Over the last few years, my family has experienced a lot of sudden death.
My great-aunt died while sleeping on the couch. My great-uncle was found dead in his bed. Another great-uncle dropped dead in the yard. My grandfather was found dead in his home. My cousin went in for a simple surgery and found out in recovery that her body was riddled with cancer and was given 2 weeks to live. My aunt fainted and never woke up. My grandmother was diagnosed with cancer and lived another 6 months. And, earlier this week, my cousin dropped dead.
My mom said something that made me pause. She said, “While attending the funeral of their loved one, none of them had any idea the next funeral would be their own.”
And, then I thought, my cousin’s funeral could be the last one I attend.
Heart in throat.
What if Today Was Your Day?
Steve Jobs is famous for the quote:
“If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today?”
It’s hard to imagine not being here tomorrow. How can that happen when I have so much left to do? But, death isn’t logical. And, it often doesn’t announce itself. (James 4:14, ERV)
For those who died without warning, they can’t come back and re-live their last day. Their bodies have returned to the dust and their spirits are with the Lord. (Ecc. 12:7, ERV)
But, for all of us who still have breath in our body, we still have an opportunity to live a full life. (John 10:10, ERV)
So, today, I challenge you to make a regret wish list. If you didn’t wake up tomorrow morning, what would be your regrets? What are the things you wished you would have accomplished?
What Would You Regret, If You’re…
This is the question I asked myself this week. And, here are some of my answers and my action plan.
1. Not Tapping In
I often give in to my circumstances. I concede and mope and pray desperate prayers. The Bible says we have more power than the enemy. We’ve been given the authority to stand on his head and not be injured (Luke 10:19). That power is directly linked to my prayer, my praise, and my words.
I usually go straight to my journal when I’m having a particularly hard day. And, I mope. I’m going to put scripture on the cover of my journal with a note that says, “You’re powerful, girl! Use your mouth to change your circumstances! Tell your problem about God!”
2. Not Standing Up
Sometimes I feel like a wimp because nowadays even Christians are offended by the Word. And, I don’t want to get into a shouting match or petty wars about what’s written in the Bible and God doesn’t ask me to. But, I think there’s a fine line between protecting your peace and neglecting the call to speak truth. Just because we don’t defend the Bible like the next person, it doesn’t mean we should avoid it altogether. If we take our ego and need for agreement out of the equation, we should be able to have a conversation where we help a brother or sister find truth for their circumstance. Even if we have to say, “Let me do some research and get back to you.” We must remember that we can only plant and water. God gives increase.
Look for situations to share God’s truth with others. But, speak with them only after my mouth and mind are dripping with prayer. And, also, study, study, study. I should always be ready with a Word for others. (1 Peter 3:15)
3. Being double-minded
You can be in the same vicinity of a person and still not be there with them. I spend lots of time with my husband and children. Sometimes, I feel like I can’t get away from them! But, it’s not always quality time. If I’m always doing two (or more) things at once, one thing will always suffer.
Schedule quality time with the ones you love. Start with 10 minutes and increase as you are able. But, remember that this is a no-phone and no complaint zone.
4. Not Discovering & Doing
We’re all wired differently. What makes me cry may not make you cry. What makes you furious may not make me furious. But, you know what we have in common? Those things that anger us, excite us, and move us are telling of how God made us and how we can bring Him glory.
I think I learned this early on. In fact, writing for Team Jesus Magazine is an example of me doing something I discovered was a God-given gift. They didn’t come searching for me. I emailed them and asked if I could be a contributor. We can’t sit back and wait for things to fall in our laps. If you know that you have a knack for doing something, find ways to exercise that talent in a way that gives God glory.
Everyday I’m finding ways to give God glory, Brandi-style. Mostly, I share my personal experiences with others through blogging, coaching and speaking engagements so that others can learn the lesson without having to make the same mistake. But, God is not short on creativity and He created me in His image. So, be on the lookout! You never know what I might do next!
So, what’s the play call?
Is what you did today the way you’d choose to spend your last day? What would you regret if you passed away suddenly? Start to squeeze those things into your day and go to sleep peacefully knowing that you didn’t let the most important things remain on the back burner.