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Category Archives: taking risks

“Don’t be afraid your life will end; be afraid that it will never begin.” Grace Hansen 

Fear is what makes us lose this moment, while worrying about the future. Many of us search for security, and a comfortable existence. Don’t rock the boat; don’t stir the nest. But boats that don’t rock are quite boring, as are ships that never sail the seas. They are safe in harbor, but that is not the purpose of a boat. And when mother eagles feel it’s time for their little ones to fly, they begin to stir the nest, and make them uncomfortable. For who will ever learn to fly, if the nest holds all our dreams? 

Life was meant to be exciting, but fear imprisons us with warnings of, “Better be careful. Better take it easy. Don’t get your hopes up.”  Well what good are hopes that are down? Low hopes never helped anyone achieve anything. I say let your hopes rise to the sky, and never let them falter. If we view everything with hesitancy, we will always be afraid to move forward, because there are no guarantees about anything. But how much better, at the end of life to be able to say, “I tried.” If you tried, you did not fail. The only real failure is not making an effort to make your dreams come true.

Like the quote says, it’s not about fearing death…it’s about living life–to the fullest.  I can’t imagine anything sadder than to get to the end of life, and have regrets about things that you could have experienced. That’s not to say that we must do grand things, because sometimes the grandest things of all are the simplest. It’s about living every moment–greeting everyday as a great adventure, with anticipation and excitement about what the day holds. It’s about seeing beauty in the things that the some would hardly even notice. It’s about living and loving on purpose. Yes, on purpose. We are not made to blindly roam this earth without an understanding of our brevity here. For while the soul does indeed go on, there is only this one chance to be on earth. There is only this moment to love our families and friends, and to make a difference by our existence. That difference may be as simple as encouraging others, taking care of the elderly, nurturing a child, or giving of ourselves as the opportunity arises. Greatness is not found in the grandness of the task, but in the generosity of spirit.  I am reminded of a quote by Mother Teresa that always touched me deeply. She said, “We can do no great things; only small things with great love.”

So, as you can see, it is not the end of life that should give us pause, but rather life itself. I somehow think that the end of life will not be nearly as frightening as we might imagine. What is truly frightening for many, is living life…

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Lonnette Harrell

Living without regrets seems like an impossible endeavor, but I believe there are several ways to accomplish this goal. Nothing in life is ever really wasted, if you have learned something from it. You’ve gained experience, wisdom, and knowledge about what works, and what doesn’t.

On the other hand, living life while always looking in the rear-view mirror, is really no life at all. You will find yourself serving a life sentence of depression, guilt, sorrow, and shame. Living in the past makes you feel unworthy of the love of others, and even of God’s love. You can so easily become convinced that no one would really like you, if they really knew the kind of person you are. Your regrets can be like a noose around your neck, that gets tighter and tighter with each passing day. Often it isn’t God’s judgement, or the judgement of others, that will cause you to suffer unbearably. It is your judgement of yourself that is the most harsh.

So what is the answer? Simply put–forgiveness. Forgiveness from others, forgiveness of others, and most of all, forgiveness of yourself.

If there is a way to make things right, then you certainly should make every effort to do so. Apologize where necessary, and try not to hold grudges. Sometimes you simply can’t continue in a relationship, because the hurt has been so deep, but do everything within your power, to reconcile and restore. If the other person doesn’t reciprocate, then rest in the knowledge that you have done your part.

What if the person is no longer alive? God can give you peace, even in this situation, knowing that you are forgiven by Him. All it takes is to acknowledge your offense, and ask forgiveness. Then receive it, and try to move forward.

It is not possible to live a life without regrets minus an understanding of God’s forgiveness. It is His forgiveness that sets us free; it’s a freedom that cannot be found anywhere else.

The Apostle Paul, once known as Saul, was responsible for having many Christians persecuted terribly and murdered. He later became a believer in Christ. I imagine that his regrets must have been monumental!

And yet, he was able to say, “…this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

How much better off would all of us be if we could forget the troublesome things in our past, and reach forth to our future, pressing toward the mark? Most often, to move forward, we must let go of the past. Not the precious memories of good times, but the regrets, the “if onlys” and the “what ifs.” We have to quit dwelling on our failures, and move on toward success, because you cannot drive a car looking only in the rear-view mirror. You must look ahead. And so it is with life.

If Paul had only focused on his mistakes, sins, and atrocities, he would have been of no use to God. Satan’s trap is to convince us, that because of our past, we are not deserving of forgiveness, or worthy of being used by God. But if you look at numerous Bible characters, you will soon see that none were perfect. All of them made mistakes, and some committed terrible sins, including adultery and other sexual sins, disobedience, lying, and even murder, and yet God forgave them, and used them mightily. Why? Because they were willing to repent (to turn around and go another direction), and  they were willing to receive God’s forgiveness, and then move on. It can be the same for you.

Another aspect of living without regrets, is learning to make the most of every opportunity–living life to the fullest, and making your dreams come true. Taking risks and being adventuresome is sometimes necessary, if you want to achieve your goals. And even if you fail, hopefully, you have learned a lot along the way.

Living life without regrets also means being thankful and living life with gratitude, remembering that each day is a gift, with new possibilities of accomplishments. One of my favorite Bible verses talks about God’s mercies being “new every morning.” Sometimes we spend so much time pursuing big dreams, that we overlook the miracle of each new day.

I read an article recently, that suggested imagining that you were at your own funeral, and four people from different areas of your life (friends, co-workers, family, etc.) had been asked to make remarks about your life. What would you want them to say? The article suggested that this would be a good exercise in determining your purpose in life.

This really caused me to think deeply, as I realized that some people could be a great “success” at work, but fail miserably with their own families. If you have failed to love your family properly, you have failed horribly, regardless of the “so-called success” in other areas of your life. But even in this, you can find redemption. It is never too late to begin again, and to get your priorities right. Realizing that you are not just making decisions about today, but for eternity, is important.

Consider this–most likely within two (possibly three) generations, there will be no human likely to remember your name (unless you are terrifically famous.) Most of us don’t even know our great-grandparents names, and few, if any of us, know anyone beyond that (unless we’re deeply into genealogy.) I would like to do an article soon about the things that people do in order to obtain immortality. It’s amazing and ridiculous, and yet only the things we do for Christ really count. They are the only lasting achievements, and the only eternal ones.

So-if you want to live your life with no regrets, then examine your life closely. Look at your motives, your goals, your dreams, your priorities. Then look at them in view of eternity, and live your life to please God, and to advance His kingdom, and you will have no regrets…It’s all by forgiveness and His grace…

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