Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My Bucket List

A few days ago, I was riding in the car with my husband, on our way to a much-needed one night getaway in the mountains. We were going to go shopping, go on a fancy dinner date, and in general just get away and relax for a while.

Then I saw a billboard for a family that has made their farm into a drive-thru safari. I thought this was a pretty cool idea, and it got me thinking about how I would love to go on a safari one day. I've heard of people doing bucket lists before, but I have never put much thought into the things that I would want on my bucket list.

Before I knew it I was reaching for a pen and paper and the list just started flowing.

-Go on a safari
-Go to grad school so I can get a job that I love
-Visit Africa
-Get to see a Broadway show
-See a bear out in the wild

I even added some items that I had always wanted to do when I was little that I have already completed, just so that I could cross them off my list. Yes, I'm a nerd like that.

-Work for one summer at the camp I went to when I was a kid
-Play soccer at the college level
-Get married

I came home excited about this list and scheming ways to make some of these things happen. But today, my perspective on my bucket list changed a little. I was over at Ann Voskamp's blog reading what she had to say about the idea of a bucket list. If you are one of those people that doesn't like to click links that might distract you, I'll eloquently clumsily try to give you th general idea of her post (but, really, check it out in her words because they are so much better!)

We spend our lives in the pursuit of new and better experiences, so that at the end of our lives, we can look back on all the memories that we made along the way with no regrets as to how we lived our life. The goal of a bucket list is to cross off everything so that by the end of your life, you have had all these wonderful experiences. That's all fine and good, but my problem is that the more I sit and think about what I want to do some day, the longer my list gets. My list of wants only makes me think about what I haven't yet done, instead of encouraging me to be thankful for experiences He's already gifted to me.

How much better would it be to have an empty bucket list? To get to the end of your life and there be nothing left, because you were so poured out in service to Him and to others? Instead of compiling a list of all the things that I want to do someday, I think instead I will work on writing down my list of experiences that I can already give thanks for.

That list looks quite different.

- I am thankful that I got to spend two summers in high school learning how to minister to people who didn't even speak my language.
-I am thankful that I had the opportunity to lead the little girl I took care of for a year in college to the Lord.
-I am thankful that I have been blessed with a family that cares so deeply and loves so selflessly.
-I am thankful that even though I am not in grad school, I have the opportunity to encourage my husband to reach his dream of doing what he loves.
-I am thankful that I have been allowed to see the end of another summer and the beginning of another fall.
-I am thankful that I have a job when so many others do not.

This list could keep going (and it does, in my gratitude journal). And isn't that really the point? Not to accumulate a never ending list of what I may never get, but to store up my treasures in Heaven instead.

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