Number Our Days
By David Schmus
I am admittedly jealous of our members who are classroom educators. Summers off was such a healthy rhythm for me. It gave me time to rest, reflect, and recharge. I could go off and spend time with the Lord; praying, journaling, worshiping, and probably most importantly, listening.
The trajectory of my entire life has been changed on multiple occasions because of things the Lord spoke to me during the summer. While admitting that I don’t fully understand God’s ways—so with appropriate humility—I submit that I likely would not be the Executive Director of Christian Educators if I had not stopped, listened, and obeyed in those summers.
Now working a 12-month position instead of a 10-month, I have sought to preserve some of that “listening” capacity by taking one day a month to get out of the office to prayer walk, journal, read, worship, write, and listen. In fact, it is on one of those days here at the start of summer, sitting by a pond with honking Canada geese (pretending not to notice the idyllic- nature-scene-destroying maintenance guy power washing the picnic area next to me), that I write this.
Today I am reading “Undistracted: Capture Your Purpose, Rediscover Your Joy” by Bob Goff. In it he writes:
The average person lives about 27,375 days…How we spend our days can have incredible ramifications for good or for ill in the world. Let’s not spend a ridiculous number of them on distractions that steal our joy (p. 72-73).
His number comes out to just shy of 75 years. Given the longevity genes in my family, unless my end comes in an accident or something similar, I figure I may have more like 30,000 days (just over 82 years). Plus, it’s easier to think in round numbers.
Reading this and remembering the admonition of Psalm 90:12 “to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom,” I asked Siri how many days it has been since I was born. It turns out today is day 18,888 for me, which means I could be about 63% of the way through.
What day is this for you? (Siri will tell you, and surprisingly quickly. And while talking to Siri, say “knock knock”…you won’t be disappointed. Now do you see why I’m reading a book called “Undistracted?”)
What feelings arise as you reflect on your “numbered days?” I would encourage you to tell the enemy to shut up, because I suspect many of us may hear condemning thoughts like “I figured by now I would have…”, or “I knew I wouldn’t be able to…”, or “all those days haven’t amounted to much.”
If you are hearing those things, reject these lies immediately, as in Christ there is no condemnation (Romans 8:1). Reset your mind on what is true, which is that God is working all things together for your good if you are following Him (Romans 8:28), even if you don’t understand His timetable.
As I reflect on my numbered days, one feeling I am noticing is intense gratitude. Lord, I have wasted a whole bunch of those 18,888 days in worry, in pursuits not guided by the Spirit but by the flesh, or simply in selfish indulgence. Yet, You have taken my clumsy efforts and often divided heart, and have made something beautiful out of it (in a “cracked pot” kind of way).
Second, I find hope is rising up. Lord, Your mercies are new every morning. Despite my failures, You haven’t given up on me on any of those 18,888 days. And if I have 11,112 days remaining, I think I can count on You to be with me during those days too. And not only have You not given up on me, but have used me to impact the lives of others. Let’s do more of that Lord!
Finally, I also feel determination. Lord, every one of those 30,000 days is a precious gift, but one that expires quickly. Give me the strength to make the most of them, not out of a place of anxiety or performance orientation, but rather from a place of watchfulness, joy, and gratitude. Let me see with Your eyes and hear with Your ears so I can respond to the invitations You lay before me each day to partner with You. Let me walk in Your yoke, and lean into Your unforced rhythms of grace (Matt. 11:28-30 MSG).
So be sure to take some time this summer to get away, find your local pond with water fowl (or your prayer closet, coffee shop, or whatever works), say hello to the maintenance guy (or barista), and open your heart and mind to Him. Seek His perspective on your life, ask for His leading, and give Him your yes in return. As you do this, He will continue to make something beautiful out of your days.
What lessons have you learned by numbering your days? I would love to hear. Post below or reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
David Schmus is the Executive Director of Christian Educators Association International (ceai.org), which encourages, equips, and empowers thousands of Christian educators around the country to live out their faith legally in our public schools, and gives teachers a Biblical alternative to politicized teachers unions. Prior to his tenure at CEAI, he was a high school AP US History/Government teacher and a Christian Club adviser for 15 years, being repeatedly honored as Most Inspirational Teacher. He holds an M.A. in Biblical Studies and Theology from Biola University, and has taught Biblical Worldview and Introduction to Teaching classes at Biola as an adjunct professor. David has been interviewed for numerous radio, podcast, and online/print outlets, including World Magazine, Christianity Today, Salem and Bott radio networks, and the Moms in Prayer podcast. He leads and co-hosts the annual Rise Up Summit, an online conference that attracts over 10,000 Christian educators yearly. David and his wife Elizabeth have been married for 29 years, have 5 daughters, and are based in Orange County, California.