"Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today." James Dean
Do you ever find your self in the doldrums? Do you ever think that your life does not seem significant? Stop and do self evaluations whenever you get these stirrings.
Today, I do not feel insignificant, but change is in the air. Next week I will walk away from something I have loved and done for over 22 years. I am retiring.
I recently was thinking that my life was no big deal, until I started calculating how many people I really have touched just in my career.
Elementary students I have taught: 417
Middle school students taught: 400
High school students taught: 360
Detention center students taught: 40
(Not to speak of youth groups, children's choirs at three churches, Bible studies, book studies, Sunday school classes, co-workers, Japanese friends I made and spent time teaching American cooking lessons to in Tokyo, etc.)
Just of the figures from teaching school, I came up with 1,217 students that I spent a year with on a daily basis. Some of my ESL students I spent two years with them and they had more than one class with me.
The point is, this is not a hurrah, or a "look what I've done in my lifetime". Yet it is just one way of measuring my worth. I imagine you can do just the same with your jobs, community work, voluteering, singing in choirs, tutoring, helping with menial tasks that make an event possible, send needed supplies and encouraging items to troops, or to rescue and emergency aid to countries hit by disaster, planting trees, recycling, giving to non-profits.
Then, consider this! If you have children each of them has a sphere of influence. My influence and input and love into my six children has touched many lives because of who they are and who they have become. God gave them as a gift to me to train and raise up, but they are also a gift to the world.
Just think of it! I have influence in Afghanistan, because me son is there working for the government. I have influence in California because of another son there. I have influence in San Antonio because of daughters who live and interact in various positions, careers, and civic duties.
I also have influence in South Africa because of my daughter who is a full-time missionary there with YWAM. She loves on kids in schools, orphanages, aids clinics' patients, druggies and prostitutes, other students from all over the world who come to train on a half year mission journey in their lives to find God and their place in His kingdom. I also have influence with my young son still at home as he matures and develops.
My husband also tell me that I am an influence on him. I will quickly tell you that his love, faith in God, and generosity of love to me and my family has had a great influence to heal and he brings encouragement along to everyone he meets.
As I dream for the next venture in my life. I am excited at the prospects. I know that no matter which way I turn God can use me to encourage another person. I know that if I decide to stay at home and write and just loved on my family and took care of them, that my life would be fulfilled. I do want to dream big and touch the world. I want all that I have and can give to be used to the fullest.
I want to live today like it was my last. What would be on your to do list if today is your last day on the Earth? Maybe that should be part of the routine everyday.
Live life so that when you go to sleep at night there are few regrets. Plan your days so that every once in a while there is some spice in life: something that you really love and want to do for others and yourself. Follow your passion. Use your natural gifts. Follow God's heart.
Then, when you get those nagging negative thoughts or feelings just remember to sit still before God to get your balance...let Him be your compass. Your dreams will not be abandoned, rather... you will find that when you look back and reflect...they are all coming true.