I have never had a Bucket List. There are many things I would love to do or accomplish before the end of my life, but I have never thought of anything that I would regret if it were not done before I died. And so, the story of my life has been written by the Spirit’s whisper in my ear, some carefully laid plans, and many humanly uncontrollable circumstances, but few things done with mortality as a main motivator. I would describe myself as extremely competitive against myself, but not against others. I would describe myself as driven to achieve excellence in all I do, but not driven to achieve the world’s view and idea of “success”. I love activity, action, learning, giving, and experiencing, and I hate the status quo, boredom, and mediocrity, and have come to even dislike settling into a comfort zone. But I don’t seek out the newest thrill-seeker’s high, and love an evening at home with the latest release to Redbox or a good book.
I was contemplating the tendency of others to need a Bucket List the other day and wondering if I were missing out somehow. But nothing came to mind – outside of maybe sky-diving or climbing Mt. Everest – that would even make for an interesting Bucket List for my life. The activities that I’m blessed to enjoy definitely put my life into “a-blast-and-a-half” category, and I’ve learned to live as though every day may be my last. Yet I am simply loving every minute of this beautiful ride on the third rock from the sun as I wait to go home to my Savior and my heavenly mansion – which I picture as an Americana style mountain cottage with a rock wall, Sunflowers, Daisy’s, and a hot tub. This struck me as a very pious solution to why I don’t have a Bucket List.
Then a thought hit me: What if a Bucket List had less to do with what I want to accomplish or experience, and more to do with what I would want to do for Christ? Faith without works, after all, is dead (James 2:20). With that in mind, I excitedly began compiling my Spiritual Bucket List: Would I choose 3 souls or 7 to have the privilege of leading to Christ in my lifetime? Would I like to teach a women’s small group or a couple’s? Would the book I want to write be on flip-flop sexual desires in marriage or Calvinism vs. Arminianism? Is my neighborhood my mission field or should I look at going to Ireland (I hear the beer is excellent there!)? Would I like to give x amount of money to Focus on the Family or Christian Law Association?
Right in the middle of my righteous B.L. planning, God interrupted my thought process. “My thoughts are not your thoughts”, declared the Lord (Is. 55:8). “Really Lord, ’cause I’m on a roll here.” “You are My workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which I have before ordained that you should walk in them. I know the plans I have for you.” (Eph. 2:10; Jer. 29:11).
I began to see that what He was trying to get through to me was that if it were MY Spiritual Bucket List that I accomplished through MY works I could boast, but it’s not by my might nor by my power, but by God’s Spirit working in me to walk in the Bucket List HE had planned for me to do (Eph. 2:9; Zech 4:6)! What’s important is not what I want to see done before I leave this world, it’s what He wants to see done.
All of my pious plans dissipated in the light of His glory and grace, and I began to seek His plans for me. I asked that He would so indelibly write His Bucket List on my heart that I would clearly see it and be able to write those things out on paper. (If – and when – He gives me that list, be assured, I will share with you God’s Bucket List for me!) I began to ask that He would open the eyes of my heart to see His plans and to move the direction and events of my life to accomplish those things. I re-affirmed my desire and intent to never be conformed to the pattern of this world but to be transformed by the renewing of my mind so that I could attest and approve what His perfect will was for me, and committed to put on the mind of Christ (Rom 12:2; Phil. 2:5; 1 Cor. 2:16).
The most exciting aspect of asking God to write my Bucket List is knowing that this is the truest way to experience a mortality-defying, thrill-seeking, high-adrenaline rush! This is the only way to live the abundant life and the best way to live above myself, all the while knowing this is the best life I can have. This IS living the quote “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive, well-preserved body, but rather to slide in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming, ‘Woo-Hoo, what a ride!!’”, and all the while knowing that the next life, well, that life will be even better.
I must admit, however, I am hoping that God will slide sky-diving and climbing Mt. Everest into His plan for me somewhere; I will happily witness to the sky diving instructor about the true leap of faith of a life lived in Christ, and what better way to experience the second coming of my Lord than at the top of Mt. Everest…Even so, come Lord Jesus! 🙂