I have just finished reading a book entitled, “Twenty Wishes” by Debbie Macomber. It’s a book about a handful of widows that make a list of twenty wishes of things they might want to do to bring a spirit of joy back into their lives.
This book stirred up my own thinking about the things I have wished for over the years, and the joy I felt after those wishes came true.
When I was very young, I wished I could visit Egypt, Australia, and Alaska. As I grew older I wished for someone to teach me to sew, for opportuities to write and speak, for my family to serve in certain ministries, for my children to go to Bible College and get to the marriage altar pure. Sometimes I wished for things like a four poster bed, a new sewing machine and serger, to drive a Toyota Avalon, to live in Melbourne, Florida.
As I thought about the many wishes I had asked for over the years, I came to realize that every single one of them came true – bringing my life a spirit of joy every time they did come true.
Life is a wonderful adventure, and there really is some truth to the phrase, “It will be what you make it.”
“It is what it is, but it will be what you make it,” is a phrase I quote to myself quite often. Especially in times of turmoil, stress, and confusion. Because, let’s face it, even though life is an adventure and wishes coming true bring us encouraging spurts of joy – life is also filled with a bunch of reality that can bring us down and have our heads spinning round and round.
Wishes. These are the thoughts and desires that have kept me enthusiastic and looking forward. I have added to my list a handful of “want-tos” as well. These are simply things I want to do with my time, talents, and treasures while I am here on this earth.
Wishes and want-tos. It’s a list I keep current and a fun well I drink from when my life is tempted to feel stagnant and stale.
What have I been wishing for lately? I wished I could work for the Brevard County Government. I wished I could attend church with my sister and sit under the preaching of Pastor Titus Greene. I wished my grandsons could visit me. I wished both of my parents names could be on a memorial marker at the Cape Canaveral National Cemetary.
Every single one of these wishes has come true, and now it’s time for me to make a list of new wishes. But in the meantime, I’m having fun working through my short list of want-tos.
I want to serve in a place that is serving the needy on Thanksgiving Day. I want to give a bag of gifts to a child from the Angel Tree. I want to cut my hair short. I want to work out at the gym and get in better shape. I want to eat better. I want to find a fun clothing style. I want to walk in a 10k. I want to buy an embroidery machine and make gifts again. I want to host friendship teas. I want to join a book club. I want to host a Bible study. I want to make cinnamon rolls for my neighbors for Christmas. I want to buy my family plane tickets to visit me once a year. I want to go on a missions trip with my church.
“Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart,” Psalm 37:4 promises us. In the midst of all my wishing and wanting, I’m reminded to keep my desire to glorify God with my life in the forefront of my mind.
And of course I do. I don’t ever want to be so excited about experiencing life that I do it to the point of offending or neglecting the Author of my life.
Wishes and want-tos. These are the lists we keep that keep life fresh and fun. And by the way, God’s people should be the ones living the freshest life and having the most “good for all” fun. There are few things more condemning to our good Christian testimony than a life lived griping and complaining and time spent enjoying sinful pleasures for fun.
Life is God’s gift to us. He gave it to us at birth and He expects us to be a good steward of it until death. Yes, we should work hard. Yes, we should welcome the opportunity to suffer and handle stress in a godly manner.
But I believe that God would want us to “wish and want-to” as well. To everything there is a season Ecclesiastes 3 teaches us – a time to sorrow and struggle and a time to rejoice and enjoy the good pleasures and opportunities around us too.
I’m often asked how I stay so joyful despite the fact that I have experienced so much pain and so many hard times. I’m guessing it’s because my focus is primarily stayed upon my wishes and my want-tos, and not just stuck on my woes and what-on-earth-is-happenings.
Are you enjoying your life? Are you looking freshly forward to your days? If you aren’t, I want to encourage you to make a list of wishes and want-tos. Things that would be fun and encouraging – both to you, and to the people that live around you.
“This is the day which the Lord hath made;
we will rejoice and be glad in it.”