“Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.” (Verse 4)

You won’t live forever. Whether we’re aware of it on a daily basis or not, our lives will come to an end. This isn’t the most uplifting realization, but it’s one that I don’t want to take for granted. If we only have a limited time in this life to do the things God put us here to do, the things God put desires in our heart to seek and experience, then why do we spend our time pursuing anything else? That’s the question I found myself asking at 4 AM in Verona, Italy…

I spent most of my life chasing after the approval of others - making decisions based on who it would satisfy, planning my career for the future so that it would impress people, and pretending to be someone else so that I had the most friends. It was exhausting. But at 4 AM in Verona, Italy, two weeks into my three-month study abroad trip, I heard the disappointment in my dad’s voice through the phone after he heard just how off-track I had gotten. My lifestyle had taken me from a rule-following highschooler trying to please her parents to a people-pleasing college student doing anything to gain the approval of strangers. I had tried so hard to impress everyone else that I had lost sight of what mattered. It was like I was holding my breath, scared to exhale for fear that everything would come crashing down. But that night, I realized I couldn’t keep up the charade any longer, and had to let go of everything I’d been trying to hold onto. It was then that I understood - sometimes you have to lay it all down in order to pick up what God’s telling you to carry.

“Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure. Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom: in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth without knowing whose it will finally be.” (Verses 5-6)

We become consumed with school, relationships, money, diets, and career paths, desperately trying to control these areas to make ourselves feel secure. However, even the most careful planning can’t protect us from the fact that we only have so much time here. For some people, that might sound scary. But I think the message of this Psalm is meant to be more of a warning. I think this Psalm is saying “Wake up”. Don’t go through your life half asleep. You only get one life (yes, YOLO lol), and it’s too precious of a gift to spend it worrying about things that you can’t take with you to heaven.

There’s a song by Sleeping at Last called Saturn, and it ends by saying, “How rare and beautiful it truly is that we exist.” My prayer is that you will understand that you are a one of a kind gift to this world. That you realize your thoughts are like no one else’s and that people need to hear them. No one else can think, say, or do the things that you can. I pray that you don’t take this life for granted, and that you use your days here to advance the kingdom in a way that only you can do.

Author | Maddie Marsh