Breathing Time Machine

by MitchellRichards

It’s funny how conversations often fall back on all the things you could and should have been, and not so often on the things you are to become. By that, I mean I’ve been having a lot of conversations lately about myself and all the things I wanted to do when I was younger and how more often than to I have not accomplished those things. Don’t get me wrong though, sometimes when you grow older you realize you don’t want the things you thought you did. And, I’m not talking about dumb things like dreaming of being a gajillionaire by 23 or being a rock ‘n roll icon, I’m talking about the normal things, finishing college and having a family, all that boring stuff you know…

If I could go back in time 10 years and chat with my 16 year old self, I don’t really know what I would say to him…

“Hey kid, get ready for a lot of things left unfinished. Get ready to have your heart broken a few times. Get ready to chase God, because you feel close to him now, but just wait. Get ready to continue to struggle with the exact same crap you’ve always struggled with. Get ready to be be doing the same kind of jobs you are doing now, except hoping it will all end soon. Forget about the youth ministry thing, take writing classes and study grammar a little better, it’ll all pay off in the end.

Play a little more and love a little harder. Don’t look so bored all the time. Drive 12 hours in every direction.”

It would be a little too much for my 16 year old self to handle, and I probably wouldn’t listen to him because in all honesty, these are the kinds of things everyone tells you when you are young.

It is a weird place to be when you are ashamed of what you are but excited to become what you know you could become, yet not able to quite get there because you are lazy.

No one is going to provide a great job fr me unless I find it myself. No one is gonna drop down a bunch of thousand dollars to pay to go back to college. No one is going to fund my dream vacation. No one if going to get me funds to up and move away.

I always thought getting away from wherever you came from meant success. I still live in the town I grew up in, I still eat at the same restaurants I’ve always eaten at. Heck, I coach soccer on the same exact fields that I used to practice soccer on.

But you see…

It’s all what you do with it…

I guess…

The me I am now isn’t the me I had planned out 10 years ago, which makes me scared for the me 10 years from now. I realized the other day that I don’t really have any goals anymore. When I was 16 my goals were to go to college, become a youth minister, maybe settle down with a tall cute girl, and see what happens. Now, at 26, I don’t really know what I want.

I dropped out of school.
Decided not to be a youth minister.
Still waiting to see what will happen, so I’ve got that going for me.

But again, I don’t think I really want those things anymore. Sure, maybe I’d like to get back into school, but I don’t want to be a youth pastor anymore, and I don’t really know if I want a wife and kids, at least not yet, I know I’m not ready for it.

I’ve fond life to be a crazy journey, and it’s been the small things that have got me to where I like to be. I’ve noticed that the most beautiful moments in life involve chance, or maybe I’d call it grace, and random things. Relationships die out, bridges get burned, and as unfortunate as that is, I seem to find myself being constantly surrounded by great people who love me.

I always picture Jesus as some serious guy who never smiles, but when I get to heaven and it’s time for that whole “well done, my good and faithful servant” chat I’ve heard about, if I make the cut, I want Jesus to give me a nuggee or something. I want to have beers with him and see if I can talk him into telling a that’s what she said joke. I want this, because I want to know that he understands my frustrations with him, that he understands that I have no idea what it means to be a human, that I need help on finding my purpose here.

I don’t think God runs from us. Even in my most desperate of times when I’ve felt God wasn’t around, I don’t think that’s how he plays. Life isn’t a hide-and-go-seek-and-seek-by-reading-your-Bible game.

God is totally weird because, when you’re like me, even when you choose the wrong path he is still there. And even when you choose wrong right after that, he is still there. And wrong turn after that, he is still there. And even when you can’t take it anymore, when you are so fed up with who you are versus who God wants you to be that you write a confusing blog, he is still there. Weird right?

And the whole time he is there, I envision him just shaking his head like someone who is waiting in the cold on their dog to go pee. “Just pee already.” God would say. “Get it out of your system for Christ’s sake.” Then he would smile probably.

The tricky part to life is matching up your plans with God’s plans. I think 16 year old me had no idea what life was actually like and made some plans for myself to avoid ever finding out. I think God thought my plans were really cute and put them on the floor of his bird cage for the birds to poop on. Then, for the next ten years or so, I chased my tail, destroyed my plans, and have spent a big chunk of my time trying to clean up that mess, but I think God is nodding now, scratching his chin, muttering under his breath that he has me right where he wants me. But not in a creepy, serial killer kind of way, more like a person who offers up a free vacation to someone who keeps making excuses not to go kind of way.

Even though I don’t feel it, and even though most days I certainly don’t know it, I am where I am supposed to be. This 26 year old version of me is the only me I was ever supposed to be, and even though I may not be happy with that, God is happy with it because he has that weird ability to know where I am headed. I just have to surrender my plans and get on his program. I just need to see that same potential in myself as he sees in me.

Real funny Jesus.

[Don’t forget, you can download a free ebook of my book Definitive Blurs, by clicking this link]