The Life You Leave

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Your moments are someone else’s memory.  You and I are continuously investing ourselves in what matters most to us, and our lives impact more than only ourselves.  Consider your immediate family.  List your close friends.  Co-workers.  Neighbors.  Think about the paths that you have already walked and the connections that have already been made.  Recognize that those paths will never be walked again.  Don’t let despair settle in, but acknowledge that impressions have already been made.  Is there regret?  Celebration?  Imagined diversions? Lingering questions?  Now, see where you are right now in this very moment.  Don’t doubt for a second that you are not leaving a legacy.  You are, and you have been all along.

I once heard a high school peer in my youth group say that he had no regrets.  Our youth leader looked at him enviously and said, “Really?  Well, that is good for you.”  There was this sense that it is rare to not have regret, even at seventeen.  I know I have my share of regrets, but I try not to dwell in what I cannot change.  Hopefully, I am learning from past failures, because regret leads one of two ways-it will lead us either to growth or to shame.  Growth transforms.  Shame stagnates.  Sometimes we feel we have no legacy to leave because we are ashamed of the dusty paths we walked to get us here.  But those paths are a part of our story, and the life we live is more than the sum of those paths.

Your life is a testimony to God’s redemptive Story displayed in your story.  And God is renewing you day by day.  But He is not renewing you for your sake alone.  There are others He sovereignly places in your life for your life to impact.  Because legacy is not about the life you lead, but the life you leave.  So as God transforms you He is declaring His power through you, and there will be witnesses to that power in your life.  What this means for you and me is this:

 1.  Selfless Service
We do not merely live a life; we give a life.  Work, home, traditions, hobbies, relationships, and the whole business of life are opportunities we have to pour ourselves out in service to others, and ultimately to the Lord.

2.  Intentional Choice
We do not passively engage with life, but we actively pursue people, plans, projects, and such intentionally with purpose.

3.  The Bigger Picture
We do not live in the moment alone, but in the collection of moments that make up our lives.  We ask, “Is this a hill to die on?” and “In the grand scheme of things, will this or that even matter?”  We pick our battles and focus on the essentials.

I don’t think we are even aware of what kind of legacy we will leave because we are focused on the work of living.  Shame will immobilize us, though, and the people around us will lose our investment.  We rob others when we look behind us instead of ahead.  One of the reasons this blog exists is to equip and encourage others to give of themselves, grow in Christ, and lead others to do the same.  I hope and pray that wherever you find yourself on the journey today that you will walk in freedom from regret, “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead” (see Phil. 3:13).  Consider what kind of impact your life will make today.

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