Hello, blog. (I'll save both of us some time and a paragraph of nonsensical rambling by skipping the usual "it's been too long" thing and admitting that I am too busy "these days". Moving on..)
Last night, I had a really awesome and thought-provoking conversation with the girls in my house church, who are some of the most Christ-like and beautiful people I know. I can't tell you how much I look forward to sharing life with them and hearing their perspectives every week. Anyway, inspired by an amazing Sunday at our church last week, we began to talk together about heaven and eternity. We spent an hour or so talking about having eternal priorities, picking apart 2 Corinthians 5, which is rich with ideas about reconciliation and being ambassadors for Christ. It left me feeling humbled and guilty for being so careless with my time on earth, and determined to invest more of my time on everlasting pursuits.
So naturally, after I put the left-over cheesecake bites back in the refrigerator (or my mouth..either way: irrelevant) and turned out the lights in the living room, I fell to my knees and thanked God for giving this amazing community and prayed for wisdom, and discernment about my priorities and for Jesus to come back..right?
In classic Maryanne fashion, I followed this Spirit-filled evening with a pop-culture binge, like a fat-kid in a McDonalds after a weekend camping trip (ok, I admit it. That's not just a bad analogy, that's a memory..of..me...last weekend. Yikes.). I turned on ABC to catch the last 30 minutes of the CMA awards, just in time to see my girl Connie Britton present an award AND catch the main-event: Entertainer of the Year being presented (long live George Strait). Plus during the 12 commercial breaks in-between, I caught up on all the tweets and Instagrams of red-carpet styles and funny Taylor Swift faces.
And then it hit me: the irony of the fact that after an incredibly-inspiring conversation about HEAVEN, of all things, I had just spent the next hour+ drooling over the glitz and glamour of all these celebrities lives and hairstyles. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to send the "Christian-guilt-fairy" your way if you watched the entire CMA's, because I know that you are not me, and your time can be spent however you please. It’s not the fact that I watched TV that I later had a problem with, its what was going on inside of my head while I was watching-the way I was coveting these peoples lives and the jealousy I felt as I was watching, wishing I was famous or had a cooler life-and the stark contrast it created for me compared to my house church discussion. I just can't help but think that perhaps God has taken advantage of this highly ironic evening to teach me a lesson about priorities. After talking about the beauty of life, and the way that we have an obligation here to be ambassadors of Jesus and invite as many people to heaven as possible, to spend Eternity in the Lord’s presence, I sat with one hand on my i-phone and one on the remote, eyes glued to the TV, watching and longing for a more fancy prestigious life, filled with things that….don’t last. I could have kicked myself when I finally realized what I was doing.
So, having learned this lesson, I am playing a new game, and I challenge you all to play it with me, if you want. It goes like this: as I am going about my day, when I find myself distracted, I look at what I’m doing and ask myself this question:
will this last?
as in, does this have eternal value?
Now please notice that I did not say nor am I encouraging you to ask this when you working, or doing homework. As much as I would love to encourage you deem these activities as non-eternal and thus quit your job or drop out of school, I recently grew up, (about a week ago! Thanks for asking!) and realized that these things are necessary and that there is indeed lasting and eternal value in the things that have become the routine of our lives, if only we are willing to look for it. As a matter of fact, I feel that it our job first and foremost to find the lasting and eternal value in the biggest aspects of our every day lives-our jobs, classes, etc.-but that is a post for another day. Instead, I am encouraging myself, and you, if you want to, to ask this question during the times in which I find myself most distracted, because these are the things that I choose to do when I could be doing something else.. say, more lasting or eternal. We may not have a choice about working or going to school, but we do have a choice about how we spend the rest of our time, and while there is nothing wrong with the occasional television or movie watching (or other mind-resting activity, because we all need to rest our minds at certain points during the day, no sarcasm there), I am challenging myself to spend my time more often in the midst of eternal pursuits. Because everything else will fade away.
So here's to eternal pursuits, and to spending more of our time focusing on what lasts than we do on trying to make our hair look like Connie Britton's. Because I know I'm not the only one who struggles with that..