Life is meant to be spent – Not saved

Jan

23

2023

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Jan

23

2023

I read a quote by Beatles legend John Lennon that rings ever so true, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” I was talking to my oldest son yesterday and was chastising him for never calling home. He had said he was coming down to the farm to see the place and do some hunting and didn’t show. He is busy chasing the almighty dollar and has let that take over his life. During the conversation, he told me that he was stressed out at work. I inquired if his company was doing okay and he responded it could not be better, in fact, he had nearly doubled the sales again last year and he was making money hand over fist.

I asked about his marriage and kids. He said it has never been better.

I asked the obvious question, So, why are you stressed? He responded that he didn’t really know.

Huh?

Confucius said, “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” I was a hard-hitting CEO most of my career and being an insomniac made it easy to work 20 hours a day. I was so passionate about “succeeding” that I worked six days a week and even seven days when I was first getting started. I traveled constantly leaving for the airport Monday often visiting five or more cities on each trip and returning on Friday only to repeat it the next Monday.

Soon enough I started getting burned out. My work suffered, my family suffered, and I suffered. I had never taken a vacation aside from a few days and when I did, I spent most of my time on the phone. After one of those long weekend “vacations”, I was back at work in some city and standing on the balcony of a hotel later and thinking about it. Suddenly I decided to take a real vacation and go to Maui for two full weeks. I scheduled a family vacation and off we went. Old habits die slowly and soon enough I was talking non-stop on the phone with my office.

And then I had an epiphany. My business could surely survive without me for a couple of weeks, the world would keep right on spinning, and all would be well if I just stopped talking to my office. And stop I did. I called my second in command and told him not to call me unless it was an absolute necessity and if he did call, it better be good! It took some doing but soon enough I left work in Atlanta. I enjoyed that vacation so much I cannot begin to tell you how great it was.

After that, I took many vacations with my family and when I did, I left the office and its problems to my staff. When I returned, I was almost always surprised at what a great job they had done in my absence. I was fully refreshed and ready to kick some tail. My family and I will NEVER forget those times together. It is almost comical because I can barely recall any of those “important” meetings that I had over the years, but those vacations will be with me until the day I go toe up . . .

My only regret is that I did not learn to stop and smell the roses earlier. I have learned that life is meant to be spent and not saved. Live it and spend it while you can because there is no guarantee that once you decide to start spending it you will be in a position health-wise or otherwise to do so.

I received the highly coveted businessperson of the year award in Atlanta, was featured in Inc magazine and was their keynote speaker in Washington D.C. was a finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, and blah blah blah – I made a small fortune with my many businesses and yet none of that means much of anything to me when I compare it to my vacations with my family and being engaged in other things I loved such as prison ministry and the Jesus Alliance and who could forget hunting and fishing.

I heard one time that if you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship don’t ask what seat! Just get on! Contrary to the prevailing wisdom of all those serious, serious people out there who have furrowed their brows so much worrying about the enormity of life and they’re dealing with it that permanent wrinkles are etched in their brows. God desires for us to enjoy our life and have some fun along the way too.

I have lived by this Mark Twain quote for many years now – “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So, throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover.”

Psalm 16:11
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence, there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

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