More than likely, our lives have or will turn out differently than we plan. Even so, we can know the satisfaction of a life well-lived. The deciding factors have less to do with mountain-top moments and more with our everyday habits.
Last month, I had the opportunity to share with Alpha Omega Academy’s graduating class some habits that will help them live meaningfully, and I don’t think these practices are just for teens. They’re ones I have to work on intentionally every day. Maybe they’ll help you, too.
Habit #1: Guard Your Priorities.
We might be able to multi-task, but we can’t do everything. Or, if we try, we’ll do less well. Guarding our priorities means saying “no” to good things so we can “yes” to better ones.
By “better,” I don’t mean in terms of importance but in terms of our calling. Is this task or responsibility part of our God-given assignment? Is it something we should do or just something we could do?
The truth is that guarding our priorities sometimes means letting go in order to respect our commitments. But in the end, honoring our calling is more important than pleasing everyone.
Habit #2: Act on Your Opportunities.
Opportunities will come everyone’s way at some point, often when we least expect. The question isn’t if they will come but if we’ll be ready to act on them.
Most of our regrets come from not trying, not daring. As a result, we’re left wondering, “What if?”
Not long ago, a friend asked if I could recommend someone for a job opening. I was happy to do so and passed along the information to two friends. One hesitated, and the other sent in her resume right away. Any guess who got the job?
While we certainly need to seek God’s will and wise counsel when making decisions, there comes a time when we must act. Not acting is the equivalent of doing nothing or turning down the opportunity.
If we’re in tune with our priorities, then we should be able to discern which opportunities to act on and which to let go.
Habit #3: Steward Your Gifts Well.
When we’re in school, we dedicate time to our abilities and interests, but as we move on to adult responsibilities, we sometimes lose sight of our natural talents. Perhaps one reason is that we just don’t see any return on our efforts any more.
As an author, I know stewarding that gift can be lonely work. I have to turn down things I’d like to do to honor deadlines. No one but me knows about those lonely hours where I sit on my couch, pecking at my keyboard. No one but me sees those poorly written first drafts. But without investing in that practice time and those hours, I can’t write anything worth reading.
Related Post: The Secret to Maintaining Proper Work-Life Balance
The Bible doesn’t preach guaranteed success but a satisfying reward when we give our best.
And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:23-24 NKJV)
Sometimes, God gives us tangible blessings as well. Last month, my novel The Revisionary received one of Christian fiction’s awards, a Selah, for Speculative Fiction. The affirmation of my gift (and that my work was not in vain) meant more than the award itself. But whether our efforts are recognized or not, our responsibility is faithfulness. The results are up to God.