I've been doing a lot of thinking - especially over the holidays. What really matters? I mean, that sounds like a ridiculous question...rhetorical to most. I guess it's pretty easy to give a good, Sunday-school-type answer. But it's a whole different thing to actually live it out. I can't tell you how many times I feel like I've prayed the exact same prayer - for God's strength and patience as he carries out His will for my life. I feel like as soon as I get a grasp on what really matters, thoughts come creeping back and I forget again and slide down towards despair.
What matters is my relationship with Christ and living it out with complete joy. I've been reading a good book lately by John Piper called Don't Waste Your Life. I would strongly recommend it to anyone - no matter your background or current situation. Here are a few quotes from the book that have helped get my thoughts back on track:
"Pursuing God's glory [is] virtually the same as pursuing my joy...if you life gladly to make others glad in God, your life will be hard, your risks will be high, and your joy will be full."
"Enjoying and displaying [His supreme excellence] are both crucial. If we try to display the excellence of God without joy in it, we will display a shell of hypocrisy and create scorn or legalism. But if we claim to enjoy his excellence and do not display it for others to see and admire, we deceive ourselves, because the mark of God-enthralled joy is to overflow and expand by extending itself into the hearts of others."
"The wasted life is the life without a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples."
"If you don't point people to God for everlasting joy, you don't love. You waste your life."
"No thing can satisfy the soul...all heroes are shadows of Christ. We love to admire their excellence. How much more will we be satisfied by the one Person who conceived all excellence and embodies all skill, all talent, all strength and brilliance and savvy and goodness?"
"He is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him."
I hope perhaps one or more of these has encouraged you. I've been realizing I can't focus on what I don't have or what I can't do. I refuse to let other people and various situations steal the joy I have in Him.
What about you? Are you wasting your life?