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Your Host, Randy Petrick
  • Writer's pictureRandy Petrick

Looking Back, Planning Forward: Surrendering to Time

Updated: Apr 8

What if this is my last year on earth? Would I do anything differently?

 

Happy (belated) 2024! I’ve been absent from posting new thoughts for a while as I worked to upgrade this website. Hopefully, you will like the new look and the new content [adding Book Reviews and a section that will focus on Prayer(s)], and the wait will have been worth it. As I write this, I’m now five months into life as a septuagenarian and have started reflecting on life in my 70’s. Like everyone else, I have no idea if my remaining time will be a matter of hours, days, months, or some (now well reduced!) number of years.


A man standing looking across a serene blue lake at some mountains in the distance.

As befits a new year, I’ve been looking back, planning forward, and thinking about my Christian “surrender” to God in those contexts.


I understand surrendering my life, talents, and treasures, but lately (because I have less of it) I’ve been considering a different kind of surrender…surrendering my time.

 

“What does surrendering my time even mean?” I asked myself. The main key, I decided, must be the act of letting go of expectations - allowing God’s plans to unfold naturally without trying to force or manipulate outcomes. (Well, that’s easy. Yeah, right.)

 

So, surrendering to time must mean trusting that God is in control and that He has a purpose for every moment of our lives. Reflecting on my past years meant accepting both the ups and downs of life, the joyful events and the challenges, and seeking God's guidance and strength to navigate them all.


I’ve had many joyful years, but also some with intense challenges. Wow, have I had some challenges! (Being laid off at age 51 after 28 years with the same company was one. Facing family medical bills of over $250,000 was another. We could probably include my being born prematurely, living in an incubator [and then a shoebox, too!] – but my memory is vague on that period of difficulty.)  But God brought me through them all. Praise Him for that.

 

A very small red car parked along a curb.

Looking ahead to 2024, an old saying came to mind: “God can't steer parked cars.”


I believe pastor and author Rick Warren to be the author of the following quote I like a lot, but haven’t been able to determine it for sure:  

 

“There are things you already know God wants you to do. Just start moving on those things. We can’t do everything in life, but we can certainly do everything God wants us to do.”

 

That’s advice worth contemplating as we start any new year or new period in our lives.

 

So, what if I AM down to my last year on earth? Are there things I would do differently if I knew that to be true? Yes. These were first to my mind:

 

·      I’d eat and drink less but enjoy both more.

·      I’d spend less time with the news and more time praying.

·      I’d spend more time listening and less time talking.

·      I’d spend more time reading my Bible and less on frivolous activities.

·      I’d stop more often to ask, “What is the wise thing to do?”

·      I’d relax more and worry less.

·      I’d spend more time doing the important things, and less time on the urgent.

·      I’d give and collect more hugs and kisses.

·      I’d say “I love you” more often.

·      I’d express gratitude more often.

·      I’d frown less and smile more.

·      I’d live more fully in the present and less in the past or future.

·      I’d be more forgiving.

·      I’d only floss the teeth I want to keep. (If I hear you laugh, I'll know you're still here.)

·      I’d donate more to charities and faith leaders.

·      I’d spend more time writing – and sharing ideas I hope will outlive me.

·      I’d spend more time in the presence of my Heavenly Father.

 

And, finally, I’d remind myself that these really ARE my last months or years on earth, no matter how many or how few, ask myself, “What am I waiting for?” and quit being a parked car.


 


Two small baby feet poking out from under a big white fluffy towel.


PS: To clarify, I was told I “fit” in a shoebox as a preemie (albeit a men’s size 12), but I wasn’t told that I lived there. Hopefully, that relieves you a bit about it.

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