The boy just shook his head whenever anyone tried to tease him about girls. He was much more interested in playing ball with his friends. He dreamed of professional sports and the attention and fame that would bring. He had even memorized the stories of his favorite sports heroes. He couldn’t wait to be a teenager and compete more.
As a teen, he realized his reflexes were not as keen as others on his team. His body didn’t grow into the tall, muscular body he had expected all of his childhood and he discovered an awkwardness around girls. His growth seemed to stop well before those around him, and he began to lose confidence in his abilities when he realized this. A few defeats were enough to show him that this dream of professional sports was not for him, and he gave up on sports altogether. He wanted nothing more than to have high school behind him and the memories of his disappointments.
As a young man in his twenties, his focus was on defining himself. He preferred to do things that made him look important and he relished the opportunity to compete. He chose a career field without thinking of the long term, only the money it would bring. He made some friends and began to enjoyed being an adult and making his own decisions. He was not as diligent as he might be in his job, but he was energetic and that energy made up for his inconsistency. He was willing to take on challenges in his job, seeing them as opponents to defeat. He hoped these days would last forever because he didn’t want to get any older.
As a man in his thirties, his intensity softened slightly. He had none of the impatience he had before; knowing there were years still ahead and he had done enough to prove his worth in his career. He concentrated his efforts on specific areas rather than a single task or skill. Some of his younger coworkers joked that he enjoyed punishment because he volunteered for difficult tasks, but he knew why. Until he mastered each subject, he would never be as proficient as one who had. Thirty was comfortable, but the idea of being forty seemed daunting and he tried not to think about getting older.
As a man in his forties, he settled into a comfortable rhythm at work and he didn’t rush around anymore. He was careful when giving an opinion, for he had seen instances where the answer was not so simple. He cared less about looking important and more about the satisfaction from solving a complex problem or working around a challenging coworker. He had enough energy to go through most of the day and that was enough. He had come to realize that when his body was tired or was injured it didn’t function like it had when he was younger. He was quite content being who he was, but was very unhappy at the thought of being half a century old.
At the age of 49, the man decided he needed a change for he wasn’t getting any younger. He wanted to restore his confidence and vitality and had little patience with normal challenges. He reviewed his choices and was dissatisfied with everything. On a whim he made a large purchase and believed this was just what he needed. Some unfortunate circumstances meant his purchase didn’t deliver on his expectations. In fact, it took most of a year to dig out of the financial difficulties his decision caused and he felt like a fool. It wasn’t exactly the confidence boosting change he had hoped for.
(This is not the end of the story, click here to read part II)
Note: I am intentionally slowing down the tempo of my stories to one a week, last week’s story made me realize I need to do this.)
—————Thoughts that motivated this story—————
In this story I looked at a change all of us experience.
And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Matthew 3:2 describes a change, the temporal being invaded by the spiritual or heavenly kingdom of God. Given the opportunity to admit their true thoughts about what that might mean, it is probably safe to say none of them had any idea what was planned. It’s one thing to change the landscape or to change the leadership, it is another thing to change the very foundational truths of life. That’s just what God had planned, a solution that changed the rules entirely.
The kingdom of heaven intended to solve the reason we all lose no matter our resolve. There was no way out, we would continue to lose, even if no one else could see it. All of us are a disappointment, and not just to those cheering for us, we are disappointments to ourselves. We may promise to do better, we may even believe it is possible to change ourselves from the inside out.
There is little good in new resolutions to improve if we don’t first regret the actions or attitude to justify a change. Repentance is crucial to a changed person. It is turning around 180 degrees. If we only wish we hadn’t been caught our resolve will fail and we will repeat the past. I CANNOT make myself clean. I need God to make my change of mind (repentance) work; and I have no right to claim that help, but I cry out for mercy anyway. It is astonishing to realize my creator knows my deepest depravity but still answers my cry.