DayBreaks for 6/29/2017 – Looking in the Mirror at 65

20170628_165743

DayBreaks for 6/29/17: Looking in the Mirror at 65

Well, today I celebrate another trip around the sun. I thought that it might make sense to reflect back across my life and share a few things I’ve learned – and haven’t yet learned – as I stare at my reflection in the mirror.

Lessons Learned:

Life is far shorter than you think it will be. It seems like only yesterday that I was 18 years old and thought anyone that was over 40 was really old…really old. And now, I’m 25 years past 40. Where does the time go? What have I done with my life? How much longer do I have left? How will that time be filled? There is no way to recover lost time, but you can make the best of whatever time you have left.

Lessons can be learned in either an easy way or a hard way. It seems that some things I’ve been able to learn just by listening to others. That’s the best way to learn. I’ve also discovered that the most painful lessons are usually the ones that are most important and that I really need to learn.

Purpose becomes more important as you get older. There are many who struggle at a young age with the meaning of their life – and they sometimes don’t find it with drastic consequences as a result. I think that we make life much more complicated than it needs to be – and the same is true with our search for meaning. I think Jesus summed it up perfectly when he gave us the two greatest commandments: to love God with all we’ve got, and to love others as much as we love ourselves. As we get older and things (at least some things) get clearer, those two purposes in live become more and more important. Glory with God is just around the corner when you’re 65 (at least for most of us it’s much closer than when you’re 18) and the number of opportunities when you can hold your loved ones and tell them what they mean to you are like the sand through an hourglass – and you never know how many more chances you’ve got to do that. It might make me sound sentimental, but so be it. I’m resolved to tell people more often how much they mean to me while I can. Purpose also becomes more important because you want to think that your life mattered in some way because there’s not time to make many major adjustments.

People grow more and more precious. I thought when I married my wife at the early age of 18 that I loved her – and I think I did really love her. But not like I do now. Rather than finding that the years have tempered and worn down the love I had for her, I find that I have never loved and appreciated her more than I do now. Why is that? Perhaps it’s because I can look back at my life and see all that she’s had to put up with through the years. Perhaps it’s because I know our time together is limited – unlike when we were young and you think that somehow you’ll live forever. I wish this lesson had been learned far earlier in my life and I would have been a better husband for it. And I’ve learned to love my children more, too, as I’ve watched them raise their own families.

Figure out as early as possible what really matters. It’s not money. It’s not worldly achievement. It’s not a fancy title. It’s certainly not a fancy home or cars. It’s about being a person of compassion, of mercy, of forgiveness, of mirroring as best you can the greatest of all God’s own characteristics: love, mercy, grace, gentleness and stopping to give a hand to those who need your help. I’ve learned that God has never failed me or disappointed me – and that He never will. I am still learning to walk in His oversized steps and trying to be just a bit more like Him tomorrow than I am today.

Lessons I’ve Not Learned:

I’ve not learned how to defeat some of my sin. Oh, I know the answer is through the power of the Spirit, but He hasn’t given me miraculous delivery from the sins that have nagged at me all my life. In a way, though, isn’t the problem in the statement of what I’ve not learned? It is not within ME to defeat the power of sin in my life. I can’t. I’ve proved that, if nothing else, in my 65 years. But it has taught me one very, very important lesson: that the love and grace of God are abundantly more than I need and the power of the blood of Jesus is far more than just adequate to cover every one of my sins. And he has already paid the price for them all! It took me many years to come to understand that nothing more is necessary to take away my future sins. And as hard as it is to believe, I stand before Him justified and forgiven of every…single…sin.

How to be a more generous person. This one bothers me. All my life I’ve struggled with “security” and that has led me to not be as generous as I should have been. When will I learn that my security doesn’t lie in the bank account, but in the God Who holds me, my family, and my future in His hand?

James 1:22-24 (MSG) – Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.

Thank you for sharing this walk with me!

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for the six and one-half decades of life which you’ve blessed me with. I am thankful and blessed because of You. Help me now to not just look in the mirror of my life reflected in Your word, but to act on what your Spirit shows me that my remaining time may glorify You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

Advertisements

DayBreaks for 6/29/16 – The Birthday Boy Ponders Life

DayBreaks for 6/29/16 – The Birthday Boy Ponders Life

Galen is on vacation. From the DayBreaks archive, June 2006:

Sixty-four years ago today, I emerged into a world that was locked in a Cold War, the Yankees were the dominant force in professional sports, and my parents welcomed me into their growing family (I’m really not sure how my sister felt about me at that exact moment, though.)  They took me home to the little farm house in Greene County, Iowa, that I would know as home for the first 9-10 years of my life.  I didn’t think much about life when I was young.  After all, why should I?  It stretched out like I-80 through Nevada – as far as one could see – with no end in sight, not even a bend in the road. 

But life isn’t really like that, is it?  There are things that make us focus a bit more on life itself as we get older.  A classmate in your senior year who has their life snuffed out one Saturday night by a drunk driver.  A friend whose car is struck crossing a railroad track – with near fatal results.  A move from one state to another with the broken hearts of all involved for friends left behind.  The simple reality is that life is full of nothing but bendy roads, and the road has a very definite end – we just can’t see it very often.

As I contemplate my life today, I think that I’m beginning to see where the road may end.  At least, I know for sure that there will be a DEAD END sign in my future.  And that, is a good thing to know, isn’t it?  I don’t know when I’ll come around a corner and see that sign, but it is good to know that it will show up.  I wouldn’t have always said that, because as a typical younger person, I was too busy living life to contemplate the alternative – and I had no interest or desire to die.  I still enjoy life – I love it, in fact, but the alternative to life in this world for believers is not at all bad.  Not bad at all.  I think, however, that the key to coming to that contentment is found as “the alternative to life in this world…”.  This world just isn’t that pretty of a place anymore.  When you can begin to hear the sounds of the heavenly chorus, and you learn that you can never be good enough, wise enough, righteous enough and as a result you throw yourself totally upon His mercy and love, there is a peace that is inconceivable.  It’s not even a resigned reluctance, but more of an eager anticipation for the journey ahead.

But for today, or this moment at least, I’m here until my Father calls me home.  That means that it’s still His will for me to be here – and for you to be here, too.  He’s got something for us yet to do before we go home.  But if the story of the 5 wise and 5 foolish virgins says anything to us, it should tell us that we need to keep our bags packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Matthew 25:13 (NIV) – Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. 

PRAYER:  God, with each day, help us to have our bags packed a little more fully, a little more completely, so that when You do come for us, we will not only be found ready, but eager, to go with You.  Thank You for the forgiveness that assures us of Your love.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.