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  • annehope19

The Clock Is Ticking

Certain people always seem to be moving forward, making new things happen. Others never seem to have doors open for them. They get complacent being stuck where they are.

I get it! The waves of life can seem overwhelming at times. Some people sink; some people tread water, merely surviving; some people swim; but hopefully, we can learn to surf! Don’t sit by and let destiny happen. Remember, not making a decision is actually making a decision. It’s easy to get bogged down with responsibilities, fear, confusion, and failure.

It’s easy to think you are too old; or perhaps too young; don’t have enough resources; or perhaps you feel you are too far along life’s set path. Maybe you even think you’ve blown God’s plan for your life and your destiny by things in your past or present. But rest assured, my friend…you are NOT that powerful!

Challenges are part of the path to your destiny. In fact, we can have several destinies, one for every stage of life. We have a destiny for our job, our family, our friends, our service, etc. Stop believing destiny is bound to happen and make the choice to pursue your destiny.

You are still here on this earth for a reason. It’s time to start pursuing…one step, one decision, one moment at a time. Start dreaming. Start making God-honoring decisions to promote those dreams and fulfill the destiny for your life currently.

The waves of life pound relentlessly. We don’t have any time to waste. As I get older, I realize with even more clarity, with more and more urgency, that life is short and time is precious. Our lives are but a breath. The doctor who birthed you knows you have a fatal diagnosis. You will die. He just doesn’t know when…and neither do you.

You are made for the moment you are in. Are we wasting those moments with vain and fleeting concerns? Or, are you fulfilling your destiny? Destiny can seem like a nebulous subject…hard to define. But I think we can keep it simple. Making a difference IS your destiny.

Think about this…If your presence doesn’t make an impact, your absence doesn’t make a difference! Mother Teresa put it this way, “I alone can’t change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

Problems can seemingly suck the life out of us. Our vision can get cloudy. We can get confused. Every day we need to take time to ask ourselves if we are making a difference. A difference in my family, my job, my friends, my church, my neighborhood.

Don’t know how to begin? It’s like building one of the great pyramids in Egypt. It required millions of stones piled over a football field high. Each block was hand cut and weighed about 2 ½ tons. And they built it 2500 years ago block by block. And that’s how you build a life…step by step. And that’s how you build a destiny…decision by decision.

Make the most of every opportunity. Make the most of your time. You can make more money, but you can NEVER make more time. Each moment, each interaction, each relationship you have is precious. Don’t recuse yourself from the responsibility of making the most of those times and relationships. Make an impact on your children, your spouse, your work mates, your teammates, your friends, and even strangers.

Jane Goodall, the anthropologist who worked so closely with chimpanzees, said it well. “What you do makes a difference, and YOU have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” Realize your role is important. Who knows but that God has put your right where you are, right at this time for a reason. Be a blessing! Make a difference!

Anne Frank, a Jewish girl well-known for keeping a diary while hiding from the Germans wrote, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a moment before starting to improve the world.” Are you making a difference in your destiny? What are your fingerprints on? Who are your fingerprints on?

Back in the times of Roman conquests, the victorious general would ride through the streets of the conquered land on his chariot. The Roman soldiers would line the streets and idolize their brave leader, showering him with adoration. But standing right behind the general would be a slave whose only duty was to continually whisper in the general’s ear, “Momento mori!” It was a reminder that even though he may be at the peak of glory now, one day he, too, will die.

That may seem a bit morbid, but Stoics would argue that death is what gives meaning to life. Coins were made with this motto. Jewelry was made with these words and worn by the likes of Queen Victoria to remind one of the haunting reality of life’s uncertainty. It’s easy to lose track of mortality until something happens: sickness, death of a loved one, accidents, war, tragedy. These things always cause us to refocus and renew our sense of priority. These types of events help us remember what is really important.

Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, wrote: “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Almost everything—all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure—these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

Steve Jobs died at the age of 56 from pancreatic cancer. In the end he realized that all his fame and wealth was meaningless in the face of death. He could hire people to make money, to work for him, but he couldn’t hire someone to carry his disease. Material things were glaringly immaterial. As we get older, hopefully we too are realizing that a watch worth $30 or $300 tells the same time. A car worth $20,000 or $200,000 gets us to the same place on the same road. And the house we live in, whether it is 800 square feet, or 8000 square feet can still house the same loneliness.

Treasure your family and friends. Treasure your faith. Treasure relationships, even with strangers. Treasure what you love to do and are able to do. If this was the last week of your life, what would you treasure most? What impact would you want to leave? What words would you want to say? What truth would you want to impart? What relationship would you want to repair?

Why aren’t we doing it NOW? Why aren’t we living our lives that way? There is wonder all around us. There are doors that can be opened, people that can be reached, relationships that can be mended, love and joy that can be shared.

God has given each of us unique talents, unique interests, unique visions. If you want to write, then write. If you want to teach, then teach. If you want to sing, sing. If you want to start a new business, do it. If you want to try something new, go for it. If you want to reach out to someone, don’t wait. If you want to share your faith, do it with love. You are at the perfect age and the perfect time to accomplish the vision God has given you.

Where to begin? Pray, envision it, write down your goals and the steps you can take. Start moving and keep moving one step at a time, one decision at a time, one moment at a time, one day at a time.

The older I get, the more I desire what Paul wrote in Acts 20:24, “…my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord has given me…” I am only one, and I cannot do everything. But I can do something. And I will not allow what I cannot do to affect what I can do. Don’t sit by and let destiny happen…because it will, and you will be unfulfilled. Make a difference. Make an impact. Make a life and make a destiny.

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Anne Hope is the award-winning author of Bent Pages...a sharp, funny, and deeply inspirational narrative.

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