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Stop Wasting Your Existence

Stop Wasting Your Existence

The healthiest of us will maybe get 90 years on this planet. The rest of us? Somewhere around 80. That’s roughly 4,000 Monday mornings, and I’d guess the average reader has already begrudgingly endured 1,500 of them.

For me, that’s a sobering thought. I often spend my Monday morning wishing it away. I want to get through the 10 hour work day, through 6 months til that precious week of vacation, or through 3 years at a job so I can move on to something more “exciting.” I think about my life in these bland units of time, but I’m starting to think “time” doesn’t fully capture what’s going on.

Sure, 80 years is a measure of time, but more than that it is a measure of Existence. A finite, ever decreasing one. I won’t ever wake up with more Monday mornings on this planet; it’s always less than I had the Monday before. To think of it as only time past does nothing more than lull us into unevaluated complacency. But to think think of another Monday morning gone as one week less to exist? That speaks to our desire for purpose and eternity – both hardwired narratives capable of driving our behavior.

Existence is at once beautiful and fleeting. To reminisce is both an exercise in reliving past joy coupled with the present pain in knowing those moments are gone. We cannot recreate them, and our memories of them grow ever less real. But the progression of our existence does not mean what has been is anything less meaningful. On the contrary, what has been can and should breathe more life into the present moment if we let it.

Yes, existence moves along the dimension of time, but it also moves in depth and richness and beauty. It results in friendships that exist not only because of the time past, but because of the intimacy and fullness of each passing moment that culminates most beautifully in the present. The most meaningful things in our lives are often the result of choosing to exist beyond just the clock moving forward. It is the purpose and intention with which we live that actually calls more existence into being for you and those around you. The clock does not stop, but we are free to fill it with moments that carry life into the now and the future. The trick is we have to choose it.

But choosing it is hard. We default towards the comfortable, immediate, and easy. We find ourselves scrolling social media for hours on end. But this is not just wasting time, it is wasting existence. If we are made to create, habitual and mindless consumption is a denial of who we are. When we waste existence, we make less of the things that bring more life into the world. Your identity as a creator calls you to bring order into the chaos of your home. It calls you to take raw color or sound and turn it into something timeless and soul stirring. Whether you feel it or not, you were wired to fill out that spreadsheet with earnest so your project meets the client deadline. We have the God given and ordained opportunity to push back the suffering of this world by wringing every ounce of life out of every minute and doing something worthy of your existence with it.

When we choose to live for a purpose, to create order and beauty and provide for ourselves and others, it means every past moment lived as such is still now and forever meaningful. Moments well lived powerfully pull the past forward to bear on the present. It is adding dimension and range and depth to your life no passing Monday can strip away. Even better, these moments well lived begin to snowball and rush headlong into our eternity that is Jesus. He stands with you in each and every moment. There is nothing able to marry the past and present like relationship – with Him most profoundly, but with our human relationships as well. Every time you choose to turn off Netflix and go exist with others is a brick in the foundation of the now and future Kingdom. A Kingdom that stands outside of time and will exist forevermore. There is no waste there.

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Joe Danehower

Business strategy consultant living in Charleston, SC. Aggressively average rock climber. Obsessive consumer of books, music, and podcasts. I'm not as funny as I think I am.

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