The words of Charles Krauthammer—the popular journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner—grabbed me and won’t let go. I hope they grab you too.
A few weeks before his death, he wrote a letter to Fox News stating that he would not be returning to the Special Report program because of his failing health. He ended with these words:
“I leave this life with no regrets….I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended.” ~ Charles Krauthammer
Am I living the life I intend? Are you?
A few mornings ago I walked outside with my husband as he was leaving. He pointed out something in my flowerbed that I had not seen—a miniature rose bush with one tiny rose in full bloom. How had I missed seeing it before? Or better yet, how had I not trampled it down while watering the shrubs nearby?
I was actually surprised to see it growing there, since I had pulled up a rose bush from that very spot last fall. The full-grown bush had outgrown the space, and the pesky twig girdlers had all but stripped it of any branches. I decided it had to go, and there would be no more rose bushes in this bed.
Yet, there it was—this perfect sampling of a rose bush that had overcome the odds—including a gardener who wanted it gone, a fresh layer of pine bark piled high, and zero protection from big rubber boots. It certainly had received no special care or prime growing conditions. Actually, it wasn’t wanted at all. Except, that is, by its Creator.
The Creator creates rose bushes to grow, reach upward toward Him, and produce blooms that turn into beautiful roses. In fact, if this tiny specimen of a rose bush never amounts to anything else, today it is living the life that it was intended to live—and bringing a smile to the face of its Creator. And that’s all that is required of it.
Oh dear readers, can we grasp that the life God intends for us to live is really all that matters?
Our broken world has a warped definition for greatness. It tells us we have to strive for big dreams and lucrative careers. Perhaps that’s why we struggle to find our place—for the one we’re in now just doesn’t seem great enough. We are often insecure about our not-so-great gifts, talents, callings, and we’re left to think that surely we were meant to be more, do more, and excel more.
Yet, our Creator God doesn’t ask us to be great in the world’s eyes—but in His eyes—doing what He created us to do.
Our Heavenly Father simply asks us to be what He created us to be. Then He offers to guide our desires and talent toward the place where He needs us to go, and asks only that we trust Him to guide us correctly. When we do find our place, we can put down roots, begin to grow, reach upward toward Him, and bloom—right there.
Henri J. M. Nouwen wrote, “Spiritual greatness has nothing to do with being greater than others. It has everything to do with being as great as each of us can be.”
As a child of God, my intentions must be aligned with what God wants from me—a life that brings a smile to His face. That could mean I need to turn loose of some dreams of my own making; or some goals that are unrealistic; or perhaps some visions of grandeur that others have had for me.
Jesus said, “For I always do those things that please Him.” And that should be enough for us, too. It might even relieve some stress from our lives.
Now that I think about it, that is the life I intend to live. ~ Janie Kellogg