The 10 Year Challenge
28 January, 2019
Everyone loves a good laugh, and with the recent 10 Year Challenge social media craze, there has been no shortage of hilarity as we peer back and scrutinize one another’s journey to the present. If that sounds like gibberish, just hop on Twitter and search #10YearChallenge. If that isn't your thing, go ahead and open up an old photo album, find a photo of yourself from 10 years ago, and stand in front of a mirror holding it next to your face to see how you’ve changed. For many of us, this transformation, often from adolescence to adulthood, reveals how we’ve grown and matured. Our taste & style has improved. Our conversations have some semblance of depth. That awful acne has receded. It’s fun — and slightly embarrassing — to see who we once were, and to quote Matchbox Twenty, “how far we’ve come.” I posit, though, what if instead of fixating on who we were 10 years ago and the progress we’ve made (or haven’t), we focus our attention toward the next 10 years, especially on our relationship with God.
What does your relationship with God look like now? What do you think it will look like in a decade? Will you be passionate? Do you see yourself abandoning your faith? Maybe you’re full of zeal today, but are you committed to run the race? Perhaps you already feel disillusioned by the church and how people you once admired appear to stand for things that seem contrary to Jesus' character & decisions. Life is a long time, and by observing the changes we've experienced over the past 10 years, it begs to question what the next 10, 20, 30, 40 or 50 years will bring.
Reflecting and looking back reminds us of where we’ve been, but unless it’s used to appreciate what we once had and help us move forward in healthy ways, what’s the point? Looking back cost Lot’s wife her life (Gen 19:26). Paul exhorts us to forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead, pressing on toward the goal to win the prize (of eternal life) for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:13b - 14). I’m not advocating that we attempt to plan our future, step-by-step; but, if we don’t have an inkling of aspiration to live connected to the vine, who is Jesus, we'll never live into the fullness of who God has created us to be. What is life apart from Him who gives it?
10 years from now, if we choose to reflect, how will we approach who we've become? Fortune-telling aside, it can be surmised from the last 10 years of experience that many of us will have stopped running the race. More will probably become increasingly ‘busy.’ For some, families will grow, or jobs will demand even more of us. Is our faith important or central enough to our identity to fight for? Will we relinquish our passion for Jesus to Sunday mornings from 10am - 12pm only, if even then?
For almost 10 years now I've set a goal to try and love God more than I did yesterday, which has become a guiding light in my life. Admittedly, I fail over and over and over. But, I wonder as I look back at the last 10 years, would I even be a Christian now if it wasn’t for intentional, and often daily priority resetting that aligns to that pursuit? It’s easy to tell ourselves we won’t change and that culture (or the world) has no sway on us, but even in my own life, I see how it’s much easier to slip into apathy, frustration, or disillusionment than it is to fight for a life and faith that reflects Christ’s.
Perhaps we’d all be better if we changed the #10YearChallenge narrative to reflect on what’s ahead rather than what’s behind. What kind of faith will you have 10 years from now?