The summer I was fifteen, life opened up for me. I was no longer in the geeky, chubby young teen stage, but a lean, older, trying-to-be-confident teen.
I'd completed my first year as a cashier for Publix and finally, I was allowed to leave the Express Lane and work a big register. Woo hoo. You do not know how much this meant to me! I no longer worked 11 - 2pm but 5 - 9pm. I'd arrived.
I'd also caught the attention of two part-time stockman, Pete Ramirez and Kevin Rattigan. They flirted and winked, smiled and complimented. My unsure confidence about my potential beauty or lack there of, soared. Other started to notice me too. (Pretty funny stories ensued, but later.)
I'd kind of been dating my brother's friend (and mine) but when these older "men" turned their attention to me, the other guy didn't have quite the same appeal. Fickle are the emotions of a fifteen year old.
I fell pretty hard for the dark eyed, dark haired Pete with his amazing smile and muscular frame. And he played hard to get for a really long time. He'd lure me close, then push me away. The entire store was involved in our drama. From the manager on down. Pete liked me but never asked me out.
I've blogged about that ordeal on these pages before, so I won't bore you with the recap. But finally, I'd turned sixteen and after lo so many months, he asked me out. We had four months together before my family moved from south to north Florida.
But I thought I was in love, thought he was the one. Then he wasn't the one and I met someone else. And another someone else. I went to college and met lots of guys. Though I didn't think any of them were "the one" I was looking, waiting, wondering.
When I met Hubby, all the waiting and wondering stopped. Recurring dreams about running out of my wedding, ended.
Looking back, I'm so glad I didn't commit my life to my sixteen-year-old female emotions. I know it's worked for many, many couples, but life still had a journey for me.
At sixteen, that journey was hard to see, hard to imagine. Sometimes we commit to a person or a job, or a way of life because we just can't see beyond the moment.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us God has written eternity on our hearts. In other words, it is within our very core to believe, know and trust that there is a life after this one. Eternity. In our hardest moment, on our toughest days, we can look up and believe God that an infinitely much better life is coming.
Based on the understanding I would one day be married to the man God had for me, I calculated my choices and my actions. I modified my behavior for the life I wanted to live not just in the moment, but five and ten years down the road.
I wanted a career, so I studied and went to college. I wanted to earn a good living, so I worked hard on my jobs.
We must apply the same to the Next Life. Don't live just for today, but for the era when this age will end and Jesus will come again, ushering in a new era, a new age, one that goes on for Eternity.
So what you're not rich in this life. You have all of eternity to become rich. So what you've given up a few meals for fasting, or a few television programs to be on your face before the Lord in prayer. Those heart motions will be rewarded by Jesus.
Hollywood will not take any of us into eternity. McDonalds, and y'all know I love McDonalds, will not fix my ills, or fix my place in the next life.
But a postured heart toward the Lord will. Look, I'm not saying go all religious and not live this life. Please. LIVE IT! I am. This life is my internship for the next. And frankly, I want a good showing.
I am not saved or justified by my works, no, no, hear me, it's all on Jesus and the work of the Cross. But what I do with my time, words, money and emotions IS on me. Those are the things I can "take with me."
I write because Jesus put it in my heart. I'm writing out of both love and obedience. I want to be a writer in the Kingdom, you know?
So, consider your thoughts and emotions? Are you too wrapped up in the "now" to consider the future? Are you in love with your "fifteen-year-old boyfriend" and truncating all your possibilities and potential?
Hear: fifteen year old boyfriend is a metaphor!
Pray to understand the beauty and value of eternity being written on your heart. Then walk in it.