It’s not getting older that scares me. I’m actually okay with that. Do you want to know what really scares me? It’s getting to the end of my race and not making a difference in peoples lives. We were born to make a difference.
Had a light bulb moment today. My husband sent me off to Barnes & Noble for my 40th birthday (he is a good man). I’m driving along the freeway in my mini-van listening to the radio and an old familiar song came on. Just like certain foods can stir up a childhood memory, a familiar song can also bring about an emotion. ‘I don’t want to go through the motions’ by Matthew West. I was reminded of a few years back singing this song with such passion and conviction. And even as the years have passed, I hear it fresh all over again. I don’t want to go through the motions. I don’t want to get through another 5 years and ask myself if I’ve made a difference. Since it’s my 40th birthday today and I consider this a milestone, I have chosen to take some time to self-reflect.
I have been to my share of funerals and weddings over the past few years. I leave both feeling inspired- A celebration of the beginning together and a celebration of a life well lived. It’s the life well lived part that has been swirling around in my brain lately. And let’s just say (hypothetically) I live until around 80ish. Folks, I’m around the halfway mark. I want my life to matter. I want my life to make a difference. And what I’ve come to realize over the years is that we need to imagine how we see our lives in another 20, 25, 30 years down the line and envision what we hope people will say about us and begin to live it today.
Here’s my list that holds me accountable for how I ought to be living today. Some of these things I’m already doing and some of them I’m not. I encourage you to write your own list because if affects how you choose to live each day.
These are words I hope will be spoken at the end of my race (or perhaps just a birthday party when I’m much older) from my kids, my husband, my friends, and my family:
She put God first.
She inspired me to live for God.
She would always talk about God- not her religion, but her relationship with Him.
She wasn’t perfect, and she showed me that it’s okay to not be perfect.
She showed unconditional love.
We always knew that we were loved.
She was always there for us. We knew we were important to her.
She didn’t take herself too seriously.
She made me laugh.
She enjoyed the journey.
She was real.
She did things even if they scared her.
She pursued God for herself and for her family.
She was so encouraging.
She lived an authentic, vulnerable life.
Her stories made it okay to tell my stories.
She would always steer me back to God’s Word.
Even when she didn’t know how things would turn out, she trusted God.
She always tried to be there for me.
She was a great listener.
She used the gifts God gave her for His glory.
I don’t want to go through the motions. As I was driving in the car, listening to my song, I said, “God, I just want to make a difference, whatever that looks like for me.” I want to push myself and do things I’m afraid of, so that others would be challenged and inspired to truly live this life to the fullest, being all that they were called to be. I want to leave a legacy. I want to be a lover of life. I want to stay amazed at the miracle of life and the miracles that are in our everyday.
We are called to be a light and make a difference. I don’t want to wake up in 20 years with regrets of what I wished I had done. I want to do it- even if it scares the snot out of me. Romans 8:31- What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
So what’s going to be my focus in the coming years? Well, spending time with the Lord of course, but after that? People. Because I believe that just like time with the Lord is never wasted time, time with people is also never wasted time. And honestly, people make my life rich. I love my husband, my kids, my family, and my friends so much. Every time I’m able to have a connection with someone, I feel refreshed. When I speak, I feel such love for God’s people. When I write, I write with people on my heart- to bring hope. When I think about my husband and I having a Ranch, a place of ministry, I think about the people and the lives that God’s going to change. You see, I have my own stories of people that have come into my life when I was a wild, rebellious young thing and the mark those people left on my life. I am forever changed because someone decided to invest into my life. Those stories are a part of who I am. And I hope at the end of my journey that people will stand and say the same thing. “Her story affected my story…”
At the end of this crazy life, I’m not going to wish I had more things to clutter up my house, more cute outfits, a big house or a super nice car. Nope. I’m going to hope that I have made a difference in the lives of others. I’m going to hope that I had valued my family more than all of my projects and made them feel important. It’s the relationships here on this earth that have eternal value, not the stuff, not the projects. Because really, what is the greatest of all commandments? Matthew 22:37-40 (MSG)-Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”
…..everything in God’s Law and Prophets hangs from them….
So here’s to the second half of this crazy, amazing, messy miracle called life. May we all love well.
Now get out there and live!
Oh, and don’t forget to enjoy the journey!
Psalms 90:12- Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.