I barter with myself. Do you do this?
Talk to yourself, make little internal deals, usually never follow through. Sometimes it’s small stuff like “if you don’t eat another slice of pizza at lunch you could have a beer tonight” or “I won’t go out with the boys tonight so I can have a few more dollars and will have more money to enjoy going out next week with.”
And sometimes it’s bigger things “It’s already 9pm. If I stay later at work tonight I can be home at a good hour tomorrow and Nolan will still be up. He’s already in bed.” More time working during non-Nolan hours so that I can be home during Nolan hours the next day.
We do it all the time. We trade our present for a better future.
Have you ever considered how much you’ve traded and for what?
Like the ending to every terrible family movie where some absent family leader learns that family is the most important part.
But what about the other important parts? What about the life you were made to live and the relationships you we’re handed to hold and nurture?
I was thinking the other day about getting a part time job. Nothing much but a little extra so things wouldn’t be so tight with me and Sarah. But Nolan is only this old once. He’ll never be how he is now again. I would miss playing swords with our spoons while I try to feed him. I’d miss the look in his face when he hears a fun song on the radio. It’s now or never.
And then I thought about all the other things I’d miss. I’d miss opportunities to pour into others. I’d lose time to engage in community and relationship. I’d lose touch with people I care about.
It’s not just family that loses out when we trade the present for a better future that may never come. How many people do you know that say “once things settle down” and “once it’s all a little easier”?
It’s it ever quieter or easier?
Without the investment now there are people you will never get another shot at investing in. Without the investment in the present there may be no relationships ready for you to be life and light in.
I suppose you could start then. You could purpose yourself to meet people and be broken and messy together in a few days, months, years, etc.
Honestly, why will it happen then? And are the people you will meet in the future really that much more important than the people you could know now?
Is your work/hobbies/sleep/etc. honestly more important than the relationships you’re forfeiting now? More important than the love and grace you were made to share? More important than sharing light in darkness and letting people see heaven for the very first time?
And why will it be so easy in the future? Why will you then be able to make the change to be other-centred?
Life is all about priorities. We’ve talked about it before. I hope your living your life with the priorities you think you are because the life we’re talking about leading, the life of compassion, won’t just happen.
It’s a choice, a dedication, a sacrifice you’re being called to make daily.
Maybe today is the day you go and try one of these or at least be honest with yourself about your actually doing or not doing.