A few weeks ago, I helped my friend, Ashley, sell the majority of her belongings – including a hot pink, 8′ tall Christmas tree!  She is well on her way to becoming a full-time missionary in San Salvador.  Ashley’s selflessness and sold-out trust in God’s plans for her life lit a spark in my own.  After years of (unknown at the time) preparation, Ashley is jumping on a plane to begin fulfilling God’s call on her life by investing in the lives of Salvadoran youth.  Sometimes you just have to decide that there’s nothing scarier than missing the plan God has created for you.  To be real.  Be you!

How do you know who that is?  In Ecclesiastes 7:2, King Solomon teaches that it’s better to attend a funeral than a party.  Why?  Parties are great for having fun, meeting new people, and building relationships.  But if you’re searching for meaning and fulfillment in life, a funeral is the place to be.  This is where we learn how to live with the end in mind.

While paying respects, thoughts flood my mind about the life of the deceased – was it lost?  Or was it fully lived, regardless of age?  Did they love?  How did they use the gifts they were given?  Did they do what they could, with what they had, where they were?  How did their life make a difference?

Did they live with the end in mind?

Competition and comparison are two of today’s cultural traps that keep us from living with eternity in mind.  Am I smarter, richer, or thought of more highly than you?  Then there’s the other extreme – Do I serve, give, or pray more than you?  Both are dangerous.

Knowing your personal end goals is half the battle to reaching them.  I love to write – it’s how I process life! – so I absolutely love this little exercise I came across in a book (link here):20151010_192155628_iOS

Go ahead and fill it in!  Do you want to be a mentor? Do you want to help children?  Do you want to enjoy 20,000 mundane Wednesdays with your spouse?  Do you want to leave inspiration, that others might seek Jesus because of how he affected your life?  Be intentional and take action.

My goals will be tweaked as I grow, but knowing what’s important at any stage is valuable.  I’m keeping a copy in my wallet and one in my Bible to make sure my life is pointed at the things that God has placed on my heart.  I don’t always make the best decisions, and can spout out a list of things I’ll never do again, but my story is one of redemption.  There is no waste in this life if we choose to learn through it.

Ashley is a talented and entertaining writer documenting her journey here –> http://ashleyarend.co/

Please pray:

  • That she would have no trouble emptying the Barbie Dream House of the last few items taking up residency
  • That her cultural training in Colorado equips her for a smooth transition
  • That God will continue to open the hearts and minds of each person she is blessed to share her story with
  • That her faith would be made even stronger each day, and God would receive all the glory!

Ashley covets your prayers!  If you would like to support her financially, please go to reliant.org/ashley.arend
Ashley Arend