With Jon Vallier

Missing Out?

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 “I don’t have any time to blog!”

This protest has been running through my mind more times than I can count over the past eight months. It’s a nagging and depressing thought.

See, over the last year I’ve been working on a series of doctrinal papers and reports to complete my ordination (sounds thrilling – I know), and as a result my personal time for writing, and many other things, has become a rarity.

But that’s life, isn’t it? During our working years we are constantly forced to choose between priorities. We have to decide what truly has to be done and do it. The nagging and depressing thoughts we keep encountering are from all the other things we’ve had to let go of as a result. The mom who never finishes her degree. The dad who rarely fishes. The business owner who always wanted to travel. We find ourselves watching the classic, It’s A Wonderful Life, and realizing that deep down inside we know exactly what George Bailey is feeling. We know how it feels to keep watching our dreams go by because we have something more important going on. It hurts, but it’s life.

The challenge in handling it seems to be in the knowing.

How do you know what to choose? And how do we deal with the loss we feel in all that we didn’t choose? The world provides all kinds of answers, from the pre-made “kick the bucket” list which you can pick up at Barnes and Nobles, to the Eisenhower Decision Making Principle, to YOLO (You Only Live Once). Although there might be some goodness in each of these ideas, I humbly believe as Christians we have something better.  

The good news for those who have a personal relationship with Jesus, is that one day God is going to restore everything. Therefore nothing is ever really lost for us.

We who know Jesus will miss out on nothing.

While that’s not an excuse to ignore and shut down the deep desires of our hearts, it is key to embracing sacrifice in this life as we remember the words of Jesus: 

“Truly I tell you… no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.” Luke 18:29-30 NIV 

Friends, we get it all!

Do we believe that? We need to. 

But still, how do we choose?

As a follower of Christ, we’re free to choose anything that is in the direction that God has defined as being good.

“Yes,” you may be thinking, “but there are many options that are good, so how do we really know what to pursue?”

One idea that a mentor of mine once shared with me, was to think about life with the end in mind.

When we truly believe as Christ-followers that nothing is lost, that everything will be restored, and that some day we will be standing in front of the Lord to give an account for how we spent our life – much is clarified. Much of the pressure in life is alleviated.

Think of your life in reverse. How you want to stand before Jesus in that moment should determine how you spend your time now. Much that seemed so important will seem small - blogs we didn’t write, money we didn’t make, shows we didn’t see. They didn’t really matter.

Perhaps your perspective needs to be shifted. Evaluate your priorities based on how you will give an account in Jesus’ presence…and the fact that all things will be restored! You might just find that your frustration is abated, your hope is full, your future looks just a little bit clearer, and that missing out – really isn’t happening.

Jonathan Vallier