one day

At Speech and Debate tournaments, life often becomes a whirl of talking, running, worrying, discussing, debating, and strategic thinking. On the second night of the tournament, I went outside with my dinner and sat alone to watch the beautiful sunset. The calmness of the chilly evening caused me to stop and again remember how vast and great is our God. I watched the bright pinks and purples fill the sky - a painting by the master Painter meant just for us to enjoy. I couldn't help but quietly sing a song in awe of the Lord. I remembered the well-known verse, "be still and know that I am God." How true it is.

But then, I went back inside.

All of a sudden, the noise and clutter was overwhelming. It had seemed normal just 30 minutes ago, but now the contrast of all this to the beautiful peace I'd just felt was staggering. Postings had just gone up, and everyone seemed to be squabbling over who they were hitting, what they were running, what the power-matching meant, and on and on and on. And even though I'd done the same thing many times before, this time I couldn't help but step back and think, It's only one day.

One day. Two words with so much meaning. Two words that I'd like to look at a little deeper by seeing how one day made a big difference in my life, then by looking at one day that changed all of our lives, and lastly by looking at what all of this means for each of us.

One day can be the beginning of great things. Nearly every major movement started with someone coming to a realization in one day. There was one day in my life recently that is a perfect example of how one day can completely change a life direction. It was a few months ago, late October, and some good friends of ours had asked for help at an adoption banquet. So I came to the event as a volunteer, completely unaware of the situation of the foster care system. Sure, I knew that there was a foster care system, but this event opened my eyes to the reality of it. Now I saw their faces and looked into the eyes of these children whose existence I'd never really even thought about. Now I heard the message about how each one of us not only could make a difference, but should. Within just a few hours, my view of myself, my life, my family, and my blessings had radically changed. Now our family is permanently changed and my direction is altered. Our lives will probably never settle back into the form they were in before that event, and it was all because of one day.

There are several "one days" that transformed both my life and yours. First of all, there's the day in which our Lord Jesus was born. In that one day, history changed. Our timeline reversed. Our world held a tiny baby that was all human, and all God. All in one day. And another day, or more specifically "three days," marked the greatest event of all time. There was the day that Jesus, the Son of the Almighty God, gave himself up to the cross in order to pay our penalty. And there was the day in which He rose from the grave, conquering even death itself. Because of just those few days, we have hope and life and salvation. All because of a day.

As we've seen, one day can have incredible significance. But in contrast, we can also see another idea revolving around "one day." Like I said in my introduction, sometimes I think we can get much to caught up in one day and forget about all of eternity. I know that quite often in my life, I get so caught up in my schoolwork, my speech and debate work, my going here-and-there that I forget that it's only one day in a much bigger picture.

I saw an extremely poignant demonstration once of the way in which we forget about the grand scheme of things. Francis Chan, a pastor, did this illustration in one of his sermons. He took a very long rope and said to pretend that it went on forever. Then he pointed to a little red piece of tape around the end he was holding. "This rope represents your existence," he said. "You will live forever. However, this red part represents your life on earth." So often we get caught up in each day, one by one, that we forget about everything that is to come! We are so focused on the little red part that we live for only the day we are in and forget about the eternity to come. We say to ourselves, "Okay, I want to work hard right here and save, save, save so I can really enjoy this part right here. Maybe we can travel and eat lots of good food, etc." but do we completely forget about the eternity to come?

I think that we often get so caught up in one day, or one short lifetime, that we forget about the bigger picture. We worry and stress so much about the little things of today that our focus is taken away from our eternal destination and goal.

So, we've looked at the words "one day." We looked at an example of one day in my life that made a huge difference. We saw a few "one days" in history that changed everything for all of us. And lastly, we looked at the idea that we can get so immersed in just one day that we forget about the bigger plan God has.

Now, what does this all mean? When you put it together, what do we get? What I believe, and what I would encourage you to consider, is that each powerful, potential-filled day should be spent with a perspective on eternity. Each day is a gift from God meant to be used not for our own purposes, but instead for the beautiful plan God has for each of our lives. I urge you to spend each "one day" with eternity in mind so that you can live with the love of Jesus every day.

{this was my final round Impromptu speech at the 2011 Clarion Qualifier. My total written outline had five words. My God is great, and He placed me 2nd overall. I still believe that this message is important for me, and for everyone.}


  1. Wow, Shelby. You chose your words well, very convicting. As I was reading, I noticed the format and thought, "Oh, I bet this is a speech." :) Nice job, and congratulations on 2nd place!

  2. Wow - that is so amazing. Thank you for sharing. :) That video was especially convicting... wow. It reminds me of the song "One Day" by ZOEgirl - talking about how one day - we will be with our Maker, and all the things of this world will perish.

    And congrats on 2nd place!

  3. Shelby,
    Such a good speech... er... blog post. Such a good message. You're right, it's so easy to be caught up in one day, and forget how small and yet significant it is.
    Love you! Wonderful job at the tournament!

  4. Poignantly put Shelby! Loved it - what an encouragement for foresight. It reminds me of a John C. Maxwell quote, "Those who forget the ultimate are often slaves to the immediate." Thanks for posting this!


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