How “cherish every moment” makes me want to gag but led me to unexpected truth
As I sifted through all the Facebook comments, it was clear that this was a hot button for women. Some felt it was “delusional, ridiculous, and nostalgia obscured by reality,” and others said it was simply a reminder that childhood is fleeting so live intentionally and don’t sweat the small stuff.
I could tell that something big was going on in our hearts when we heard these three little words.
I kept thinking, “There’s something happening beneath the surface…” as I continued to read the comments. The intent behind “cherish every moment” is good and wise, so why do those three words make us feel like such failures? What does this say about how we view God? Why are we so easy to reject what we know to be right and helpful?
I realized that any time we view life, people, experiences, and advice through a faulty filter, we end up rejecting truth and feeling ashamed. Our filter is our worldview: it’s the lens through which we see ourselves and others.
For decades, my filter has been that of the Achiever:
- A cheerfully stoic, self-reliant planner who follows rules and takes initiative.
- Someone with outward success who is inwardly defeated.
- One who prefers fixing problems over self-care.
- A self-critic who thinks that rest is a luxury.
- One who lives in fear of failing and who often lives more driven than called.
- Someone that believes we’re blessed and successful only if we summon up all our strength and follow God’s laws without fail.
Achievers are highly-successful, amazingly-accomplished women operating through a filter that says we have to be perfect, hold it all together, and work for our worth. Which is why simple phrases like “cherish every moment” feel damning—we believe we’re doing the best we can, and we’re still sinking. Our Achiever-filter is faulty, and it’s causing us to reject truth.
But rejecting a simple, well-meaning truth like “Cherish every moment” is just the tip of the iceberg…we’re missing so much more.
Our Achiever-filter influences how we see God.
We may view Him as unavailable, imperceptive, unresponsive and rejecting. We may falsely believe that He’s more preoccupied with us obeying the rules and being responsible.
Or we may see God as inconsistent, intrusive, insensitive, and unpredictable. When we think of God, we may think only of how displeased He is with us.
But we can also think of Him as caring, compassionate, trustworthy, gracious, and responsive. This view has us believing that God is interested and delighted in us.
My Achiever-filter, the one that’s preoccupied with external factors like performance, metrics, and measurables, says that God is preoccupied with my obedience and displeased when I fail. “Cherish every moment” becomes internalized as a rule—one I’m not following, so it produces shame.
And we’ll buck against anything that causes more shame.
Timothy Keller writes in The Prodigal God, “If you are filled with shame and guilt, you do not merely need to believe in the abstract concept of God’s mercy. You must sense, on the palate of the heart, as it were, the sweetness of His mercy. Then you will know you are accepted.”
So sisters, what if we Go Rogue from our Achiever-filter and start internalizing the truth? What would life be like if we were completely aware of our Father’s pleasure with us throughout all of our waking hours?
Our taskmaster view of God would be replaced with a Good Shepherd who knows our name, whose yoke is easy and whose burden is light.
Our view of ourselves as not-enough would be superseded by our understanding that we are God’s daughter who needs comfort and compassion.
Our view of ourselves as failed parents would be transformed with mercy and would remind us of our identity in Christ, wholly and dearly loved and fully known.
So how do we swap out our Achiever-filter and accept God’s grace?
Friends, like virtually everything else I write here, there’s no formula or magic steps, no “if this, then that” equation…which drives me nuts too.
But here is what has worked for me:
- Understanding that transformation comes through collaboration with God in prayer and in community with people who love God and me.
- Reading His truth and taking it to heart instead of having only an intellectual assent to His truth.
- Looking at how my story intersects with God’s Big Story by writing it out or talking about it with a friend.
The three little words: “Cherish every moment” started an unexpected journey of discovering the filter through which I view life, my people, and purpose. I pray that the filter through which you see the world is one where you hear the voice of God telling you that you are His daughter whom He loves and in whom He takes great pleasure.