The older I get the faster time seems to fly by each year. Why is this? Is it my accumulation of years and experience, the constant changes in technology and communication, the fact that my children are becoming grandparents, the growing awareness of my mortality, or perhaps all of the above? Perhaps you feel it too.
Because the years seem to whiz by more quickly, and because I know my three score and ten has already passed, I think more seriously each New Year about what’s important. Fully aware that any year could be my last, I want more keenly than ever to live well and to concentrate on those things in life that count. Today during my prayer time I suddenly became clear-minded about it, and with that the following list flowed from my mind, heart, and fingers. This is how I am going to live each day as far as it in my power to do so.
- Live each day as though death is imminent. Rather than morbid, this is a wonderful motivator to jettison time-wasting attitudes, like comparisons, and focus on what is eternal.
- Live close to God. I have determined to read the Bible every day no matter what. If I’m not careful the day gets away and this is the best way I can learn more about God and how He wants me to spend my life. I also will make prayer more of a priority, because “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results” (James 5:16).
- Love my wife and family. Tell them over and over that I love them.
- Get out of debt. For the last couple of decades Karon and I have worked on this. We want to live within our means, downsize, and get rid of clutter. We are working to give away everything we haven’t used in a few years. We want to empty the garage, the china cupboards, and bookcases. Reduce. Simplify. It’s liberating.
- Be sure our affairs are in order and that those who need to know have passwords, combinations, and account numbers. Prepare our will. When Karon’s Mother died she had done all of these things. She even had an envelope in her top desk drawer with $250 cash in it to help with immediate arrangements. It was so helpful! Both spouses need to know how to manage, do taxes, and find insurance information.
- Mend any broken relationships. I forgive everyone for everything. There is absolutely no benefit whatsoever to holding grudges or not talking to the people who love me. Let it go! Make the call. Tomorrow may be too late.
- Take care of my body to the best of my ability. Watch your diet. Exercise and stretch as I can.
- Be at peace in this weary and war-torn world. I will not fret about anything, my family, my health, or the world situation. Instead, I daily will pray the serenity prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr.
- Enjoy each moment. Live in the present.
- Cultivate a more grateful heart. Give God all things with thanksgiving. Praise is always the best course of action.
- Do the right thing. Be generous.
- Stop criticizing. Look for the best in this world and in other people. The world doesn’t need to be made over in my image.
God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
David Shultz enjoys mountain views in Arizona where he lives with his wife and two dogs, Molly and Maggie.