Let Go of the “Don’t Blink” Burden

February 20, 2024  - By Sarah Beth McCloud

Let Go of the Don't Blink Burden - an article from Well-Watered Women

For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with the burden of longing for the next season—eyes set on the next shiny milestone—while being told not to miss a single second of the one I’m in. 

As a sixteen-year-old girl, I romanticized the idea of going off to college and living out my grown-up dreams. But they told me, “Don’t blink! You’ll be away from your friends and family and responsible for your own laundry before you know it.” 

Once I was in college, I saw some truth in their words. But since I couldn’t go back, I looked ahead to the perfect job and a prospective husband that would surely come along by the time I graduated. (Spoiler alert: they didn’t.) Now it was, “Don’t blink! You’ll be in the real world before you know it. Enjoy these days when you have no one to worry about but yourself.”

As I continued through the seasons of life that followed—first job, singleness, career life, dating, engagement, marriage, the subsequent stages of motherhood—I heard it countless times. Don’t blink! I found myself riddled with anxiety about not savoring every special (and sometimes terrible) moment of my current season.

We usually receive this well-intentioned advice while wrestling to live lives marked by contentment and hope. The heart behind the encouragement is often pure, but this constant don’t blink! advice can create pressure that becomes a burden.  

A Lighter Burden

God offers a better way. We weren’t meant to live under the weight of appreciating every moment of our lives. We are limited humans, living under the burden of space and time and finite and frail minds and bodies. Only God is limitless.

Psalm 90 is a prayer most commentators believe was written by Moses. This great leader of Israel endured a lifetime of trials and suffering as he struggled to show God’s people how to follow him, all while fighting the temptation to doubt God’s provision himself. In a song praising Yahweh’s eternal nature, starkly contrasted against the finite nature of humankind, Moses prays, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Ps. 90:12).

In comparison to a God who always has been and always will be, our lives are incredibly short. So we have a choice to either frantically strive to live the lives we’ve always dreamed of (or the world has dreamed up for us) or to live with intentionality and purpose, knowing all circumstances and seasons have eternal significance. We can try to control our days or live as though they're numbered, because they are.

Hearts of Wisdom and Lives of Intention

When Moses prays this prayer, he acknowledges that numbering our days isn’t our natural inclination. We must be taught. Numbering our days is living as though they matter while recognizing that we don’t have control over them. Numbering our days produces a heart of wisdom, which yields a life marked by peace, gentleness, reason, mercy, and good fruits (James 3:17).

When we number our days, our aim shifts from not missing a second of the season we’re in to being awake to the work God has given us to do. As Jesus taught in Luke 12:37, “those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes” are blessed. Living in anticipation of Christ’s return helps us live with the awareness that our days on earth are numbered—and our days in eternity are not.

A Burden Released, A Belief Reignited

Numbering our days gives us endurance in seasons of loneliness, longing, questioning, or suffering because we remember that we have a better future awaiting us. We can live through a season that looks nothing like we thought it would and still have peace because we know that God is using our suffering to produce endurance, which produces character, which produces hope in Christ Jesus (Rom. 5:3–5).

We will see the value of even the difficult and painful seasons because God makes us more like him through the testing of our faith. It’s these moments that force our eyes upward, putting our faith in our Savior instead of ourselves or the world. As a result, we become more steadfast in our faith, leaving us lacking in nothing (James 1:2–4). 

When this is our posture, it’s no longer a burden to wonder exactly what our days may bring, for we have numbered them and found eternal significance in whatever we face. We begin to more fully believe that for those who love God, all things work together for good (Rom. 8:28).

Then, to hear those familiar words—don’t blink!—calls a different response in us, one that is confident our eyes are wide open to what God is doing in us and through us in whatever season we’re in. And when we’re awake to that, we are able to live surrendered to the God who never blinks, the only One who is from everlasting to everlasting (Ps. 90:2).

Let Go of the Don't Blink Burden - an article from Well-Watered Women - quote

Meet the Author

Sarah Beth McCloud lives in Georgia with her husband and two children. She oversees Communications and Public Relations for WinShape Foundation, a Christian nonprofit that creates Christ-centered experiences and resources for people in every stage of life. Passionate about healthy communications in purpose-driven organizations, she also creates resources to help churches and ministries communicate more strategically and with greater clarity and care. When she’s not writing in some form or fashion, she’s probably reading or spending time with her family and community (often the inspiration behind her writing).

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