I turn 45 today. It's sobering. There's no denying that I am middle-aged. Much of the future I looked forward to as a youth has come and gone. I looked forward to going to college, getting married, starting a career and raising children. Each of these goals has been realized, and they are in the past. What now?
The past 5 years have been an unscheduled sabbatical; a season in the wilderness unparalleled and unprecedented in life to this point. But with the advent of Spring 2010, it seems that God has marked a path out of the wilderness; and I'm glad. Perhaps the final third of life is ready to begin?
One day at a time has become a centering theme. "For each day has enough trouble of its own", Jesus said in his Sermon on the Mount. His desire was to help us to live fully in the circumstances before us one day at a time, trusting God who cares for us to provide our needs, and to guide our journey. I love that Jill and I have learned to live like this, even if it's taken a long and arduous route through the wilderness to learn it.
Thanks mom for giving me life. Thank you dad for countless hours together in many activities. I have fond memories of my youth; baseball, golf, travel together...Thank you Dr. Green for rescuing my life from the umbilical cord that tried to choke my life before it began. And thank you to the extended community of believers at First Christian Church who helped to raise me and to shape my core beliefs.
There 1,040 Saturdays between today and my 65th birthday. 1,040 Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, etc. IF I am blessed with life on earth until then. God knows. How will I invest them for the Kingdom of God...for His people...for you?
Michael W. Smith's lyrics often come to mind when I think about the gift of life and its brevity. "This is our time, this is our dance, live every moment, leave nothing to chance..."
Near or at the end of life it is common to evaluate all that came before. Some die with regret, and some are fulfilled and content. What makes the difference? A lot has to do with intentionality about living one's life purpose. Mine, that I share with Jill as a team of two is, "To inspire and equip as many people as possible to live abundant, hopeful and pleasurable lives of purpose in relationship with God and each other." What will I say yes to (and NO) today that will be consistent with that purpose?
As the sun tries to rise through the rain clouds on my 16,425th day of life, I can't help but share a few books that are providing encouragement to live on purpose:
- Visoneering, Andy Stanley
- A Leader's Life Purpose, Tony Stoltzfus
- Good to Great, Jim Collins
- The Bible, God
What is the meaning of your days? What is your purpose and how fully are you living it? Here's a prayer to encourage you and me.
Dear God, I thank you for the privilege of life. I don't take it for granted. Today is the first day of the rest of my life...for how long? Only you know. Please help me to hear your voice and to see the path on which you would have me to walk. I want to live fully for you and for your purposes, and at the end hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant." In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Filling the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run (Rudyard Kipling, the poem IF),
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