Thursday, March 12, 2015

a successful life.

This morning I remembered that I’m not going to live forever. Sounds funny right? But it really did happen like that. I was just getting ready, right in the middle of putting on my handy dandy maternity jeans, and the thought crossed my mind… I don’t know how long I’ll be on this earth. It wasn’t a morbid thought or even a depressing one, it actually felt light and kind of hopeful, as if some heaviness was being lifted off of me that I had’t realized was there.

I think sometimes it’s healthy to think about death. It reminds us that our days are precious. I also think that when we don’t remember it, we start to feel all tied up like knots, focusing mostly on temporary things, and stressing over stuff that in the long run probably isn’t all that stressful.

Reflecting on the shortness of this life on earth reminds me not to waste my time with shallow meaningless living. It reminds me that there’s a whole world of hearty and delicious living out there and I only have a limited amount of time to experience it. It's like a big huge feast. As if there’s an enormous assortment of food and drinks in front me, everything from basic stuff like the peanuts and pretzels they serve on airplanes, to the elaborate stuff like fresh sushi and sweet Spanish wine. Now say I’m given just one hour to enjoy as much or as little of the food that I want... obviously you wouldn't find me wasting my time on the pretzels, I’d be heading straight for the sushi bar with a glass of wine already in hand. Right? Because when I know that time is short, I use it wisely. 

((Also... Can you tell I’m pregnant?
The only two foods I just listed eating are the ones I can’t have for at least 9 months… hmmmm)) 

All I really want to do is live a successful life. Not necessarily successful in the eyes of people, because peoples' opinions are so fickle, but successful in the sight of God. This means that my success is not measured by my accumulation of wealth or my ability to get a rock-hard bod, it’s not about achieving some sort of fame or even about preserving my own personal happiness. I believe that a deliciously successful life, a sushi and red wine type life, is simply a life lived faithfully. Faithful to God. Faithful to the people He has placed in front of us. Faithful to the work He has given us to do. 

Success can look different for all of us, because unlike the type of success that’s determined by dollar amounts or the number of followers on our Instagram feeds, God determines our success based on our faithfulness to the unique calling He has given to each of us. 

For my friend Hillary in Colorado, success means staying committed to her sweet growing family, which currently consists of things like diaper changing and toddler chasing. Success also means being diligent in maintaining her blog, because she knows that God has called her to display His love through her social media. 

Then there's my friend Bobby Bo. Bobby is from Chicago and has a big red beard and lots of tattoos. About 7 years ago he moved to Thailand as a missionary and committed his life to demonstrating the love of Christ to the Thai people. He married an adorable Thai girl and they made an extra adorable little boy named Ezra. Success for Bobby means loving and supporting his wife and son and it also means adopting the Thai culture as his own in order to make a lasting impact there.  

These are two faithful friends living vastly different lives from one another, but both are richly successful. They aren’t wasting their days here on earth, they’re soaking them up, drinking them in, and savoring the yummy goodness God has for each of them.

That’s how I want to be. That’s what I remembered today. 
I remembered that my time on earth is short. 
And I remembered that I am only as successful as I am faithful. 

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Debbie Bell said...

That was beautifully written, Jess - and so right on target! I've been thinking more about death since my mother-in-law is in the throes of hospice care. God Bless her 96 year old soul. She's as happy as a clam because she is at peace with herself, her family, and God. I think that you are at peace with God as well, and it shows. My mantra is, "Let Go...Let God." Then I feel at peace within. May God bless you, your husband, and your unborn baby girl.

Kalyn Hemphill said...

Jess-so good. Such an encouragement!