Don't Waste Your Life

Thursday, October 4

You have only one life, spend it wisely. Don’t Waste Your Life!

It could seem obvious to everyone at first, but getting down to it personally: “How am I spending my life?” is a question we need to ponder on. What will matter, when you are no more – not breathing anymore? Will it be the wealth you accumulated, will it be the number of friends you made or even enemies?

Randy Travis sang about it in Three Wooden Crosses – “It’s not what you take when you leave this world behind you; it’s what you leave behind you when you go.” Michael Josephson wrote about it in the well known poem, “What will Matter.” John Piper dedicated himself to find the opposite of a wasted life. Jesus lived a ‘NOT WASTED LIFE ‘and he offers us too the invitation to not waste our lives.

photo credit: pchow98 via photopin cc

I just celebrated my 2-Something birthday :) 25th Birthday to be exact and God has been gracious. This year for me has been one of endings, new beginnings and molding of character.

More than anything, I desire a life that glorifies God in me.

I will share 7 lessons I have learned in the two decades of my existence and I would only hope that it will resonate with you as much as it does with me. Michael Josephson says, “What will matter is not what you learned but what you taught.”

1.    It’s not about ME.
Who do you look for first in a picture of you with family and friends? Don’t we all point to ourselves? “That’s me” we seem to say. In relationships, we always want to fight for our rights while fleeing responsibility. When something goes wrong, we first take it personally before analyzing to see the root causes.

•    It didn't happen to you as much as for you: We get engrossed in what happens to us, so much so, that we forget that it could be for our sake. I’ve learnt to ask more “What is the lesson?” questions instead of “Why me?” questions.
•    What doesn't break you makes you: Whatever trials we face are meant to build our character. If we forget that, it becomes a discouragement, instead of a growth moment. Every rejection we face is meant to push us further into lives of significance; we just have to choose to seek the opportunities instead of problems.
•    For so long, I prayed for God to change my circumstances: It was only until I agreed with God that I needed to change first, did I notice my circumstances start to change. I learnt that the weather didn’t have to change. I had to change my perception of the weather first and later notice that rain was also good weather.
Who is it about then, glad you asked…

2.    It’s about God and other people.
Jesus gave two great commandments and both have to do with love. Love for God, love for self and love for others.

Love is the essence of who God is and He loved us even when we were unlovable.

I have learned that only God loves perfectly and He can teach me to do the same.

You cannot give what you don’t have. We obtain a healthy self worth from what God says about us and then treat others as such.

Treat them as we would want to be treated.

3.    It’s never too late to dream again.

Dreams don’t die – we just bury them alive.

Dreams are given to us by the Creator. The creation cannot seek meaning apart from seeking answers from the Creator.

Sooner or later, you dream your childhood dreams again, after a season of mediocrity. The catch is you have to act on the dream – pursue it. Contend with your fears again and again. Risk failure. Risk success. Fail forward, and don’t give up.

Seek God during the process and be intentional in your pursuit daily.

4.    Forgiveness frees the forgiver.
This one was not an easy lesson for me personally. Especially because those closest to you: “deserve to know when they have hurt you and must say sorry at the very least.” At least, that is what I thought.

I learned it the hard way. If I don’t forgive, the prisoner held hostage is me. The biggest loser is me. Even when my offenders are not sorry, I have to love myself enough to forgive them.

Only then will I be able to claim my love for them and live beyond the hurt. Every other lesson I have learned is pegged on forgiveness.

I would hope that you would analyze your life too and ask whether you harbor any bitterness or anger against anyone even if it’s God. Deal with it now or it will deal with you.

Whoever said time heals wounds, didn’t consider that it is also a personal choice. You make the choice to forgive, not time.

5.    Failure is never final.
Both the moon and the sun know what time to shine and we should too. It takes patience and perseverance. Your time to shine will ultimately come but you have to put up with making numerous mistakes along the way.

We seem to learn more from the struggles and the failure than what we perceive as success.

Don’t give up. Quit. Fall. Rise up and try again.

The difference between try and triumph is a little bit of "UMPH!"

6.    Learning never stops, if it does you stop living.
We don’t literally die when we stop learning. No, life just stops making much sense. Pieces in the puzzle don’t seem to fit. And rightly so.

No one knows everything if you ask me. That is why we need to keep learning.

And you will never know everything. That is why you decide to put your energies into one thing and become great in it.

Obstacles to learning include pride and ungratefulness. Develop a teachable spirit and life becomes an easier journey for everyone.

7.    Be grateful.
Do you notice that breathing is a reflex action which you do not get to choose? Waking up from bed healthy is a gift.

