It’s not the years in your life that count: it’s the life in your years that’s important.

You may have heard that idea in different forms. One of the saddest of all reflections is, “What might have been?!” There are plenty of things in life you don’t have control over. But how tragic to get to the end and realize that YOU were the reason you didn’t experience more, love more, give more.

Don’t let these regrets happen to you:

  1. Time with loved ones. Busyness can so easily take over the time you should invest with those who are most important. Your children are only small once. After your parents are dead your time with them is gone forever. Opportunities for evenings, weekends, or vacations with your spouse may never be there again. Treasure the people close to you while you can.
  2. Neglecting your health. Eating right, exercise, appropriate rest – who has time for that? Nasty habits such as tobacco or drugs – you just need them to get by for a while, right? But once your health is gone, it may not be possible to get it back. Value yourself and your loved ones enough to take care of your health.
  3. Not taking a risk. Perhaps it’s a trip you would love to go on, a business you’d love to try, an education you wish you had, a book you’d love to write, or a cause you believe in strongly. The day will come when it’s too late to take the necessary steps and act on your dream. Sure, it may be risky. But will you regret it if you don’t at least try? “Don’t die with your music still in you.”
  4. Living someone else’s life. Parents, teachers, society – there are plenty of other people who would be happy to tell you how to live your life. Someone else will always be willing to tell you what to think if you let them. But “someone else” will not be looking back at your life with regrets: it will only be you. Live with honesty and integrity, true to what God built into YOU!
  5. Forgetting eternity. Think about what you have planned for the future, and ask, “After that, then what?” Are you sure where you will spend eternity? Whether your life here is happy or sad, bountiful or troubled, short or long, eternity is a very, very long time! Make sure things are right between you and God. He promised that all you need to do is trust Him, and He will take care of your tomorrows – forever. (That’s the message of John 3:16.)

When faced with a decision one useful question to ask is, What will I wish I had done if I look back on this 5 years from now? Look back on it from the end of my life? That question can help you and I finish without regrets.

Your turn: Are you living in such a way that you can finish without regrets? Do you need to make any changes, take any risks, say “NO” to anything, to prevent regrets in the future? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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