If life is short, how should I live?

I shared in my last post Dr. Death or Dr. Hope – it’s a choice!” about how a recent health crisis has given me a fresh perspective on life.  The Bible and past experience instruct us that trials such as this are opportunities to learn God’s ways and more perfectly align our wills with His will for our lives.  God has certainly used this lump in my neck to do that.  In realizing how frail and fleeting life really is, here are some resolutions I have made.

1.  Spend more time alone with God in prayer.  There is no better way to prepare for eternity in heaven than by bringing heaven to earth through communion with God in prayer.  I have reinstituted in my daily practice a resounding “Yes!” to Jesus’ request of His disciples “Could you not watch one hour with Me?” (Matthew 26:40)

2.  Spend more time with the ones I love. When all is said and done, loving relationships are the greatest treasure life has to offer.  Ultimately they are the only things that matter in a life or death crisis.  For goal-oriented, type A me, L-O-V-E translates directing into taking more T-I-M-E for others and less for self.  Therefore I have resolved to take more time to be with the people I love while also being more intentional to be loving the people I am with.

3.  Be more empathetic and supportive of others in their struggles.  It is good to suffer physical, mental and emotional pain if for no other reason than it sensitizes us to the suffering of others.  God calls us to turn the comfort we receive in our troubles into showing that same compassion and comfort to others when they are troubled. (2 Corinthians 1:4)  Showing support through our prayers and presence are of inestimable value to a suffering soul.    

4.  Live in the moment, treasure the now.  The old adage “stop and smell the flowers” seems so cliché but if there was ever a time we needed to hear it, it is now – in 2010!  I know I need to hear it.  As a child of the modern age my focus on the future continually robs me of the pleasure of present.  I can be doing something I love doing, like going for a run; but rather than enjoying it and my surroundings, my thoughts are racing ahead to the next thing I want to do when I return.  The present is never enough.  

However, for those who know their days are numbered, the present is readily appreciated and prolonged – treasured as a gift from God.  This acknowledgement sets apart our time-space existence as precious and sacred.  That is how I want to live.

5.  Take God’s calling in my life more seriously.  There are so many things in life that I yet want to do – good things, bucket-list type things. But here is the crux of the matter.  The good invariably robs us of the best in life – God’s best. 

Abraham and Sarah who were childless, had a “good” idea to have a son through Hagar, Sarah’s maid.  Not.  The child was Ishmael, who to this day remains a symbol of misguided thinking and fruitless self effort.  The child of promise was to be Isaac, conceived and born in God’s timing and in God’s way. 

At this stage in my life, I don’t want any Ishmaels.  I want to pour my time and energies in serving God only into those things He is calling me to do.  As a result, I am waiting on Him more in prayer, weighing carefully my options and being more content to focus my attention only on those things I know to be His will. 

I feel like a cowboy out on the range with only a few bullets left in the cartridge of my rifle.  I don’t want to take aim at anything and squeeze the trigger unless I know for sure it’s the same thing in the cross hairs of His scope.

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