What would you do if you knew 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 one hundred 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 longer on 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 focused on?
My relationship with God. Since I want to see the world as He does, I need to spend time with Him on purpose, every day.
My relationship with my family. To pour my unconditional love, joy and pride into them. To pass on our family legacy.
Make people a priority. To grow in graciousness and friendliness.
Use time wisely. Accept opportunities only if I really want to do them.
My health: Improve my quality of life by taking better care of my body.
My tasks: To be faithful in the jobs God has given me to do, especially writing.
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 will probably differ from mine. Only you know what they are.
Living intentionally is a learned skill.
The clearer view I have of what I want from each day, each person, will make that 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.
How can I make it happen? I don’t want to set myself up for failure and take an unnecessary trip down Blame Lane.
Here’s a few tools I use:
Plan ahead. I’ve start planning activities for my grandchildren’s visits, instead of just talking. They’ve started planning, too. While we play or share homework, we talk about their lives and mine. Purposeful activity provides the framework for spontaneous moments that are the best of all.
Remember that human beings always trump things and work. If someone drops by, invite them in for a visit. If something is broken or not returned, remember the person is of greater importance.
Forgive myself when I mess up. God’s rule to forgive someone seventy times seven starts with me.
Follow through on identified problems. Seek reconciliation with that person, take care of my health, spend more time with my family.
Keep track of progress. I use a prayer journal.
Examine your priorities periodically. Is there something I need to adjust?
When we live life intentionally, we’ll have fewer regrets when we reach the end.
By Darlene Franklin
You can find Darlene Franklin online at https://www.darlenefranklinauthor.com/