What is Your Legacy?


One of the conversations I most often have in my work as a hospice chaplain is how will people remember their loved one; in other words, what is their legacy?  As we start the new year I think it is usual for all us to look back over the year that we have just completed and see what we have done and perhaps what we have left undone.  When we look back do we see deep and lasting footprints or are they just on the surface, leaving no lasting impression?

I am not a great one for making resolutions mainly because I never seem to keep them past the 3rd or 4th day of the New Year, and this year is no different.  What I am doing this year is being intentional about how I am going to change my life, not simply for the sake of change but that life can and will be different moving forward.

In his book The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, John Maxwell writes that the first law is the Law of Intentionality.  The idea behind this law is that life does not just happen; we cannot just sit there and wait for something to happen we have to be intentional about it.  If we want our lives to change we cannot just wait for change to happen we have to make that change happen.

I think most of us just sit and wait for life to make its move rather than moving life in the direction we want it to go in.  If you want to lose weight, you cannot just sit on the couch and wish the pounds would drop off.  If you want to take a class to improve your job performance, you cannot just sit and hope that the teacher comes by and teaches the class in your living room.  If we want anything in life to happen we have to make it happen.  But to make life happen, we need to have a plan.

Anything that we do has to be done with a plan in mind.  Last summer I drove to Florida for a family reunion.  Prior to leaving the house I had contacted AAA for a Triptick to make the job easier on me.  Even though I have a GPS I still like to have a road map handy as I travel.  I also plotted out where I was going to stop and where I would stay.  I also made reservations at the hotels I was going to stay at along the way.  I could have simply got in the car, started it up, pointed it south and set off but the trip was much smoother because I had a plan.

Life is the same way. Sure, we can drift along day in and day out and hope that eventually we get to where we are going, but drifting along aimlessly will never bring us to where we want or need to be in life.  We not only need to know the destination –  we have to know the route that we are going to follow.  If something comes along that derails us, we need to get back on track as soon as possible.

Creating the plan means doing just that – sitting down and creating the plan for what you want to accomplish.  Don’t wait for someone to do it for you. Get the plan down on paper and chart the course, locate the stops along the way, and give yourself time to look around and make the course corrections that you need.

The start of the New Year is a great time not only to look back but to also cast our gaze forward.  We stand in the threshold of a new year and the possibilities that lie ahead of us are endless.  We can go anywhere and we can do anything if we have a plan and we are intentional about how we are going to accomplish that plan. It takes work but it can be accomplished.

What is your legacy?  How will people remember you?  These are questions that we should ask ourselves every day and if we do not know then we need to spend the time creating the answer.

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