I just returned from a walk on our local beach here in Totoralillo, rumored to be the best in the region. No, I didn’t have a piña colada, but the fruit sundae booths, churro carts, and ceviche shops are already doing booming business. I didn’t wear flip-flops either, because as you may remember, it’s still the tail end of winter here. Even though the sun sparkled on the sea, the wind whipped and nipped as I hiked along. Head bent down, I crunched over our coarse sand, like shattered glass or diamond chips. Or like the precious nuggets of wisdom I’ve meditated on lately.
Because this week I turn 65. While I haven’t yet packed my bags or cleared out my desk, it’s still a significant date in our lives. My husband and I will continue serving where we are until God signals otherwise, but I ask myself: Have I learned anything on the path to this summit of days? Did I pick up any gems along the way?
“(God) satisfies your years with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle.” –Psalm 103:5, NASB
Of course, it’s not as big a milestone as the biblical threescore-and-ten or the 80 years of the healthy and robust (Psalm 90:10). But I’ve thought again about the countdown of days that Moses counsels: “Teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom” (Ps. 90:12, NASB).
Droplet Gift #47: I want to stay aware of the passing of time and use every minute wisely.
I used to do something crazy with numbers when I was a young wife and mother. My earliest journaling attempted to describe what I called the Dream Home. In it I didn’t doodle about designs or décor, but focused on my goals for my life, family, and legacy, etc.
That’s a good thing, right? Having a purpose, ambitions, aims? Perhaps, until I got lost in a swamp of obligation and obsession. I began to review and judge my days and award myself a score according to how well I figured I’d done in different areas. (Horrifying, I know.)
Finally, one day I woke up to realize that the Christian life was not a performance evaluation! I remembered that Jesus gives grace—not grades. Numbering our days never meant adding up brownie points.
After scrambling out of that ditch, many years passed before I picked up a journal again. Now I use the beautiful books friends give me to jot down nuggets of wisdom. Bible passages probably remain my greatest source of wisdom, but today I thought I’d open a pretty aqua-toned cover with pink magnolias and share some of my favorite quotes from it:
Wisdom About Life
- “Every day do something that scares you.” –Eleanor Roosevelt
- “Earth’s crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God; But only he who sees takes off his shoes; The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.” –Elizabeth Barret Browning
- “An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.” –G. K. Chesterton
- “Past tears are present strength.” –George MacDonald, Phantastes
- “In spite of illness, in spite even of the archenemy sorrow, one can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in small ways.” –Edith Wharton, A Backward Glance
- “All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you.” –J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
- “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” –Maya Angelou
- “Don’t end up with any ‘unspent youth’… Don’t negligently daydream when you could be attentively experiencing… Pray for the grace to live joyously and abundantly and for caution to live discerningly and carefully.” –Eugene Peterson, As Kingfishers Catch Fire
- “Steward: One entrusted with a vision bigger than himself.”
- “The best education consists not in being taught but in being inspired, and if I could, I would rather inspire a single person than teach a thousand.” –Neel Burton
- “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” –Mother Teresa
- “Show me a family of readers and I will show you the people who move the world.” –Napoleon
- “I used to want to fix people, but now I just want to be with them.” –Bob Goff, Love Does
- “Show me your friends and I will show you your future.” –Unknown
- “I’m not afraid of failure; I’m afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.” –William Carey
- “We are all warriors in our own time.” –Lisa Wingate, The Prayer Box
- “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” –C. S. Lewis
- “Burning hearts are not nourished by empty heads.” –R. C. Sproul
- “If God is sovereign, we can’t be too young, too old, too timid, or too bad.” –Mark Batterson, Whisper
“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” –William Bruce Cameron.
And About Writing
- “Lack of reading is a self-inflicted poverty.” –Anonymous
- “There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.” –Louis L’Amour
- “I don’t have an extraordinary degree of self-confidence, but I know the gift I have been given by God, and I try to share it with as many people as possible.” –Andrea Bocelli
- “Write so heaven will be different.” –Lee Roddy
- “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” –Albert Einstein
- “Stop cursing the darkness and light some candles.” –Unknown, but oh, so true. My personal mandate.
“Encouragement changes everything.” –Unknown
Reading these nuggets of wisdom over has given me great encouragement this week. It’s sometimes tempting to settle into our ruts and routines and to convince ourselves that we can’t change. But my prayer is never to stop learning as long as I live and to nurture growth in others. No stagnation!
May God help me to build that Dream Home with gold, silver, and precious stones and forget counting sticks and straws. I’m still heading upward and onward, not over and down the hill.
So, despite the chill on the beach today, we read books and watched the sunset, then came home for a chai latte. I’ve been numbering my days, but for praise to God not points for me. As my little journal says: I’m “too blessed to be stressed.”
Please share your favorite encouraging quote so that together we can gain a heart of wisdom.
And Lord, don’t take me home…until I’ve learned to count up my blessings instead of counting down my days.