Years ago, in 1998, my wife gave me a memory box in which she placed pictures, mementos, and newspaper clippings and gave it to me for our 11th Anniversary. She put a note that said, Take two minutes a day to take something from the box and think about whatever it brings to mind. I thought about so many beautiful memories we have made along the way. I only hope we can continue for many years to come!
Recently, 25 years later, I was doing some cleaning in my office, and I discovered that box. It’s been in a drawer out of sight. They say before you die, you see a glimpse of your life. That is what happened to me, sitting by myself, reliving my life. Those memories lingered with me for days and made me wonder how I got here.
Growing up in Iowa
Growing up in Iowa, I was not taught how to live life. I was like Joseph of the bible, A misunderstood dreamer, going here and there, never knowing where I would land. Schools didn’t teach life, and my parents didn’t tell me how to do life, so I just winged it. Finally, I began to follow my dreams. I had enough faith to keep my hope on life support. When I failed, I didn’t call it a failure. I called it “bad choices” or errors in judgment. Persistence and better choices eventually brought those dreams to fruition.
Holding that box containing parts of my life, I realized that the grace of God brought my secret dreams and desires to reality. Then the thought, why me? I know many more talented, intelligent, and educated people than myself. And then that beautiful, quiet voice speaks to me; most people are just going through life, existing. Their life becomes the sum of the decisions they make. So often, their decisions are based on “doing the right thing”; they are afraid to fail, disappoint God, or check that ego and vanity. Those are from the devil. So, if you dream, have God-safe dreams. I never knew of such things.
Life at Full Speed
I pursued life and still do at full speed. I want everything God created me to obtain or do in life. I want God to correct my wrong thinking. I never worried about failing God; even when I became a follower of Christ, I still pursued my dreams. The only thing that changed was God gave me the ability to see what gifts and talents He placed inside me, and they needed to come to reality. A reality that eventually shows the world who we are and whose we are.
So how do you learn this? When was the last time you heard your preacher tell you to live life with total abandon and pursue your God-given dreams to the fullest ability you have and let nothing get in the way of God’s call on your life?
I don’t hear that. Instead, I hear about behavior modification. To walk and behave a certain way and don’t color life outside the lines of church doctrine. So, we have churches full of educated, polite, reserved Christians that have been tamed.
A Total Rebel
I am a total rebel; I cannot adhere to that and cannot teach that. My God-given destiny is between my God and me. I have made countless mistakes on this journey, and what did it show me? I am a sinner in need of God’s amazing grace, and those mistakes, errors in judgment, and prideful decisions make me and you relatable to others on similar journeys.
If we are to be ambassadors for Christ, it must come from natural, genuine mistake-makers who love Jesus more than their fear of failure. My memento box illustrates that each of us who have a personal relationship with God can live the life we are created to live. Living out your God-given dreams produces a stress-relieving, fun-loving, joy-filled life. It’s my fountain of youth.