Many years ago I read the book by Steven Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. I can’t say the book changed my life, but if asked, I could probably still recite the list of habits. One, however was seared into my mind and frequently comes back to me. You may have guessed it’s Begin With the End in Mind. The deep meaning behind that thought consistently impacts my acts and reactions. If you don’t know the analogy, let me help you out. In his book, Covey asks his readers to imagine being at their own funeral and observing what the guests say about them. I know. Who wants to do that? But embedded in that statement is the reality that our lives are made up moments all strung together that make us who we are. At any given point we have opportunity. What do we do with these strung out opportunities that define our lives? More pointedly, what is the attitude that characterizes me? I’m convicted daily of how many times I say “I want to . . .” or “I should do ….” I catch myself falling into the pattern of aimless wandering because I’m so busy. Some would say, ‘You’re over committed and should give some things up.” Really? But these things that keep me so busy are the acts I’ve chosen because I want to be remembered for them; still I want to do more, take on another activity, another project, another hobby, another – well you understand. So the key is the decision point – at the junctures of all those strung out moments how do I decide? How can I sort out the important from the trivial and the memorable from the meaningless? When I look at all those decisive moments that have become my life, what do I want to be remembered for? I’ve thought of a few.
- Faith in God and complete trust in His sovereignty: While this sounds simple, it’s a serious act of turning over my will to God’s will even when I don’t understand His ways.
- My relationships – wife, mother, grandmother, sister, friend: My role is to be loving, attentive, empathetic, authentic, involved, thoughtful, encouraging, supportive, and spread infectious joy.
- Employee, co-worker: How to carry my fair share of the work, be a team player, be genuinely supportive no matter what, be loyal, practice gratitude, be complimentary, give recognition, project joy
- Personally: Be discerning, live with integrity, be diligent, act with kindness, take care of my physical body, strengthen my mind, guard my heart and mind from deceit and wrong, be joyful
Admittedly, that’s quite a list and it could be even longer, more intense and transparently revealing. In the context of a full life though, not impossible. Much of my list is comprised of attitudes which in reality are the foundation of how I’ve built my life. And Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues [attitudes] of life.” I’ve never met anyone who lives more than one moment at a time. In fact, I don’t know of anyone who has more than 60 seconds in a minute or 24 hours in a day. In Ephesians 5, I read the instruction to make the most of every opportunity. When I look down from heaven I hope people use these words when remembering me: unshakable faith, kind, compassionate, made others feel like they matter, involved, eternal cheerleader, supportive, encourager, attitude of gratitude, enthusiastic, positive, lover of life, infectious joy.
Most of all I want to be remembered for being who God intended me to be and that regardless of all the defective decisions I’ve made, He was able to take the broken and rebuild them for good. I am His workmanship, created by Christ Jesus to do good works. Ephesians 2:10 Here’s the wrap-up 2 Timothy 4:7 speaks to me. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.