What does it feel like to age? I have heard it said that the days are long and the years are short and that has made more and more sense to me. I feel like I can look back on the past three decades and see how small decisions have created a life that defines quite a bit of my daily life in my 40’s.
In my 20’s I went off to Bible College planning to study the Bible and more honestly to get a few states away from home . . . I learned all kinds of big words, like supralapsarianism, dispenstionalism, and foosball tournament.
I spent a summer counseling at Camp Barakel, met my wife, got married and had two kids before I turned 30. Moved to England and moved back from England.
In my 30’s I had another kid. I began pastoral ministry. And planted ReCAST Church.
I turned 40 and am almost halfway to 50.
There are a lot of days in between the big picture events of my 4 decades of life. But when we look back and trace our stories, we find our lives have been composed of an amazing train of events strung together by rapidly moving time.
I have settled into a phrase that I first heard through the book, “The Pastor” by Eugene Peterson. But Peterson credits Frederick Nietzsche with the phrase. It is simply, “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction”. This is a phrase I want to define the years ahead. This phrase to me, is not a monotony or a resolution to sailing into the sunset as I realize how quickly the first 44 years have gone. Instead this phrase has had a calming influence on me. It has helped me to piece together a semblance of peace in a rapidly moving life.
I see how quickly life moves. I see how fundamental decisions often do not feel fundamental at the time. How often in our lives are the most momentous decisions seemingly insignificant at the time? And so a long obedience in the same direction defines for me a routine faithfulness that sets my target on a persevering obedience to my King.
While I am here chugging through the forties others around me are chugging through their twenties, fifties and sixties. And whatever stage we are at I would offer nothing unique except that which has been given to me by others. I would urge you to set your heart on a long obedience in the same direction.