Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how.” Matthew 16:24 (MSG)
I’ve been on this earth a good number of days now. Today makes 16, 418 to be exact. You’d think that somewhere along the 10,000 day mark I’d have things pretty well figured out. I mean, even with the fact that your cognitive memory doesn’t kick in for a thousand days or so, there’s still plenty of days to get things figured out.
I think the I’m as much “in process” today as any time in my entire life. The first 4,000 days processes a lot of physical growth. Then social and relational growth kicks in for a few thousand days as you process how to walk with others in the midst of your community. While relational growth pretty much goes on your entire life, my experience is that the bulk of it happens in the first 10,000 days. The patterns are set and major changes are rare (though sometimes necessary). It’s fine tuning at that point.
So after your 10,000th day, what is left to process and grow is largely spiritual. In my experience, that’s the hardest part of all. The phsyical and relational growth sort of happens naturally on its own, but spiritual growth happens mostly by choice, and choosing out of the process of spiritual growth is usually much easier in the moment than choosing in. Choosing to follow Jesus, by Jesus own admission, is a difficult path. It’s a lot about giving up possession and letting loose from control, and I’ve discovered I’m not very good at it. I am reminded today that the path that leads to Life first leads through suffering and the death. The path to the empty tomb leads first to the cross. [sigh]
I look back, then look forward, then peek deep inside. If the psalmist is right, I’ve got about 12,000 to 13,000 days left at best. Some days, I’m not sure it’ll be enough for all the spiritual processing that’s still needed.