By Mark Merrill
Prioritize what matters most.
Last time I checked, 10 out of 10 people die. Death is certain. But people don’t want to talk about it. Why? Let’s face it: We fear it. And besides, it’s flat-out uncomfortable and depressing to talk about our eventual demise.
So what do we do instead? Author Os Guinness explains: “We are reluctant, even afraid, to admit that we all, without exception, will die. We surround ourselves with entertaining distractions so we don’t have to think about death. We tranquilize ourselves with the trivial.”
Has any generation ever been able to divert itself so happily for so long and with so many fascinating toys as ours? With our Blackberries, iPhones, iPods, and DVRs, we can lose ourselves in virtual reality and be entertained and distracted forever — “amusing ourselves to death,” as bestselling author Neil Postman puts it.
It’s so easy to get caught up in ourselves and our own pleasures, but that can result in a wasted life. Here are five tips on how not to waste your life.
- Identify a reference point for success. Set loving God and loving others as your standard for a successful life. Everything you say and do should run through this filter.
- Value relationships above all else. Value investing in people above investing in things.
- Remember the source of your joy and true value. C.S. Lewis said, “Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose.” If you depend on others or on things to make you happy, or if your self-worth depends on achievements, you undermine your reason for being. Your joy should come from knowing who you are and whose you are.
- Pursue long-term rewards. Many people sacrifice long-term joy, satisfaction, and contentment for short-term personal pleasures. Things like drugs, pornography, and gambling will never satisfy. What will satisfy is living a life of meaning and purpose — a life that honors the Master.
- Remember, you are always in God’s presence. Never do anything you wouldn’t be comfortable doing in the presence of the Master. He knows all, sees all, and is all-powerful. He also cares for you and loves you more than you’ll ever know.
Mark Merrill is the president of Family First and host of the nationally syndicated “Family Minute” radio program. Mark and his wife, Susan, have five children. Join the conversation with Mark on his blog at markmerrill.com.
This article originally appeared in the December 2012 issue of Home Life. Subscribe