Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Best Days of My Life?

In 1984, Brian Adams released the now classic song, "Summer of '69." It's a nostalgic look at an important time in his life, and it resonates with lots of folks. Now that's pretty understandable; when we drive down the dusty roads of our memories, things usually look better than they really were. But there's always been a line in that song that always bothered me a little. At the end of each verse he sings, "those were the best days of my life." And the first time I heard that I thought, "What a sad thing to say." It's heartbreaking to me to think about having to look back at a time that I would consider the 'best days of my life', as opposed to living in the best days of my life. Maybe I'm just incredibly naive, but there's not a time I can look back on and say, "That was the best time in my life." Each season of my life has been the 'best days of my life.'

High school was a blast for me. Not because I was super popular or anything. In fact, I was the opposite of super popular. But I didn't really care because round about the 10th grade or so, I discovered the secret to surviving high school. Want to know what it is? Well I'm not telling. Just kidding. The secret to surviving high school is figuring out that everyone else is just as insecure as you are. They're worried about their clothes, too. They get zits just like you do. They want to be liked and accepted and thought well of as much as anyone else. That goes for everyone there. And when I figured that out, there was freedom in that. I didn't have to spend all my time worrying about what other people thought about me. I just enjoyed myself. I wasn't an athlete (at 5'8", 145 lbs., not a lot you can do-except for maybe women's gymnastics). I wasn't a ladies' man or anything. But high school was a great time for me. Some of the best days of my life.

Then came college, another blast. Made some of the best friends of my life. Met some of the biggest jerks, too. Like Adam Thomas. Man, I hate that guy. College was a great time for me. I learned a ton of stuff, grew up a lot. And best of all, I met Kelly Mitchell. Yowza. Some of the best days of my life.

Then came marriage. Again, fabulous time in my life. Difficult, challenging, all that. But it was amazing. Kelly and I began to learn how to make our marriage work, and that wasn't always fun. But it was incredible. Some of the best days of my life.

Then fatherhood-nothing changes you like fatherhood. When they give you that kid, and you realize that she's your little girl, or your little boy, everything changes. Nothing will ever be the same for you once you've held your child for the first time. And so I entered that season of my life. And it's been incredible. God has given me amazing children, whom I love intensely. There have been rough days, especially with our first child. Not because Lily was a bad baby, but because when you're a first time parent, you get a little freaked out. After a few days at home I started thinking, "OK, when are the parents going to come get their kid?" And then Kelly reminded me that Lily was our kid. Some of the best days of my life.

And then I started pastoring. Another challenging time, but a great time. Got to move to Wakita, Oklahoma, met some amazing people who put up with a young punk who knew absolutely nothing-but they loved me anyway. Then I moved to Hermitage; more great people, more great times. And now I'm in Gurdon. God has again provided amazing folks for me to minister to, and I'm having a great time. Some of the best days of my life.

My point is that there's not one time in my life that I look back on and say, "Those were the best days of my life." And I don't want there to ever be a time that I look back and say that. These are the best days of my life! Right now is the best time of my life. And when this season is over, the next phase of my life will be the best time of my life. Don't dress up a particular time in your life in the unreal decoration of nostalgia. Embrace this season of your life. Embrace this time. Don't waste your life looking at time that's gone by. Take hold of the time God has given you and use it for His honor and His glory. If it's a good season, enjoy it to the fullest. If it's a difficult season, learn from it what you can, and cling to Jesus. But embrace the time you're in, and use it for God's honor and glory.

Lamentations 3:23 says that God's mercies "...are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness." Every day can be the best day of your life because God's mercies are new to us each day. I can find joy regardless of my circumstances if I find my joy in Christ. Circumstances change-Christ never does. Let's live as though these are the best days of our lives; and try to forget about the times we tight-rolled our jeans.

Father, thank You for life. Thank You for the innumerable blessings you've poured out on me. Thank You for the friends You've given me, the circumstances and experiences You've brought me. And thank You for what lies ahead. Help me to keep my eyes on You; and help me to continue to live for Your honor and Your glory. Amen.