By Darlene Franklin
What would you do if you only had six months to live?
That question confronted me during a recent close brush with death. A blood clot had formed in my lungs. I filled a tiny red notebook provided by the hospital with thoughts on how to leave nothing important unsaid or undone.
Living intentionally is like carpe diem, seize the day. Don’t put off to tomorrow what is on my mind today. But it’s also not carpe diem. I’m not ignoring the future; I want to live life to the fullest today because tomorrow is uncertain.
I’m not talking about doing more. I’m talking what I choose to do. Yes, prioritize. After all, I won’t care if I have 100 unique book titles written before I die (although I hope to) but I will regret not sharing as much of myself as I can with my grandchildren while I am still able and they are still listening. My to-do list (which gets longeron a daily basis) will probably still have unfinished projects on it when I die, and that’s okay. God’s got it covered.
But there are things only I can do in the time where I am, in the place where I live, with the people around me. That’s where I want to make a difference while I can.
What did I add to my intentional living list? What last things did I want to make sure I focus on?
My relationship with God, my Father, my all in all, whom I will worship for all eternity. Since I want to see the world as He does, I need to spend time with Him every day..
My relationship with my family. To pour my unconditional love, joy and pride into them. To pass on our family legacy, things they won’t know if I don’t tell them.
My interactions with people. To grow in graciousness and friendliness, to make people a priority.
Using time wisely. Don’t accept opportunities because they exist. Accept them only after careful consideration.
My health. Take better care of my body, to prolong my days on earth or at least the quality of living.
My tasks. To be faithful in the jobs God has given me to do; to continue writing unless God gives me permission to stop.
While I do the above, I want to suck as much joy as possible from each day.
How about you? What would be on your list? Your priorities may be different than mine, especially if you’re at a different age or stage of life.
Having a clear view of what I want from each passing day, from every person I encounter, will make living intentionally easier. If I can get to the end of a day without regrets, so much the better. If I mess up, I confess where there’s sin, give myself grace where I just was thoughtless, and start over again,
The bigger question is, how do we get there? How do we avoid Blame Lane because we set ourselves up for failure?
Here’s a few tools I use:
Plan ahead. I realized I spent most of my visits with my grandchildren talking with their parents. I’ve started planning activities for us to do together. They bring things to share as well. We may read about trains, play a board game, write poems.while we talk about their lives, and mine. The planning allows for spontaneous moments that are the best of all.
Let go of schedules and allow life to happen. If someone drops by, invite them in for a visit. Human beings always trump things and work. I had to ask my grandson’s forgiveness when he broke a Christmas ornament. For a moment I lost sight of the fact the ornament was meaningless compared to his precious life.
Forgive myself when I mess up. God’s rule to forgive someone seventy times seven starts with me. When God has forgiven me, why can’t I forgive myself?
Let go of the small stuff.
Follow through. What made me examine my life in the first place?. Seek reconciliation with that person, take care of my health, spend more time with my family.
Keep track of your progress. I keep a record in my prayer journal, thanking God when I meet my goal, asking for help when I allow small things to get to me.
Examine your priorities periodically. Is there something I need to change?
When we live life intentionally, we’ll have fewer regrets when we reach the end.
You can find Darlene Franklin online at www.darlenefranklinauthor.com .