Article by: Kristine Bolt
Forty-five percent. Almost half. That’s how much of my life I wasted. I calculated it.
Half of my one and only life. Time I’ll never get back.
Wasted through impatience, passivity, and cowardice.
First, I kicked God to the curb because I wanted answers from Him, and He seemed deafeningly silent.
Then I turned my back on how I knew God wanted me to live. Instead, I went along with others’ expectations and demands. Better to please the people I wanted to love me than please a seemingly silent God, right?
By that time, my life looked fabulous on the outside.
But inside, I knew that it was all wrong. And way down deep, I knew why it was all wrong. But I lacked the courage to squarely face and repent from my bad decisions.
After all, how stupid would I look to let it all go? Besides, let it go and replace it with what?
So I lost more years to my cowardice. Struggling and sinking deeper into my self-built quicksand of a life. Drowning in fake happiness. Gasping for elusive joy.
For half of my life. All that time. Wasted.
Grief Over Our Wasted Years
I was recently washing dishes in my kitchen when I tuned in to my mental chatter. What I heard startled me. Because I realized that I was seriously bothered by those wasted years.
I mean, it’s time. The one asset you can never get back. You can replace almost anything else in your life. Money, stuff, even relationships sometimes.
But never time.
Perhaps your wasted years bother you, too.
Maybe, like me, it bothers you to start over from scratch. To see years of paying your dues again stretch out before you. Years of climbing a whole new ladder. Planting seeds and hoping for a harvest that seems distant, and sometimes impossible.
Or maybe, also like me, it bothers you to release some of your dreams. The ones that survived through your lost years. The ones that may never become real, because time now feels short.
As I stood over my sink of dirty dishes, it sure bothered me that I let those years of my life slip like sand through my fingers.
So maybe, like me, you grieve your lost years, like a beloved friend who died too soon. You grieve where you could have been by now; what you could have achieved in that lost time.
And maybe, like me, you’ve gotten lost in your grief.Maybe, like me, you grieve your lost years, like a beloved friend who died too soon. You grieve where you could have been by now; what you could have achieved in that lost time
3 Lessons From the Life of Moses
All Scripture quotations are from the ESV unless otherwise noted.
Moses. God’s man who delivered Israel from slavery, then led them to the edge of the Promised Land.
Moses did amazing things. Bested Pharaoh. Parted the Red Sea. Met personally with God all the time.
But before Moses’ amazing feats, he made bad decisions and ran away from them. Boy, isn’t that familiar?Before Moses’ amazing feats, he made bad decisions and ran away from them. Boy, isn’t that familiar?
When he was 40 years old, Moses had a big vision for his life. He wanted to free his Israelite brothers from slavery. Which, it turns out, was God’s plan for Him, too.
But Moses saw an opportunity to accomplish his dream right now. And in his impatience — thinking he was making a good decision — he chose to handle things his way. We see in Acts 7:24-25:
And seeing one of them being wronged, he defended the oppressed man and avenged him by striking down the Egyptian. He supposed that his brothers would understand that God was giving them salvation by his hand, but they did not understand.
So instead of becoming Israel’s great liberator, Moses ended up fleeing into obscurity for 40 years.
Just imagine: Moses went from living in luxury in Pharaoh’s palace, the best of everything at his fingertips. To being plunged into the unprincely, dusty life of a shepherd somewhere in the Midianite desert.
He probably felt forgotten by God and everybody back in Egypt.
For 40. Whole. Years.
Now, not to put words into Moses’ mouth. But you’ve gotta imagine that at some point during those 40 obscure years, he probably thought he’d wasted his potential and his life. Half of it, actually (ouch!).
But then, the burning bush.
When God showed up in the burning bush, He didn’t address Moses’ wasted 40 years. He didn’t soothe Moses about lost time. And He didn’t give Moses a motivational talk about how He’d make it all better.
So where’s the first ray of hope in Moses’ story of wasted years?
In the fact that God, in His own timing, dropped Moses right back into the plan He’d had all along: to use Moses to liberate His people. God says in Acts 7:34:
I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt.
That was all. God simply said, “Hey Moses, it’s go-time.”
Lesson: You may have made decisions that resulted in years that feel wasted. But your decisions haven’t thwarted God’s plan for you. His plan is coming in His timing.
Action: Use your wasted years as a reminder to trust God and be patient while you prayerfully wait on Him.
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! Psalm 27:13-14Use your wasted years as a reminder to trust God and be patient while you prayerfully wait on Him.
The second ray of hope in Moses’ story is the fact that God’s plan was far more audacious than Moses’ original plan could ever have been.
Forty years earlier — when Moses was back in Egypt dreaming of being Israel’s liberator — bet he never conceived of the real power that God could unleash through him, as we see in Acts 7:36:
This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in Egypt and at the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years.
Moses’ they’ll-love-and-respect-me dreams for himself couldn’t even come close to God’s signs-and-wonders plan for him.
Lesson: Your plans that you followed into wasted years may have been based on a vision God planted in your heart. But don’t chain yourself to your way of bringing them around.
Action: Use your wasted years as a reminder that God will bring about His plans for you in a way that fulfills His purpose, not yours.
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverbs 19:21Use your wasted years as a reminder that God will bring about His plans for you in a way that fulfills His purpose, not yours.
The third ray of hope in Moses’ story is in the fact that God restored Moses to a place of honor.
Remember that 40 years prior, Moses has been a prince in Egypt. Probably highly respected. Then, as a consequence of his own decisions, he lost that.
To the Egyptians and Israelites, he was simply an inconsequential murderer. But Acts 7:35 says:
This Moses, whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’—this man God sent as both ruler and redeemer by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush.
Despite Moses’ protests (check out Exodus 3:11-4:17), God picked him up, shook the desert dust off him, and restored him. And all Moses had to do was take God up on his offer to do things His way.
Lesson: Like Moses, your wasted years may have eroded your confidence and caused you to wonder, “Who am I for God to use me?” But Jesus’ blood has bought your redemption. And part of that redemption is your restoration.
Action: Don’t add to your wasted years by brooding over what could have been. God stands ready to restore you if you’ll leave the past behind and turn your gaze forward.
Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? Isaiah 43:18-19aDon’t add to your wasted years by brooding over what could have been. God stands ready to restore you if you’ll leave the past behind and turn your gaze forward.
God’s Word On Our Wasted Years
Back at my kitchen sink, I sagged over my dirty dishes, lost in grief over the wasted half of my life.
Then I remembered that God doesn’t want that for me. He doesn’t want that for you either.
Actually, He had a word for me. Perhaps the same word He has for you today:
Precious one, I didn’t want those years for you, but they weren’t wasted. Because you’ve let them shaped you into the woman you are today, who desperately and relentlessly pursues Me. I have plans for you that you can’t even begin to imagine, and a purpose for your life that eclipses anything you can conceive of. You’ll see it all come alive when I’m ready. Until then, precious one, trust me and be patient.
So were your years wasted?
God says, no, they don’t have to be.
“The threshing floors shall be full of grain; the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you.” -Joel 2:24-25
A few years ago, Kris was living a life that looked great from the outside but was far from great on the inside. She knew something was wrong but didn’t know exactly what, and nothing she tried could make her happy in her unhappy but attractive life. Then God dramatically handed her the keys to unlock her life. So much drama! Now she shares what she’s learned, so that other women can proactively make new decisions and avoid their own painful and unnecessary drama. Read more at KristineBolt.com and connect with Kristine on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.