Today marks a new year in my life. It’s hard to believe that I have been alive 45 years! In those 45 years I have seen my share of joys and heartaches, committed my share of mistakes, and sought to make a contribution to society as well as to the Kingdom of God. The sun has already set on my first day of my new year…”Poof!” It’s gone. Reflection and evaluation play large roles in my life. As I endeavor to grow and become better and ultimately the best version of myself and all that God imagined me to be, I must constantly seek to apply lessons to my life. Here are seven things I jotted down as I thought through some of the most important things I take into year 45.
1) KNOW YOURSELF. KNOW GOD.
While full knowledge of both of these subjects is unattainable, don’t forget to seek. In recent years I have really come to a point of wanting to know myself, understand myself and know my history and past much better. Not growing up with both of my birth parents has lead me to some of this inquiry. However, I think it’s just good to try to understand who I am and why I am the way I am. I have been learning that knowing God plays a huge part in knowing myself, not who I am or what I am but WHY I AM. God has a reason, purpose and plan. Taking deliberate time to ponder and reflect has been paying off in great ways and I expect it to serve me well in 45.
2) LIVE INTENTIONALLY.
This takes me back to something I said many years ago: One purpose on purpose. Knowing myself and knowing God naturally lead to the one purpose. Once I can understand that purpose, then I can choose wisely. I can make intentional choices which lead to living a very deliberate and meaningful life. At 45, I am becoming much more aware that every choice matters. I don’t have time to “waste”, therefore making intentional choices ranks high on the list of most important things to do.
3) HARD QUESTIONS.
Asking myself hard questions and searching for deeper meaning in life is another thing I bring into 45.Many times in life I have been afraid of hard questions because what if I couldn’t answer them? What if I didn’t like the answer? I am gingerly crossing that threshold where I don’t care about knowing the answer as much anymore. Just having an answer is a blessing. But I am also becoming much better at not having an answer at all. Sometimes there is no answer or plausible reason. Sometimes there is only silence from Heaven. I have to be ok with that. Hard questions don’t always have easy answers.
4) PUSH YOURSELF.
I have found through the years that we all pursue the path of least resistance. We do this with our thought processes, imaginations and dreams as well. Someone once said: Life won’t give you what you want but what you will settle for. How true! Not only is it harder the older I get to take the time to exercise, play, and practice, I have to maintain a heavy hand of discipline on myself. Pushing myself to dream, risk, stretch and exercise are all things that will keep me ALIVE at 45 and make it worth being alive.
5) TAKE RISKS.
As I get older, I find myself having a little more timidity, feeling a little more fragile and such. BUT, I know that I cannot stop taking risks. Taking care is said waaaayyyy too often. There’s no problem in taking care of myself. I shower, eat, sleep…taking care is easy. Taking risks is not hard…just risky; but worth it. I’m not talking about being stupid but calculated. Plan risks. Prepare for risks. And then take them!
Naturally I would classify myself as a pessimist. I fight hard to be optimistic and encouraging…but I do work at it. With this being the case, I have realized that a greater part of my experiences have been tainted by lackluster enthusiasm. At 45, I am finding that there really is no excuse for not finding some sort of joy in life. This could be a sunset. A flower. A smile. Life’s really too short to only see the negative. Learning to enjoy more is something I will deliberately have to work on but I will with joy!
Even though this is the last on this list it is by no means the least important. In fact, I believe it to be one of the more important. Investing more time in people and discipling people in particular is something I take into 45 with much more seriousness than ever. Knowing that I am perhaps at the mid-point of my life, I see with much more clarity the need for making deep rooted disciples of Jesus. This doesn’t happen over night and thus making sure I am investing as much as I can, each time I can is one of the more important lessons I’ve learned through the years.
There you have it, seven things I take into year 45 that I find essentially important at this stage in life. What about you?