You are You -Part 1

Editor’s note: This is part 1 of 2 on the uniqueness of you. God wired you like no one else. Read the insights of one man discovering his God-given uniqueness.

The circadian rhythm of life, since time began, has dictated that we include regular pauses to life’s on-going pace. When we don’t.  When we keep the fires burning so hot we can barely hold on to life, we are the ones who pay the biggest price.  Health. Relationships. Careers. Our own sanity.  They all suffer.  We’ve all known and heard of men who live so much for their careers their family suffers.  They are estranged from their children, who they barely know, and are distant from their wives.  Divorces happen. Unexpected health crisis flares up and the once high and mighty senior executive is now breaking, living in a barely furnished apartment, and suffering a host of physical ailments the doctor can only diagnose as a lack of rest.

Here I am, in my 50’s, having faced quadruple heart bypass surgery, an inoperable aneurysm, a broken wrist, metabolic vision changes that have required three different lens prescriptions in 18 months, an oxygen saturation rate issue, and other issues.  And, I’m deeply in love with my wife of 30+ years, plus my relationship with my now married adult children is healthy and good.  Yet, as my doctor says “We are now entering the high-mileage phase of life.”  More frequent oil changes and more trips to the garage for service.

Life wears out.  I wish it didn’t.  Deep within my soul is this desire for transcendence.  I want to live forever!  The reality is the death rate on planet Earth is 100%.  Regardless of your faith construct (or not), you are going to die, and there is NOTHING you can do to stop it!  Oh, you and I can prolong life to some extent.  Exercise and healthy diets help. So, does a good night’s sleep, but someday, one day you and I are going to breathe our last.  Our hearts will beat one last time, and our eyes will close and life on this Earth will be no more.  

There is absolutely NO guarantee you will live tomorrow.  My friend Kevin died at 16.  My son’s friend, Levi at 19.  My grandpa at 87 and my mom at 69.  No age is exempt.  You and I are constantly living in the death zone.  At any moment, in any situation, in any place, you and I could possibly die.  “Oh, David, how morbid!”  you say.  Morbid is a response when we think way too much about life and very little about death.  Death scares us.  It’s unknown and it’s freaky.  When my sister was about 10, her best friend’s dad was a mortician.  On Memorial Day weekend my sister and her friend would go out to the funeral home and set all the US Flags in the cemetery.  Afterward, they’d play hide and seek in the empty caskets!  (My sister could easily be a mortician, or married to one!)

So, what does all this have to do with you?  With me?   In the Bible, there is a fantastic psalm.  Psalm 139.  Here are the opening verses.

Psalm 139:1-6

Search Me, O God, and Know My Heart

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

[1] O LORD, you have searched me and known me!

[2] You know when I sit down and when I rise up;

you discern my thoughts from afar.

[3] You search out my path and my lying down

and are acquainted with all my ways.

[4] Even before a word is on my tongue,

behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.

[5] You hem me in, behind and before,

and lay your hand upon me.

[6] Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;

it is high; I cannot attain it. (ESV)

God knows you so well, there is absolutely NOTHING about you that escapes him.  He is acquainted with all your ways.  In fact, God knows you better than you know yourself.  When you were conceived in your mother’s womb, he was at work intricately forming your inwards parts.  Gestation is no accident.

For you formed my inward parts;

you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

14  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.1

Wonderful are your works;

my soul knows it very well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you,

when I was being made in secret,

intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

16  Your eyes saw my unformed substance;

in your book were written, every one of them,

the days that were formed for me,

when as yet there was none of them.

Look carefully at verse 16in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me,

when as yet there was none of them.  

Long before you were conceived or born, God knew your birth date and, yes, your death date.  He knows, and he is not shaken by any of it.  If fact, you are here, alive now, today for reasons far more than your work’s calendar or next months’ vacation.  You are here for him.  You exist for God.  God does not exist for you.  Your very life is a gift of His grace towards you.  

So, who am I?  Not, I am human, male, and in my 50s.  Not I am my career or my hobbies.  Rather, how am I specifically wired, and how does that impact my pursuit of life, my pursuit of God?  Look, clearly, in my 50s my life is well over halfway done.  With what I have left, I’d like to think I’ll have some impact on this world and the people I know.  And, beyond this life, I want to be fully known by God himself; which, in Christ, I am promised a far better life than I have here!

It’s time to discover who you are.

Warrior On!

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

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