on Watchers

We were warriors on the front lines
Standing, unafraid
But now we’re watchers on the sidelines
While our families slip away

~ from the song “Courageous” by Casting Crowns

Do you ever feel like life is passing you by? That you are doing nothing more than just watching, as you go through the motions of whatever is needed for the day? We are so very busy. Running from activity to activity, responsibility to responsibility, until we have little more than time to just brush our teeth and collapse into bed. Then, like hamsters on a wheel, we get up the next day and start it all over.

The problem with living life like this is that we fail to realize that sometimes in our desire to have it all, we end up losing parts of it all. We turn our lives into one giant multi-task, where nothing we do gets our full attention, let alone our 100%. So while we are including all the important things, they often share time with the many less important things. As a result, what used to be the most valuable is often reduced to little more than just average, and we have little energy left to try to change it. In all of our doing, there is very little being, so life feels like it is little more than watching.

Isn’t it funny that in the midst of all the active, we have only ended up embracing the passive? In creating the habits of the busy, we have made it easier to ignore that little gnawing voice in our consciousness. You know what I am talking about: that still small voice that tells us that something is amiss, that something isn’t right, either at our jobs, in our government, in our schools, in our churches or in our homes. We would rather not know, and in doing so, we have traded in the battlefield for the bleachers, where the only times we are called to stand is to perhaps cheer for our side. And sadly, in the midst of such filled days, even sometimes doing that can take more strength than we can muster.

The problem with this is that we are not called to a life of warming the bleachers. In letting so many things clutter our lives, we no longer see the danger to that which we hold most dear. No one is totally on their game when they are weary or distracted, and I think that is where we are as a nation. We used to be doers, fighters, champions – with a laser-like focus on our future and a desire to serve others and our God. Now we are fast becoming a nation of sitters, turning from our focus on the future to settling for preserving the present; the once great warriors have turned into nothing more than weary watchers.

We never used to fear the battle. We understood that life itself was one and therefore it could not be avoided. Now, for some reason, we expect life to be without battle, even to the point that we run from those things that must be fought for, sacrificed for, wounded for. We tell ourselves that someone else will fight on our behalf. We tell ourselves someone else will defend our families, our freedoms, and our faith. We tell ourselves that someone else will be the warrior so that we can continue being the watchers.

It is a mistake to think that there will be no consequence from the decision to clutter our lives with so much of the eternally unimportant that we fail to pay attention to what is really important. This life was designed to be a battle for what is right, not an Outlook calendar to be filled. If you are not fighting against something (or someone) unrighteous in your life, then chances are you are probably just too busy to notice, and probably need to take a hard look at what it is that you are missing. Smooth sailing is supposed to be a blessed anomaly; it was never the goal. Making it such has led to the weakening of men and the compromise of principles. We cannot allow the “must haves” of this life distract us from the “must preserves” of our future. Some things are just too precious.

So, are you a watcher or a warrior?

“Being brave is only standing up when you’re afraid.” ~ from the book The Watchers, by Jon Steele

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