Three friends of mine just returned last week from STORY Conference (a conference for writers & Christian leaders). Next year, I hope to go, too
[if I'm not on a book tour ;) ].
I was talking with two of them a couple of days ago and Donna shared one of the most profound messages she heard:
"Are you living a good story?"
And then, my new friend, Valerie, wrote this on her facebook page:
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
See a theme here?
This is the way I have been feeling about my own life, of late... When I look back on my years at age 80 or 90 (or God willing, 100), will I have a story to tell? If not, then why?
I think so many of us are about "getting through the day, the week, the end of the month," that we miss a lot of opportunities to make our lives count. We sleep away the hours or spend inordinate amounts of time on the computer (ahem), or simply piddle around doing nothing but watching TV or reading a good book... and there's nothing wrong with any of that. But when you get to the end of your life, will you wish you had done more?
Don't get me wrong; I'm not on that whole, "bucket list" kick and I am definitely not a reckless daredevil. I don't plan on taking up skydiving or bungee jumping (not that there's anything wrong with that).
However, I have learned, in the past three years, that stepping outside of my comfort zone is usually rewarding. And I now have an intense desire to make my life count for something besides the ordinary.
When people caution me about my involvement in fighting human trafficking, I think to myself,
"You just don't get it."
I am careful and we don't do anything rash or stupid, but ultimately, we entrust our safety to God and His Word states that
"no weapon formed against (us) will prosper..."[Isaiah 54:17] as long as we are acting within His will.
And I do believe that this is God's will... I believe His heart is breaking for the thousands upon thousands of women and children who are being so cruelly exploited by the sex-trade industry.
So I step out... WAY outside of my comfort zone.
I had never been in a strip club before my first Midnight Outreach and I had never knowingly talked to a prostitute before that first night on the streets of Baton Rouge. I had to get really uncomfortable in order to find relevance. I thank God that I belong to a church which helps us to do just that!
But when I get old, I want to be able to tell my children that I LIVED my life -- I didn't sleep it away or let it pass me by. I want to be eternity-minded and reach out to those who think they are forgotten.
This holiday season, why don't you try it, too?
Adopt a widow, participate in an outreach, commit to a cause, volunteer at a homeless shelter...
Wake up and DO something.
Reach out to runaway youth, adopt a child, become a "Big Brother or Big Sister..."
If you live in Baton Rouge, check this out: BRDC
And if you have a story, then tell it.
I am, and I want it to be GOOD.