Friday, October 17, 2014

Day 17: Trajectory

Teach us to number our days,
    that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

The illustration of trajectory has come to me several times in different ways over the past few months. This summer our ladies bible study group read “Pursue the Intentional Life” by Jean Fleming. It was a powerful book and written in a unique way that has stuck with me months later.

On page 16 she says, “The truth is that, all things unchanged, the women we will be at seventy, eighty, and ninety are the women we are at forty and fifty –only distilled. Have you noticed the flaws and weaknesses of a forty-year-old concentrate with age? A complainer at forty will, with much practice, engrave the response in his or her bones by seventy. Self-centeredness will intensify. Bitterness, allowed to take root and grow over decades, engulfs and consumes in advanced age. Anyone living a frittering existence at thirty will, apart from a serious course correction, end up frittering away an entire life. It is just as true that a person doesn’t suddenly become a wise, kind, gracious, fruitful old person just by reaching, say seventy years. Of course, it’s not too late to grow and change (I take comfort in that), but, more important, it’s never too soon to begin.”

Going through severe trauma at the age of 29 was completely awful. I still ask God questions almost six years later that I know will not be answered on this side of heaven. But I can, without question, say the event changed the trajectory of my thinking. I had not gone through such a severe loss before in my life, so it was a type of blissful ignorance I lived. For a few years I thought maybe that bliss was more desirable than knowing what I know now about life. I can say today, though, it woke me up. I became intentional about life and that has been the greatest gift I could have ever received. Being intentional in pursuing God brought back joy, which also meant my children were affected and now it is happening in my new marriage.

A dear friend helped me remember that trajectory in marriage is unique. Even though we have “become one flesh” we are still two separate people with separate minds. If Tyler and I have trajectories not aimed at God, one or both of us will find ourselves slowly drifting apart. She said she learned a married couple needs to have an “intentional redirecting” toward each other often. I like to call it a verbal “State of the Marriage” address and we need reminding to have this “address,” or “date nights” or whatever it may look for you, fairly often. The routines of our days, going through the motions, can quickly take precedence over intentionality.
I plead with anyone reading this to become intentional about your day today. It doesn’t mean we don’t have goals, they are vitally important to intentionality, but how we go about achieving them is different. It is way too hard for us all to decide right now what our year will look like, that’s why I am convinced New Year’s Resolutions tend to fail so quickly. However, we can decide what this hour will look like. Deciding how I will spend the next few minutes becomes “doable.” One of the best pieces of advice I learned to give people in pain is to “take it minute by minute.” Depending on the severity of pain, an hour can seem overwhelming. But eventually, when you take your minutes captive and give them to God to have His way with, you’ll find yourself hours into the process. Then you’ll look up and find days have passed. Yes, triggers and new circumstances can set us “back” a bit in the process, but if you have been sowing the seeds of God’s promises during those “minute by minute” times, you are a promised a fruitful harvest.

What are some words you would use to describe your life this past week? If you continue on the path you are on today, what might your life look like in five years? What small move can you make today to adjust your trajectory if need be?

“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:16-20

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