Skipping Ahead

I can be a terrible reader sometimes. And I was an English Major, which makes my reading habits even more shameful. It’s not so much the frequency of my reading that’s the bad part (although, if I’m entirely honest, I should probably read more and spend less time playing games on my iPhone). No, I have this terrible habit of wanting to skip ahead to the “good” part of whatever I’m reading. And I don’t just have a desire to skip ahead – I do it! I’ll randomly flip ahead a few pages and skim read, trying to determine if the new section is any better than where I’m currently reading. If it’s not, I’ll skip ahead more.

See? Terrible.

Unfortunately, I find I’m the same way in my life. I hate the slow parts. I want to get to the action – to the big moments. Maybe all this comes from watching too many movies – films always capture the big moments beautifully. Everything’s pivotal to the plot. But books generally slowly build, much like life. I hate the expository bits, and much of life feels expository.

But what I keep forgetting is that the writer intended the story to go the way it does for a reason, which means the “slow” spots are necessary to really appreciate and understand the big moments. Life, I suspect, is much the same. If God works everything together for my good, and if He truly is directing my life, then the slow spots aren’t really slow…they’re just building towards the big moments. And maybe there’s beauty in the expository pieces. Maybe that’s where his real work shines, much like a composer who takes great pains to write the 3rd and 4th instrument harmonies to more richly enhance the melody (or counter-melody). Maybe I should appreciate the beauty of the big picture, of the intricate orchestration of my successes, failures, experiences, emotions, and relationships and worry less about getting to the big moments.

Besides, when I try to skip ahead in my life, as when I’m reading a book, it always ends badly. I don’t live in the present when I do that. My thoughts are somewhere else, like I’d rather BE somewhere else, off in the fantasy, in the make-believe land that I’m dreaming about rather than the reality, good or bad, of my current circumstance. God’s in both. He doesn’t leave when it’s “boring.” He doesn’t disappear because it’s not going the way I want it to go. And I can’t peek ahead to know what He has in store years down the road, much less in the next moment.

Every moment is a gift. Every second we’re alive is a chance for redemption and learning and life and love…and even the falling down is beautiful because it reminds us how good it feels to walk and even run. Let me not skip ahead. Let me not miss the sweetness of this moment… and let me be grateful for it all.

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