught up in this false impression that once I had a job, I would start really living. Someone should have told me that starting my job as a first year teacher I would be too busy to feel like I was living. Survival was the name of the game for me.

            Even in the midst of surviving my job, I still felt like life had not started. I wanted God to give me even a little glimpse of my future so I could be prepared. I could not see that God desperately wanted that time to grow my faith, build my good habits for life, rid myself of pride, and learn to trust Him completely. While all that time I was badgering God with my questions about when life was going to start.

            I wonder how many times Paul wondered about when his ministry would start. The story of Paul’s encounter with Jesus is recorded in Acts chapter nine. Saul (as he was known then) was on his way to Damascus to arrest and imprison Christians. On the road there, Jesus made a divine appointment with Saul and introduced Himself.

            Saul was never the same. Just as when we encounter Christ we are never the same. If you read through Acts after chapter nine, Saul is not really mentioned again until he is sent off with Barnabas in Acts chapter thirteen. If you look at some of the historical markers in Acts, Paul waited around three years from his encounter with Christ before he was sent out as a missionary and church planter.

            How many times in those three years of waiting did Paul wonder about his life and his purpose? Paul was the man who penned thirteen recorded letters that have become foundational in the doctrine of the church. Did he ever doubt the call God put on his life as he taught in the synagogues of Damascus?

            I don’t know the answer to that question. I am sure doubts came, but I think we can follow Paul’s example. Instead of waiting for his life and ministry to start, Paul started serving in Damascus. He did not see his calling to ministry as something that would start someday; he just started.

            That is the same way with all of us. Times of transition don’t have to be ones where we sit and look at our lives and think about how nice it would be to start living. Don’t waste the precious time and energy God gave you thinking about how nice it would be to become someone for the Kingdom. Go and serve. Open your eyes to see the needs of others around you. Pray for wisdom and start your work. Spend time in God’s Word and develop your habits of scripture reading and memorization. Discover in the pages of scripture your worth in Christ and be His hands and feet to a lonely, lost, and confused world.

 Your years of waiting for life to start don’t have to be wasted in the waiting. God created you to have a function in His Kingdom and right now it is the small role. However, being faithful in the small things will develop a character that makes you look more like Christ. Someone who will partner with God as He does great things: “for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose” Philippians 2:13.

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