Adam Hince

The musings of Syndal Baptist Church's Gen Y and Beyond Pastor

“My days are numbered…”

Posted on | January 7, 2011 | No Comments

“My days are numbered….”

This was the idea we spent some time looking at in our 6pm Service at Syndal Baptist  on January 2. We took it from Psalm 90, a part of the bible written by Moses, in which he asks God this… “Teach us to number our days, so that we may gain a heart of wisdom”.

There are four ways that I think we can apply this to life. The first is simply to live like every second of every day counts. This thought alone may send your stress levels up… and it probably should! A little bit of intensity targeted at the right things is crucial to us doing important things well. Living like every second counts means we plan our time, we evaluate the way we spend it (and treat it like it’s a precious resource) and we achieve things with it. For me, a big challenge is to ensure my definition of “achieve” is set correctly. It’s very easy for me to feel like the completing of tasks = achieving something meaningful. But to rest well is an achievement, to simply “be there” for a friend is an achievement, to not do something that boredom might otherwise permit is also an achievement.

A second way of living like your “days are numbered” is to live every day like it might be your last. Nickleback sing a great song about it!  While there is a touch of morbidity about it, there is something about seeing the end that effects how we do a journey in the “now”. As a pastor, there have been several times where I have visited people when death is very close for them. It’s amazing what becomes important. I’ve been with one person who HAD to see a friend and tell them he had forgiven them. I’ve been with one older man who HAD to know that his affairs were in order and that his wife would be taken good care of. I’ve been with a woman who HAD to see her ex-husband and ask for his forgiveness. I’m sure there are others (try watching “The Bucket List” for some other ideas on this).

A third way is very similar to the second, and it is to live like you can’t come back tomorrow. My wife often asks me to do things, which instead of me doing straight away… I promise to do it “sometime”. The thing is that I end up with lots and lots of things that all only take a little bit of time individually – but a whole day when done together. I try to do things straight away when I can. I try to leave my office clean every day I leave work. I clean out my in-tray, inbox and even try to empty the bin as I go. It means I start each day with at least the appearance of having finished one day and starting another afresh. Un-finished things are a bit reason why some people don’t sleep well! Not everything can be “finished” in a day though – learning to relax into a sense of knowing what you can do and being willing to let the rest wait is very important. But some things – especially relational things – if left for too long, only get worse. What do you have unfinished at the moment, which if finished, would make a difference to your life?

The final way is the most easily forgotten and yet most uplifting way… and it is to count your blessings. When I first read the words “number your days” I pictured planners and diaries in my mind, and the need to schedule things well. Then I found that “number” can also mean simply “record”. Looking forward is good, but looking back also good. If we fail to reflect well – we may simply keep making the same mistakes, we may miss some great moments that in context may shape the next day or more, we may also be guilty of being ungrateful for the many things that happen in life that are good. For this next little while, I’m changing the way I do my daily journaling. Instead of writing just about what I’m feeling or what I’m learning or what I’m worried about (all good things for me to get out of my head and onto some paper!), I spending time writing in detail about what happened the previous day that I’m grateful for.

For those who love practical lists and ideas… here’s a list of practical ways to do these four ideas. I would be really interested to hear if there are other things that you do!

Some tips for making the most of your time ::

  1. Count your blessings… look back and see what’s been good and be thankful.
  2. Reflect… look back and squeeze out what you’ve learned even from the pain.
  3. Check the status of things… is anything unfinished that doesn’t need to be?
  4. For one week…  record how you spend your time.
  5. For everyday… make a list of the things you need to do every single day.
  6. For the next little while… make a list of  things that you need to get “done” in 6 weeks.
  7. For the year 2011… what sort of things do you need to progress in as a person?
  8. For life… have a bucket list – things you want to do before you die.
  9. Buy a diary.
  10. Use a diary.
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