How Not To Waste A Life





I thumbed through my clothes twice, both times finding nothing suitable to wear. I began a third time and stopped at a khaki skirt. It’s nothing fancy, in fact, it’s quite old, but I rarely wear it. I save it for “special” days. I wondered why I always save my favorites for later. Sometimes later never comes. Some years that skirt never actually gets worn. Although I had no special plans, I wore the skirt. Sometimes living in the moment means wearing your best skirt for no good reason. Sometimes living in the moment means not saving anything for later.

I’ve decided saving is overrated.

The boys and I sipped breakfast smoothies chatting about summer. No two summers have ever held the same flow, this one is no exception. Yet, they all have one thing in common. Each summer feels it’s the best summer of my life. Jacob smirked as I reminded him of this. “Mom, you say that every year.”

The summer doesn’t feel it’s the best because my circumstances are better than any other year. In fact, this summer holds some very difficult challenges and incredibly hard moments. It’s more about my perspective of life rather than what life is serving.

“Well, it’s true. I’m not sure why.” But I do know what makes this one feel different in its own unique way. I stopped saving. Stopped saving moments for later.

I’m living my life fully spent. I’m not saving an ounce for the future because I don’t know what tomorrow holds. Each day I’m falling into bed exhausted with nothing left to give, yet sleeping with complete peace knowing I’m exerting every ounce exactly where He has me right now.

It’s a different kind of exhaustion, the kind that comes not from overcommitting or trying to do everything placed before me. It’s the kind of exhaustion from living fully right here.

I’m trading in being a saver of life so I can savor life.

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Why work hard at life to save it all for later? What if later is drastically different from today?

I tell my boys all the time, whatever is worth doing is worth doing well. Whatever is worth doing is worth pouring your entire being into, giving it your absolute all. Do everything as if unto the Lord. I think it applies to life in general as well.

Life worth doing is worth doing well. Doing life well might mean spending every ounce of life we have every single day, not saving any for another day. Doing life well might mean pouring out life and asking God to refill us for the next day. Telling God we are going to spend it all today because we know He is the giver of life and we trust in Him to replenish our strength fresh for tomorrow.

For me, I’ve discovered there are 5 keys to not wasting my life. For me, if I don’t spend my life, I wonder if it might look wasted one day? Maybe spending it fully every day is the key to making sure none goes to waste.

5 ways I’m learning to spend my life:

  1. Get out of bed and move with intention and a plan to live. My boys have perfected the art of sleeping late this summer. By the time they wake up, I’ve been up hours and am fully charged and ready to hit the day. Jacob and I have completely different wake up styles. My eyes open, I hop out of bed, and my feet hit the floor. He opens his eyes, lays for a good looooong while, and then finally gets up. The longer he takes to get out of bed, the slower he moves about his day, and with much less drive. Now, if he knows the day’s plan, he wakes up with a purpose. Feet hit the floor, he moves with a sense of direction, he starts getting stuff done. This always affects his attitude and his mood. I began to realize how this plays into my everyday life. When I’m not intentionally thinking about spending my life well, life simply happens. When I decide that I will encounter all parts of my day with a purpose, I engage fully and with purpose. There is deeper satisfaction at the end of the day. I don’t have to have all the details of my day lined up, I just need to set my heart and attitude right so that I engage moment by moment with the mindset that all life is purposeful.
  2. Keep my eyes open all day long, keep God at the forefront of my thoughts. My eyes can be opened, yet I can fail to see anything set before me. I see a drastic difference in my daily life on the days I decide when my feet hit the floor to keep my eyes open and alert to God at work all day. Every teeny, tiny detail. When we open our eyes and begin to hunt for Him, life overwhelms us in the sweetest of ways. Jacob and I took a long bike ride together last week. It was scorching hot, but we were doing our best to chat it up and distract ourselves from the heat. Before we realized it, we were riding our bikes through a sprinkler that offered a quick, surprising soak. Jacob commented how that was perfect timing and just what he needed right then. I smiled knowing that there are no coincidences. God is so involved in the smallest of details, so delights in delighting and surprising us, so wants us to delight back in HIm. I realized then that when I’m looking with eyes searching for how God is moving and speaking to me in every moment, life feels rich with purpose, life feels personal and intimate, life is lived well when we are living in constant search for Him.
  3. Live on sensory overload. A life not wasted uses all senses all the time. Summer is for experiencing through all our senses. It’s for recalling memories of our own childhood through smells and sounds, for recreating those for our children. For storing away memories that our senses will pull back out for us again and again. Living life all senses awake is entering into a moment and deciding it will take up a permanent residence in our soul. It will leave its mark.
  4. Giving all we have to give. I’m notorious for saying yes, but later to life. Someone will ask me to do something, and I will put it on my later radar. Sometimes it happens, but sometimes life gets in the way and it won’t happen. This summer I’m doing less procrastinating of life and experiences and more saying yes, right now, why not, I’ll give it all I have until there’s nothing left because I know the One who will replenish me.
  5. Live in real life, real time. This summer I’ve put away distractions. I am much more disconnected online and much more connected in real time. I’ve intentionally decided to pay more attention to the lives right in front of me rather than the highlights of other’s lives around me. This means little social media for me. Less news, less articles, less anything on my computer. Less writing (which I miss, but a season will arrive when I can pick it back up again). When I’m on my phone or on my computer, time seems to be vacuumed right up from my life. When I put away all online distractions, it’s amazing how my senses come alive, how my mind clears up, how my vision is crisp. I’m motivated to do life well, right here, right now.

And the biggest thing I’ve realized is that not wasting life daily looks different for everyone. Not wasting life, fully spending life, will not look the same for you as for anyone else. For me to spend everything I have on my life today might look very simple compared to how someone else will spend their life today. Doesn’t make either one right or better. It’s an awakening to where God has you this very day, and living it with all you have, spending every ounce of energy on each moment He brings your way as you trust He will restore your strength and soul each and every day.

So today I start anew as I have each day this summer. I will say yes more than no. I will trade saving life for savoring life. I will spend my life fully today and ask Him to restore me tomorrow.

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