"What does it matter?"
Clear as a bell, the Holy Spirit spoke these words to me.
Now I don't know how the Holy Spirit speaks to you, but sometimes He's a little blunt with me.
It happened one night while I was half praying, half having a pity party, saying, "Why does SHE get to have the things I want? Did I do something wrong? Should I have made different choices? What would my Mom think now that my life has turned out so differently than either of us ever imagined or hoped it would?"
I was comparing my life to someone I grew up with and envying that she was now a grandma, while my birthday and menopause reminded me that this would never be my life.
Later, I started thinking about someone I grew up with who now has a very important job. By anyone's standards, they are now highly successful. Meanwhile, my job holds far fewer accolades.
As I was whining and bringing all of this to God in prayer, the Holy Spirit very directly said to me, "What does it matter?"
I have to admit, I felt a little like Topanga in Boy Meets World when Mr. Feeny yelled at her, and she said, "You yelled at me, but I'm Topanga!" (Yeah, my cultural references are old—I just turned forty-eight!)
However, the next words that the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart sparked true conviction.
In a more gentle tone, He reminded me that if the world ended today or either of the people I was comparing myself to passed away, they would enter eternity in Hell. Neither is a Christian. One has adamantly walked away from the faith of their childhood.
At that moment, the Holy Spirit told me to "get over myself" (my paraphrase, not His words), stop comparing our lives, and start praying for their salvation.
He put this Scripture in my mind, "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." (Colossians 3:2)
That night while I went to prayer wanting God to change my circumstances, He wanted to change me and remind me that so many of the things I was worrying about really don't matter in light of eternity.
As I compared myself to those with a more 'normal life,' those who were more successful by the world's standards...while I contemplated what other people thought of me or even would think of me if they were still alive….even as I was upset about my birthday and the repercussions of middle age, my eyes were on earthly things.
When I allowed the Holy Spirit to adjust my vision to an eternal perspective, I remembered what was important:
-Living your life for Jesus.
-Doing all you can to advance the kingdom of God.
-Praying for the salvation of those around you.
-Living a life that doesn't just ensure you make it to Heaven, but also taking as many people with you to Heaven as you can.
Because eternity is real.
Heaven and Hell are real.
People who reject Christianity, whether it be for another religion or no religion at all, are destined to an eternity in Hell.
As the Holy Spirit reminded me, praying for these people and doing all we can to win them to Jesus is what's important. Whether or not my hair is turning gray or I've accomplished everything I imagined as a little girl is not.
-Living for Jesus matters.
-Following Jesus wherever He leads matters.
Since that night, I've been trying to focus more on what matters.
Okay, I'm far from perfect, and I still have a little struggle accepting middle age. However, now whenever the enemy starts filling my mind with comparisons, trying to make me feel insecure or question the choices I've made, I'm fighting back. Instead of wallowing, I literally find myself saying (sometimes out loud), "What does it matter?"
Then I remember to set my eyes on things above and pray for those who need to know Jesus as their personal Savior.
Because in light of eternity, that's what matters.
Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.
When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry."