I’m 59. And while reading the daily news, I’m thankful to God I’ve made it this far.
I don’t think of myself as old, but I’ve seen enough recurring holidays to know I’m much closer to the Judgement Seat of Christ than I was decades ago. I also think I’ve experienced enough of this thing called “my life” to comment on it. It’s comforting knowing in time I will be united with the Lord, but I’d still like to get as much as I can out of my mortal life.
It’s ironic that the things I wanted when I was young like fancy cars, clothes, jewelry, a sprawling house, and the like, hold no real meaning for me now. Conversely, the things I desire now such as free time, peaceful living, disease cures, and poverty elimination didn’t capture much of my attention as a teenager. Growing older may not make you smarter, but rather it makes you process information differently. “When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child. When I became a man, I did away with childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11).
But what, then? If I could “redo” my life, what changes would I make? What changes could I (and would) I make? Of note, none of my changes are physical but rather about my behavior and my decisions all the while “…living in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27).”
First, I’d develop the courage to live my life as I see fit for me rather simply do what other people expect of me or want me to do. I would not let my life dreams go unfilled or un-pursued. Someone once said when our lives are coming to an end, we don’t regret what we did, but rather we regret what we didn’t do…and should have. Life should be spent doing things we want to do, not wondering why we’re not doing them. “Yahweh is on my side.” (Psalm 118:6-7) True courage is the courage of trust in God. I want to have the courage to pursue my dreams.
Secondly, I would not work so hard. It seems I’ve spent my entire life at work. In many ways and while we’re working hard, we’re missing milestone events in our marriages and in our children’s lives. “Quality time” is called “quality time” for a reason. I think millennials call this “life-work balance.” Frankly, I think they’re onto something. Children and spouses spell love T-I-M-E. I would “…choose the good part…” and spend more time with my children and spouse (Luke 10:38-42).
Third, I’d have the courage to express myself. Too often, I simply kept my mouth shut to maintain peace. Because I did not express myself, I may have lost out on life opportunities or paths. Scripture tells us the tongue “…sets on fire the course of our existence” (James 3:6).
Fourth, I’d reach out to maintain communications and relationships with friends. I have friends I went to college with and spoke with daily for four years and never communicated with ever again after graduation. Old friends know me… there is much less explaining to do. Old friends understand your life context. Old friends I miss. That is why I am thinking about them now. “And Yahweh restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and Yahweh increased all that Job had twofold.” (Job 42:10)
Fifth, and many of you will laugh at this, but I will permit myself to be happy. Our state of mind…our attitude…is something I have total control over and can use to alter my degree of happiness. Ever met someone who “wasn’t happy unless they were unhappy?” Sometimes adopting a poor or unhappy attitude becomes a habit and the habit becomes a reality. I was afraid to allow myself to be happy sometimes. I had to laugh and be happy on the inside only. I know Jesus wants us to be happy; He even said so. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they [each of you] may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
In Deuteronomy 10:1-5, God gave Moses the chance to cut new law tablets to replace the ones he’d broken in anger. God sometimes gives us second chances. Of course, I don’t believe I’ll get a second mortal life, but maybe God is giving me the wisdom to make changes now. And I have no fear in meeting my Creator.
What do you think?
What changes is the Holy Spirit prompting you to make now?