I’m cheating death daily. It’s a miracle I’ve made it this far.
Last year at this time, I was just a few months from my fortieth birthday. Conventional wisdom dictated that I approach the event with large doses of trepidation and angst, but I’ve never been one for conventional wisdom. The truth is I felt decidedly “meh” about the whole thing.
I did, however, take a moment to consider what awaited me on the other side of The Hill I was preparing to crest. As you are likely aware, all indicators suggested I should expect nothing less than:
Which sounds a lot more serious.
It made my callous indifference seem terribly irresponsible.
To atone for my foolhardy behavior, I entered into a self-imposed period of deep contemplation and somber reflection.
During that five minutes, I considered all of the things people naturally think about when facing Impending Doom. Namely:
1. My past.
2. My present.
3. Which hymns I’d like to have played at my funeral*
Pearl of Wisdom: Imagine your own funeral, and things get dicey. Fast.
I could easily envision my family and my friends gathered at my church. I could picture flowers in the sanctuary. I could hear my pastor’s voice preaching a gospel message. But my mind kept faltering over one detail that I could not seem to conjure:
What would people be saying about me?
Of course I’ll never know the answer to that. But in considering the question, I unearthed a rough realization that needed to be polished:
what people say about me later is the echo of my life in the now.
So I began composing a mental list. Mind you, this was no bucket list. I wasn’t thinking of experiences I wanted to have or accolades I wanted to earn. It was really about the gift I wanted my life to be: what it would thrill my heart to be for other people; what traits I’d embody that would inspire others and be worthy of imitation.
This was a list about the legacy I wanted to leave. A legacy of godly character.
Eventually, my mental list became a physical reality – I wrote it down.
Not long after, I was having a conversation with a young lady about these very things. She expressed deep sorrow over the discrepancy between who she was, and who she longed to be. She was inspired to serve and encourage and love, but she was battling fear and anger and lies. She had convinced herself that she couldn’t be That Person.
Isn’t that just how we do it? I do. As soon as I realize I’m not who I’m inspired to be, I sulk and I cry and I give into defeat.
And grow, not at all.
We do this because we’re unaware of one of the subtle ways God works. It’s predicated on the truth that God wants us to be like him. That’s his dream for us, and day by day, he’s working it into us. A sure sign that he’s working is the spark of desire he gives us to be like him. We read something in Scripture or see something in a friend that inspires us to bless others. To be That (Beautiful) Person.
It inspires because it’s a glimpse of his dream for us: a simultaneous picture of God as he is and us as he wants us to be.
Instead of giving into defeat, let’s see inspiration for what it really is: God’s invitation to join him in the dream!
I encouraged my friend to write down the inspiration and DREAM BIG WITH GOD!
Because here is the unexpected outcome of having my list:
Now, instead of sulking when I’m not That Person, I look for opportunities to BE That Person. As I respond to the opportunities God gives, I’m slowly turning into That Person God inspired me to be.
Joining God in his dream makes all the difference.
Do you have a legacy list?
God has a big dream for you!