Every day is a present you do not deserve yet you have.

I don’t know about you. Personally, saying ‘Thank You’ and really meaning it makes life worth living.

It pushes me to live a life of significance – where mere existence is pushed in the backseat and making a difference becomes priority.

When we say thanks often, we become humble. It keeps us in the know that life could not be lived on our own and for ourselves alone.

Regrets – they are just a waste of time. Learn the lesson and move on living in the present and looking to the uncharted future.

Fears only stall our progress if we let them; courage is not the absence of fear but the conquest of it.

Shame leads to a mediocre life – Jesus was shamed more than anyone in this life and yes He rose again.

Anger – only stifles your growth more than the offenders’. Life for them may just be getting better while yours is dwindling.

Choose a new beginning with no regrets, no fear, no shame and no anger. This is what this blog is all about.

We are all here to learn and to teach. Please share your lessons as well in the comment section. What is a wasted life to you?

Matthew 16 Amplified Bible (AMP)

25 For whoever is bent on saving his [temporal] life [his comfort and security here] shall lose it [eternal life]; and whoever loses his life [his comfort and security here] for My sake shall find it [life everlasting].


  1. :) looking forward to learning as much as your son is from you. Thanks Barb.

  2. Hi Dan,

    I have to agree with you on TV time, 3-4 hours daily is shocking (could even be more for social media). You have shared a great perspective. We should be spending more time on activities that are important and of value.

    It's encouraging to know that we are in a similar journey towards being good stewards of time. I also am working on getting better -- and it is bearing fruits one day at a time!

    Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

  3. That's funny - I didn't even notice that the numbers of our ages are interchangeable. :) You're the same age as my oldest son (the app programmer).

  4. Awesome lessons Maureen! i love it. Can't believe you turned 25! You so deep, perceptive and wise! This is a must read for everyone, a must share.

  5. Hi Ngina,

    Can't believe am 25 too :-) it's going too fast if you ask me. I thank God. I really appreciate your kind remarks. You really bless me. Got to say that God has been my teacher through the valleys and grateful that though am weak and I am also called as you shared recently

    Thanks for reading and sharing.

  6. Great thoughts. I'm still working on getting better with my time. I think spending time every night watching TV and on social media a waist of time. I heard some where that the average person spends 3-4 hours a day watching TV. That stat blew me away. I watch TV and movies but make sure it's in moderation.

  7. davejarnold16@gmail.com2 November 2012 at 16:31

    Hi Maureen - great post. It is so true: We only have one life... so let's not waste it. Thank you for sharing this. It was truly inspiring. I recently read in Ps. 90 where Moses says, "Teach us to number our days" (Ps. 90:12). I think we so often forget this - I know I do. But it's true. There is so much God wants us to expereince! And one day when we're with Him, will look back on our brief life and all its struggles and say, "It was worth it." God bless you.

  8. Hi Dave,

    Amen to looking back and saying "It was worth it." God indeed does want us to experience much more - I guess we limit ourselves and forget that this life is short. May God teach us to number our days.

    I appreciate your encouragement, reading and adding your insights. God bless you too.

  9. I regret not seeking after wisdom the way you have at your age... Good for you. May God bless you abundantly and use you mightily.

  10. Great post, Maureen! I love all your lessons - if only I had been that mature at 25! I was just thinking over my life last night (52 years - more than twice your age!) and I thought of maybe five different defining moments in my life where God asked me to give up different things for Him.

    I remembered that each time I gave them up He blessed me with this incredible intimacy. Afterwards, regular life didn't change - I didn't end up getting what I wanted. But life with God more than made up for all the things I was giving up.

    I was in another giving up phase last night and it encouraged me to remember those times in the past and remember that God's best blessings are fellowship with Him - not whatever we think we need to have to be happy here.

    So I suppose I would say a wasted life is a life where you're not willing to give up whatever it is that God wants you to give up.

    Thanks for a thought-provoking post.

  11. Hi Floyd,

    Amen to your prayer. Thanks for your kind remarks and sharing. May God bless you too. I just know God restores the years we lost even, so your on the right track.

  12. Hi Barb,

    Great that the numbers of our ages are interchangeable :) I am already learning a lot from you.

    I love the point you have shared, many times the defining moments are really when we give up what we think we deserve or want and instead trust God to work and give us what He knows is best. As you've shared, we might not get what we want, maybe not immediately, but God makes it up to us exceedingly and above all we can ask or imagine!

    "God's best blessings are fellowship with Him" that is such a wonderful reminder. May we be willing to give up what God wants us to even when there is no seeming reward. Thanks for reading and adding to me as well. God bless you.


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