Gratitude Day 555

Mon., Jan. 11, 2021

Isaiah 41:10 – So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

The year 2021 has started off for me as very reflective.

I’m intentionally spending time being. Thinking. Pondering.

In a recent conversation with a friend, she told me that she has finally given herself permission to just “be” right now. It was so refreshing to hear this. Like me, this person often begins the year with a long to-do list, goals, plans, the feeling that much must be done. But 2020 was a significant year of change for this friend. She lost her husband in the midst of a pandemic. Rather than expecting herself to be a production machine right now, she’s deciding that “being” is really OK.

Thank you, dear friend, for sharing this with me. Allowing myself to give permission for the same thoughts. I’ve been trying to give myself permission … and failing. Until our conversation.

Why is this important? There are many reasons. I’m at the stage of life when I realize that every major decision that I make is a bit more time sensitive. I hope that I have many, many good years in front of me. But my do-over horizon time is getting shorter. It’s highly unlikely that I have more productive years in front of me than what I’ve already lived.

What is this teaching me? A few things.

I don’t want to get to the end of my life and realize that my best attribute was organizing. Or that I always find a way to get it done. I would prefer that the first line in my obituary not be, “She was a hard-working, detail-oriented person.”

Please, can it be something else?

It’s really up to me. Yes, those attributes are good and beneficial. But I pray these are not the most defining aspects of my life.

Maybe it’s because I just added another year onto my age, but I am thinking about these things more often these days. I found myself wondering what I would have liked to tell my younger self 10 years ago if I had such an opportunity. Here’s what I wish the younger Dianne would have discovered much earlier:

  • Play more. With your husband, your grandkids, your family and friends. Leave the dirty dishes on the counter and go play. Take up Hubby Rick when he suggests going kayaking … every time. Follow his example and do silly things with the grandkids that makes everyone laugh in the moment and for years to come. Laugh more. Smile more.
  • Spend less time looking into a screen. Your laptop, your phone, the TV. The hours wasted looking online cannot be recaptured. Yes, there are necessary aspects of using technology. But Dianne, you’ve spent way too much time on these gadgets doing unproductive things. Use this time a more productive way and close the screens a lot more often.
  • Spend more time really J.S.T. – just sitting there. You try to do this and there are times you have. Slow your brain down and be comfortable in being with your own thoughts and listening for God’s thoughts to speak to you. You’ve missed God’s guidance way too often. A lot more J.S.T. time would help with this.
  • Ask for help more often. It’s OK to not try and do it all … yourself. In fact, allowing others to participate allows them to share their God-given gifts as well. No one will think less if you ask for help. Neither should you.
  • Be more gracious. As much as you long for others to be gracious with you, extend grace back to others. Be gracious in judging others less. Be gracious in acknowledging that there is always something more going on in a person’s life than meets the eye. Be gracious is reaching a spot in the middle that is acceptable for all parties. Be gracious in extending patience and love.
  • Listen more and talk less. More than once you have said to others, “Remember that you have one mouth and two ears.” Listen to these words yourself, dear Dianne, as well.

I’m sure there a lot of other things my younger self would have benefitted from hearing. But this covers a lot of ground.

What do you wish your younger self would have discovered earlier? Embodied much quicker? Discovered more deeply? Maybe doing this little exercise will help you focus on what you’d like others to celebrate in how you live and witness this in your life. We all want our obituaries to be truthful. Our current lives provide the example and witness for what will be written.

For lessons in learning to just be, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Lord God – Thank you for being so terribly patient with us. For not giving up when it takes years and multiple times for us to discover a lesson. Challenge me to discover what lessons in life I should value and embrace more. Help me to implement and live them daily. Amen.

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