About a month ago I received a text from my mom to my sister and I that my grandpa was admitted to the hospital from not being able to wake up in the morning and they thought to believe he had a stroke. I was in a staff meeting when I received the text and rushed out to my office to let out some tears as I knew that it didn’t sound good. I was able to pick up my wife and drive to the hospital to be by his side. I have never had a death in my family or experienced any real hardships in life that weren’t this heavy on my heart. This was one of those hardships that left a hole in my heart.
After spending a few hours at the hospital while he was breathing with the assistance of a machine, there was a small hope that maybe he would come out of a state of unconsciousness. I’ll never forget the nurses words as she came in to check on him and said that his heart had stopped beating and that he had passed away. I can remember the look of my grandma’s face and the unbelief that he had actually passed. I can’t imagine losing someone that you have spent so much of your life with to be gone in a instant. I found myself in that hospital room with a heavy heart of pain for my grandma having to come to that realization that my grandpa had passed and will no longer be with us. I knew that he went to be with the Lord that day and it brought comfort knowing that, but still left a hole in us as we had to face the reality of death.
Over the past month after having been by his side when he passed and through the funeral, it has really made me think about life. Recently, I was driving in the car with my wife and asked her the question, “When you come to the end of your life, what is one thing you want to look back on and be glad you did with your life?” Most of us if we are honest, would say we wanted to live a life of success or fullness. Success and fullness of life in our marriage, kids, finances, career, health, faith, etc.
I believe having success in all these areas are great things to strive for and I do think God wants this for our lives, but I really appreciated what my wife’s response was to this question. She told me that she had wanted to live a life that honored God. I thought that was a very simple answer but encapsulated so much. If we are honoring God with our life we will have the success in our marriage, kids, finances, career, health, faith, etc.
So I ask this question to you, What is it that you want to look back on at the end of your life and be glad you did? To get you started in heading that direction, here are a few things to start doing:
- See the big picture. Focus on what you want at the end of your life and write it down. It’s best to keep this big picture idea in front of you at all times. Put it on your bathroom mirror or a background on your phone to remind you.
- Start! Start doing today what needs to be done in order to reach the big picture. Don’t feel like you need to change everything all at once. If your goal is to get in better health, start with walking 30 minutes a day instead of aiming to run 3 miles/day. Start spending five minutes in God’s word every morning. The goal is to start small, don’t expect to run a marathon or have the prayer life of the most mature Christian you know. They all had to start somewhere and so do you, so start small and add a little more each week.
- Be held accountable. The best way to reach your goals is to have someone in your corner who will cheer you on and celebrate in your victories. For me, this is my wife. It could also be a close friend, a family member, or a mentor.
- Come back to the big picture. Don’t forget why you are doing what you are doing. It can be easy for us to focus on the disciplines of our goals, that we forget why we are doing it in the first place. When we remind ourselves of the big picture daily, it drives and motivates us to keep living out our goal for its bigger purpose.
What do you want your life to mean? How will you achieve this?