by Christopher Paré

Katelyn and I had a wonderfully productive night on Friday.  We rearranged some furniture and accomplished an impressive amount of cleaning.  In the midst of this we talked about hanging a shelf in our bedroom.  She has a very specific use in mind for the shelf that requires it to be mounted on an otherwise strange part of the wall.  my response to her desire was to say “what about years from now when we rearrange our furniture or possibly use a different room in the house as our bedroom?”  She responded by asking me if she should really consider what may or may not happen a decade from now in her decision to mount the shelf.

This exchange is a remarkably accurate representation of how I’ve found myself approaching the world.  To me, the future is a powerful reality that our actions in the present have a definitive impact on.  Thus, we must weigh the possible impact of our actions as often and as accurately as possible.  The approach has taken a much stronger presence in my life now that I am a husband and father.  Seeing Alice grow every day gives me a sense of how short life is and how quickly I will find myself with at least one teenager to take care of.  The irony of it all comes full circle when I think back about two and a half to three years.

I was pretty well steeped in the belief that all we have is today.  I didn’t want to make long term plans, work out budgets, or anything of the sort and would cite Matthew 6:25-34 as my “proof text” (proof texting is a whole other can of worms I’ll hopefully get around to talking about here).  I wouldn’t go as far as to say that no one should live a life free of long term plans, but when you have a family it just turns into poor stewardship of the path that God has placed you on.

So now I’m finding myself struggling between the two extremes. I, in my finite existence, can only plan and understand so much of the future.  The arrogant side of me wants a 20 year plan that has every little kink planned out with a fix while the childish side of me just wants to come home from work and do nothing.

Self control truly is a fruit of the Spirit.