Numbering Our Days

The Psalm of Moses found in the 90th Psalm is one of my favorites. I’m also guilty of saying the same thing about the other 149 Psalms. I was nudged to do a four-week series in this great Old Testament book. Now, I wish I had insisted that it be a 150-week series. Bet you’ve never heard of a 150-week sermon series!

Recently, I camped out in verse 12 of Psalm 90:

"Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (NIV)

I especially like the New Living Translation of this verse:

“Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.” (NLT)

Who among us would not want to have more wisdom? Isn’t wisdom the missing jewel of our lives?

In my twenties--and even into my mid-thirties--it did not occur to me that I was aging. It was easy to assume that life at 25 was the way life would be forever.

Then I blinked.


After I blinked, I was celebrating my thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, living in the “empty nester” stage, enjoying two grandkids, and continually looking forward to the Sunday nights when all the kids, spouses, and grandkids come to the house. The other side of the “blink” has me fast approaching that age marked by a “6” as the first digit.

While I have few regrets, I would certainly do a few things differently if I could rewind the tape and go back. I’d say “no” more frequently and leave more room in the schedule to just do as Deuteronomy says, “talk about things as you sit at home, while taking more walks with the family, more bedtime stories and conversations, and more breakfasts around the kitchen table.” Sounds like a script for the Hallmark Channel!

While there would have been no downside to doing more of the Deuteronomy plan, it is far easier to talk about it--or fantasize about it--than live it out in reality. If I could go back to that first decade of marriage, I’d work harder at talking through things that caused tension or stress in our marriage. Don’t get me wrong: we’ve had a great marriage, but I should have called a counselor earlier than I did and worked through my insecurities, anxiety, and the need to succeed for approval.

I guess I would do these things assuming it would create the perfect environment for all things to be...well, perfect. Which is, of course, impossible.

Now I am choosing to look at each day carefully, wisely, and with a higher purpose in mind. I’ve learned I’m not responsible for the world. I’m learning to say “no.” Many wonderful people think they need to talk to me, when in reality they need to talk to one of our 30-plus pastors, each with expertise in various stages of life issues. For whatever reason, it took me being in my fifties to begin to realize how fast life happens and to realize the stark reality that I have fewer days ahead than I’ve already lived.

I’m choosing not to focus on that.

I’m numbering my days and praying for that “heart of wisdom.” I’m trying to create more margin in the schedule, making room for God to show up unexpectedly, and thus, have time for a divine interruption.

And, I’m gearing up to be the most annoying, overbearing, ever-present grandfather one can be.

I’m most thankful for some amazing examples of what the next few decades of my life can look like. God has blessed me with wonderful family members as well as lifelong friends who show me that the best days are yet to come.

"Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.”

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