A few weeks ago, I had my hair cut—way too short. I can’t blame my hair stylist. It was my fault. I showed up with about 50 different Pinterest pictures proving my indecisiveness and finally said, “Yeah, just cut it off.”
Why is it when our world feels off balance, or maybe things feel out of our control, that the solution is to have our hair above our shoulders—or red, or perhaps we need bangs? I can’t explain it any more than how the seasons inherently know to change, but I know it’s true.
It’s fine. It’s not terrible, but it’s not what I wanted either. This morning, while trying to make this new bob haircut do what I wanted—which, by the way, I don’t even know what I wanted it to do— I angrily shoved some bobby pins to hold back my way too short bangs (also my idea) and sighed, “It’s just hair, nobody cares about my hair.” After muttering this proclamation, I stared at my reflection and realized I wasn’t frustrated with my hair but getting older.
No matter how I change my hair, I can’t seem to scrub away the wrinkles that insist on etching themselves deeper into my forehead and the sides of my eyes with each laugh and furrow of my brow.
I am grateful for all my years on this Earth; I really am.
Watching your face change and your life morph is difficult, and you hold little power to stop either from happening. It doesn’t happen overnight—but it also does—this changing and reshaping of who we are. It takes time and a thousand laughs for these lines to appear, but I swear I woke up today, and they appeared out of nowhere.
Aging and life are funny this way; the lines keep deepening while our days on the calendar swiftly tear away.
I feel this urgency now more than ever; my time feels precious and short. Being in so-called mid-life, I can’t stop thinking about all I still want to do. I have goals and visions that need tending to, but instead, you’ll find me cleaning out my closet.
I wonder if you can relate to this anxious perfectionism. It creeps in, causing unrealistic expectations to use every minute wisely, and the thoughts of failure are paralyzing at times. I can feel as though all eyes are on me while I try to solve the puzzle before the buzzer goes off.
This wisdom of Limited Days
We’re dust—each one of us. We’re nothing more than dust tightly knit together, walking around with a soul and a spirit meant for more than this filthy receptacle that carries it.
As for man, his days are like grass; he floursihes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. Psalm 103:15-16
These dying, dust-filled bodies were never meant to live forever. They wear out and wear down until, eventually, they stop. “All are from the dust, and to dust all return.” Ecclesiastes 3:20
Knowing we are constantly being called back to the Earth is a terrible and true reminder that we are not our own.
Seeing the aging process before our eyes and knowing we have limitations can raise anxiety. Or, as we will see below, this truth can inspire us to strive in a healthy manner to use our time to honor the One who gave it.
The wisdom of limited days.
The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away. Psalm 90:10
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12
The Psalmist asks God to grant him a heart of wisdom through the knowledge of his short and troublesome days. He wants to understand his fragility to use the time he has wisely.
Lack of control and shortness of days can make anxiety spike and fear rise. When perfectionism is an issue, as it is for me, you can spin out of control, fearing time will be cut short before you reach your full potential. The flip side can cause you to shut down and do nothing, wanting to ignore you have an end at all. In either scenario, we neglect to trust God with the time we’ve been given.
Contrary to what my anxious mind tells me, I do not have a buzzer or a judgmental audience while I hurry to make everything perfect. Yes, we must actively use the time we have been given to live in a way that brings value, focusing not only on what we do but also on how we treat those around us. However, we have a gracious and kind God, not a harsh taskmaster counting every minute and demanding perfection.
We have a God who knows and has compassion for us.
As a father shows comapssion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. Psalm 103:10-14
His compassion for us comes from knowing how He made us–from dust.
He is the dust shaper, the One who can create a living, breathing being from dirt and then give them a magnificent purpose while lovingly showing compassion as only a good Father can.
Friend, we can confidently and joyfully live our lives while simultaneously recognizing that the dirt from which we were shaped will inevitably call us back. We’re not meant to fear the aging we see in the mirror or the day of our death. This wisdom comes from embracing our limited time and translating it into a life of kindness, graciousness, and deliberateness. We honor the one who shaped us when we accept our limits while reaching for our most significant purpose.
And one day, we will reign with him in a time when these dusty old bodies will be new. It will be glorious when the days of anxious thoughts, bad haircuts, and dust dwelling will only be a distant dream.
As always, friend, thanks for stopping by,
The wisdom of limited days