Photography note: All photos were taken during a recent family camping trip.
I’ve been thinking about myself after the end of my life. Will it be soon or will I be blessed with many more years on earth?
Once we’re gone and have seen the glory (or terror) of things beyond this earth, what advice would we long to give to others who are still here?
What advice will you someday wish you could have told your current self?
Since hindsight offers perfect vision, I mentally fast-forwarded our lives 50 years to create this list of a dozen habits we’ll one day wish we’d practiced:
1) Stay off the electronics.
This is a continual struggle for many of us. Some days we probably do a great job at staying off electronics – other days, not so great. We know that our children are so much more important than the world inside our screens. We also know that we don’t want to teach our kids addiction to electronics or to allow phone, internet, or television usage to be so prominent that it causes resentment in our children. In other words, we’d tell ourselves to turn the electronics off and keep them off.
2) Be present in the moment.
Disconnecting emotionally is so easy, but we need to do what’s hard. This time of raising little ones will be over sooner than we realize and we need to know that if we’re not intentional now, we will one day shed many tears and harbor deep regrets over lost opportunities to love on and train our sweet little ones.
3) Don’t obsess about how you look.
Outward beauty will one day fade away (Proverbs 31:30). While it’s good to take care of ourselves, we also need to choose to focus more on cultivating and modeling inner, unfading beauty than on being overly concerned with our outward appearance (1 Peter 3:3-4).
4) Choose your words and attitude wisely.
We’re all probably aware that people’s opinions of us can change in just a few moments, and words rashly spoken cannot be taken back nor are easily forgotten. Let’s strive to continue making progress with responding gently when things go wrong.
5) Get out of the rat race.
Activities that don’t have lasting value will one day be gone and should be kept to a minimum. It’s much better to spend our time on things that really matter.
6) Remember that it’s an honor when your children want to do extra things with you.
When our kids want to talk to us, we should fully listen. When they want us to go for a swim while we’re at a creek, we need to get in the water! Or maybe they want to build a Lego tower together on a rainy day – we should do it. We should feel incredibly honored that out of everyone on the planet, our children still choose us to be their playmate.
7) It’s worth the battle.
Fighting against our own sin nature, disciplining our children, and teaching them how to fight their temptations… facing those battles will be more than worth every second. Keep fighting.
Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Revelation 2:10 (NKJV)
8 ) Appreciate your husband.
Sure he’s not perfect, but we should want to always encourage and uplift our husbands as we strive to extend the same grace to him that we want him to extend to us. He needs his wife to be his main support and his best cheerleader.
9) Teach as many people as you can about God’s Truths.
More than anything else, this is what we will regret the most deeply if we don’t do it. I doubt that any of us want to be a passive Christian and assume that people know the truth – so it’s our job to show God’s love by serving others and by speaking with them to make sure they have an opportunity to know the Truth (Mark 16:15-16 and James 2:14-17).
10) Stay focused on the big picture.
We need to keep our hearts and minds heavenward through daily Bible study and prayer. When we neglect this, we can too-easily forget the big picture and our Ultimate Goal as we instead get much more wrapped up in day-to-day worries. Daily refocusing our minds will help us to keep life in perspective when little things go awry.
11) You will mess up. It’s okay.
It’s a given that at some point, each one of us will mess up on every single item on this list. We shouldn’t stay paralyzed in a place of regret and guilt. We need to learn from our mistakes then move on.
12) Enjoy your life!
What advice do you think someone who’s already left this life (or even your future self) would give to us with their 20/20 vision if they could?