“All In” Living

December 14, 2010 | President's Slice
By Joe Hale

“All In” Living

I’ll go ahead and confess: I like country music—a lot of it anyway. Yes, I know… some of it is as trashy as it gets, full of beer-drinkin’, night-clubbin’, and bar room stories. That’s probably true of many categories of music, but country music is also full of “real-life” stuff… ballads and stories of where we really live and the importance of relationships and people. Just the other day, I heard this song and immediately could relate to the lyrics:

You're Gonna Miss This
Songwriters: Gorley, Ashley; Miller, Lee;

She was staring out that window, of that SUV
Complaining, saying I can't wait to turn 18
She said I'll make my own money, and I'll make my own rules
Mamma put the car in park out there in front of the school
Then she kissed her head and said I was just like you

You're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this

Before she knows it she's a brand new bride
In a one-bedroom apartment, and her daddy stops by
He tells her It's a nice place
She says It'll do for now
Starts talking about babies and buying a house
Daddy shakes his head and says Baby just slow down

'Cause You're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this

Five years later there's a plumber workin' on the water heater
Dog's barkin', phone's ringin'
One kid's cryin', one kid's screamin'
She keeps apologizin'
He says they don't bother me
I've got 2 babies of my own
One's 36, one's 23
Huh, it's hard to believe

But you're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this
You're gonna miss this
Yeah, you're gonna miss this

My family lived in South Korea for 15 years, and to be forthright, as in any cross-cultural living situation, there were times when we just wanted to “go home.” The hassles and difficulties of living overseas sometimes simply get to you. Our human nature so easily concentrates on what irritates us, causes us discomfort, or simply conflicts with what we are used to. But, true to form, as soon as we moved from Korea, we started missing it… the restaurant delivery boy… the food… the smells… even the vendors passing by with their loudspeakers.

In my role as President of NICS, I have the privilege of traveling a lot, meeting with our missionaries, hearing the victories and struggles of our people on the field. Some of them serve in hard places… maybe all of them serve in hard places. They miss their families; they miss their own country and culture; they miss their friends, their home town, and their neighbors. Those in South America miss winters being cold; those serving in Central Asia miss Sunday being the day of worship. They miss grandma being available to love on her grandkids and babysit from time to time.

It’s also true of stages of life. When we are young, we wish we were older, and when we are old, we grasp for the energy we had in younger days. When the kids are small, we think we’ll never have a moment’s rest again, and when they leave us, we miss their noise, their messes, their laughter, and on we go.

How we need to learn to live in the moment! Like the Apostle Paul says, “…be content in whatever state we find ourselves.” We are already cognoscente of the fact that God is in control of our lives and our circumstances, but oh how we like to look at the green pastures (we think) on the other side of the fence. While the feelings of homesickness that missionaries have are valid and reflect our love for home, family, and friends God has given us, those very feelings can also be a distraction. “When I get home, it’s gonna be like this or that…,” or “Why don’t they just do things here my way (the right way!)” Why don’t we learn just to enjoy the ride, right where we are? Be “all in” every moment… every phase… every angle of life!

I wonder how much of life we miss because we’re looking elsewhere as life happens all around us? That’s not the kind of life I want to live, and I think that God has much more for us than we usually grasp. How many opportunities do we miss to see Him work because we didn’t open the door He put before us? How many people were left un-blessed because we ignored someone He placed in our path? Do we see the path of life as one lined with unwrapped gifts, most of which remain a mystery to us because we were on a race rather than a journey?

Ah, some other country songs come to mind: “Live Like You Were Dying.” Sail! Jump! Ride! Run! “I Hope You Dance!” Oh my, why do we not grasp this idea as God’s people? Country musicians seem to!

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