January 6, 2019

“I’m All In!”

“Look, Daddy! I’m all in!” yelled my 7-year-old son from the laundry room. My wife and daughter were away for the weekend, and we were spending “man time,” as we like to call it. (Don’t tell my wife, but that basically consists of increased amounts of TV time, aka “brain rotting,” no bedtimes, really limited personal hygiene, and lots of junk food.)

As I approached him I was speechless! I had asked my son to pull the clothes out of the washing machine and place them in the dryer. (Chores still need to be done, “man time” or not.) So my son, not to be deterred by his lack of height—and in an effort to streamline the process of removing the wet clothes and get back to the aforementioned “brain rotting”—had stepped into the washing machine!

Upon seeing this I barked loudly, “No! No! No!” He scrambled out of the washing machine and picked up the clean, wet clothes he had dropped on the floor. (Again, please don’t share this with my wife.)

As I left the laundry room I began to think about how many times I’ve complained about any kind of situation that I’m in: a job, a person I don’t like, a personal crisis I’m going through, it could be any unpleasant thing I’m dealing with. It’s easy to focus our thoughts on negative things. But the harder thing is to recognize that we aren’t God, and that we don’t know everything. So we should just say, “God, I’m all in!”

Now, I’m not saying that we should go through life wearing rose-colored glasses. The sad reality is that life on this broken-down, sin-scarred planet is difficult at best, but we don’t have to spend time focusing on those difficulties.

What does that look like in real life? I’m glad you asked. Solomon, the wisest man in the world, put all of life into perspective by recognizing that we’re all going to die someday. In light of this harsh reality how should we respond? Eugene Peterson put it like this: “Each day is God’s gift. It’s all you get in exchange for the hard work of staying alive. Make the most of each one! Whatever turns up, grab it and do it. And heartily! This is your last and only chance at it” (Eccl. 9:9, 10, The Message).

While Solomon says that we should live it up down here, he’s not advocating spending life going from one party to another, or choosing never to have a job—spending the rest of our days on some perpetual vacation. No! He’s saying that it’s important—even OK—to enjoy and take pleasure in life. He reminds us that we should recognize each day as truly a gift from God.

So in 2019, whatever we choose to do, let’s go all in! Just don’t do it with any major appliances. I’m pretty sure that will void the warranty.

Omar Miranda, a counselor and writer, lives with his family in unplain Plainville, Georgia.