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Pausing to Ponder Lessons Life Has Taught Me

Mountain climbing is not in my wheelhouse - but I love a good hike. The thought of packing a picnic with a friend, and heading for the heights percolates my endorphins.

The WOW moment comes when we burst onto a vista, and drink in the sprawling beauty. Before moving onward, we turn to look back. This pause to gaze behind, to survey the ground covered, provides a view of stupendous clarity. Absolutely, the view in both directions justifies the effort.

Life is like that. When we stop (pause), turn and look back, the terrain covered takes on remarkable intrigue. Clarity, hitherto hidden, comes into sharper focus. Lessons learned spur us on as we, yet again, lean into living and move forward. 

From my personal vantage point of six decades and six years, I gaze back upon a journey which is rich with mistakes, laced with sorrow, resplendent with joy, blessed beyond measure. 

I invite you to join me here on my page of pause as I articulate some of life’s lessons acquired from 24,090 days of hiking. 

Time spent with Jesus is life’s single most important and best habit to develop.

The Bible is not just a good suggestion.

Jesus is so sweet and pain is an incredible teacher.

You can’t outgive God.

Hard places are holy places.

Life is always lived on two levels, sorrowful yet rejoicing. (2 Corinthians 6:10)

Invest in what will last for eternity: God, God’s Word, and people.

Make your spouse your best friend. (if married)

The safest place to be is the center of God’s will.

Thy will be done is the best prayer to pray – the faster the better.

A good night's sleep solves a number of problems.

In the face of a crisis there is no time for preparation; live to be prepared.

Say yes whenever you can, especially to your adult children.

Be quick to forgive. You will never be sorry. 

Always take the initiative; this will forever be the right choice.

Coffee with a friend is one of life's richest treasures.

Grateful people are happy people.

Love your grandchildren; let your children parent them.

Write thank you notes.

Say, I love you, often.

Maintaining long-term life friendships takes time and money. The investment pays untold dividends.

Never go to bed angry with your spouse.

Opinions are just that - opinions. Be a seeker of truth, not opinions.

Learn to laugh at yourself.

In making a hard decision, ask, If I had to decide in the next 5 minutes, what would my decision be?

Seek to bless, not to impress.

Take responsibility for your own spiritual growth; be a self-feeder.

Daily duties do matter – make your bed, floss your teeth.

Giving thanks in all things is a supernatural first right step. (I Thessalonians 5:18)

Walk - for exercise, for therapy.

An undeserved curse does not come to rest. (Proverbs 26:2)

Be a learner; always be learning something new - a new verse, a new hobby, a new language, a new recipe, a new sport, a new skill.

Refuse to be bitter.

Attend family reunions.

Read biographies.

Resist the temptation to be defensive; allow The Lord to be your Defender.

When seeking clarity of direction, ask yourself, On my deathbed, what will I be glad I decided to do?

Be the last link in a chain of gossip.

90% of life is attitude; the other 10% is perspective.

The quality of my thinking determines the quality of my life.

Become an interesting person to sit beside at a dinner party.

Love music; attend concerts.

In the season of your birthday, give yourself a birthday present and spend a day alone with the Lord; thank Him for your gift of life and Life.

Perfectionists are not happy people. Pursue excellence, not perfection.

Memorize the Twenty Cans of Success by Neil Anderson

Don’t be afraid to die.

Keep a journal; keep it simple.

Glance at the problem; gaze at Jesus.

Look a child in his or her eyes when speaking with them.

Belong to a group. 

Read through the Bible as a way of life.

Become a discerning warrior; learn to recognize the fiery darts of the evil one.

Determine never to criticize your spouse to other people. 

Be interested in the story of the individual you are with at the moment.

Let other people tell their own business.

Fight to protect family meals together. 

Distance need not destroy relationships.

Obsessing is self-focus. 

Never begrudge driving your children places they need to go. Redeem the time in the car.

Enjoy a vase of fresh flowers in your home.

Start where you stand.

Appreciate the company of people older than you. 

Don’t drive into the garage with the gas tank on empty. 

Sunday as a day of rest is a supernatural reality for the rest of the week.

Give yourself wholeheartedly to God’s calling on your life.

And now for #66, one for every year of life so far...

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." (Mark 12:28-30)

Living with eternal intentionality:
What are some of the lessons life has taught you?