Life is a gift.
We must design the life we want to live. That design must happen every day. Today is the sculpt to what is coming tomorrow.
And that is why I want to teach you how to punch your final days in the face.
It is true that what we do today is seen tomorrow. How you live in the next 3–4 decades will show up in decades 5–6.
Our final years should be our golden years. Will we have challenges? Yes.
But we can design our life to minimize the effects those challenges bring.
If you faint in the day of adversity, Your strength is small. (Proverbs 24:10, NKJV)
The following tips will save you some pain and provide you with gain.
Deal with your dark side
Everyone has dark thoughts. These thoughts are not by choice, and there are times we do not know the source.
Controlling our thoughts is the key to managing our life. You never want to take action on thoughts like; “run them off the road or punch them in the face.”
Some people twist off and divorce their wives and buy a sports car. Please don’t do it!
Others fail to control their dark thoughts and ruin their life.
But that is not the way you learned Christ! — assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:20–25, NKJV)
Most worries never come true
As a young man, the smallest things that went wrong made everything wrong.
Trials and tests are a part of life. We are never ready for trials or trauma. That is strange since the Bible tells us not to be surprised when tests show up.
Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange happened to you. (I Peter 4:12, NLT)
We are good at making a mountain out of a molehill when it comes to handling challenges. Resist that.
Most of your fears never show up.
Here is a uber tip — learn to minimize your problems and maximize your opportunities.
Stay true to your character
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Character is higher than intellect.” We either develop good character, or we become known as one.
People with great character don’t allow circumstances to determine their actions. A person of character will follow through when others excuse their bad choices.
Displaying good character is a hidden trait but vitally important.
Character is the person you are when no one is looking. A person with a strong character is faithful — their word is their bond.
Here is the tip — people of character do the right thing at their own expense, cost, or pain.
Why? Because the right thing is always right.
Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out. (Proverbs 10:9, ESV)
Getting old is real
I once dreamed of being on the front porch in a rocker while watching the grandkids. I thought that was the ultimate life.
First, grandkids do not want you in a chair. They want you on the floor.
Secondly, getting old and having to sit in a rocking chair is not the ultimate of fun. The joy of a rocker only lasts a few minutes. That’s my personal estimation.
And getting older is cool, but we never project the condition of our body in our later years — vertigo, brittle bones, arthritis, and more.
Get ready for aging. Emotional maturity is equally important as advancing in age.
Here is the tip — growing older requires finesse and an astute attitude.
Age with grace and wisdom.
It comes to all of us.
The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair. (Proverbs 20:29, NKJV)
Save your nerves for an emergency
Test and trials are real. Trauma is worse, and emergencies happen. When we are young, anything outside of normal is considered an emergency.
What is a real emergency? I heard a story about a young man who damaged his father’s boat. The damage was over 4,200.00 dollars.
The young man said to the dad, “this is a big problem.”
The dad said, “what do you mean, son?”
The son said, “Well, I don’t have the money.”
The dad said, “son, not having the money is never a problem.” Son, “if money can solve it, it is not a real problem.”
How true is that? Smart dad for sure.
There is life and emergencies do happen. A flat tire is not a true emergency unless you are responding to an emergency. All surgeries are important. But all surgeries are not an emergency. You can recover from most surgeries.
Truth is, we recover from most emergencies. Every fear is not real and our worst nightmares rarely happen.
Do not miss the tip — save your nerves for a real emergency.
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (Matthew 6:34, NKJV)
Financially plan for your final years
As a child, my mother told me — “deposit 20.00 a week in the bank.” I didn’t, and now I wish I would have listened. The years go by fast, and yes, I have some money saved. Not enough.
A good rule is to save 10%, donate 10% and live below the cost of the remaining 80%.
I suggest keeping your excess budget at 60% of your income — after saving and giving.
The tip is — living from a budget in the early years will allow you the luxury of having a budget to manage in the final years.
That last decade of your life seems like years away — it arrives fast.
How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog — it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. (James 4:14, NLT)
Work hard to maintain your joy
One key to a happy life is to enjoy life.
People that enjoy life are fun to be around. These same people experience better health and they live longer.
Here is the life-tip — laughter is its own medicine, and joy is the side effect.
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22, NLT)
Happiness is good. Joy is greater.
Prioritize Your Spouse
The closest thing to heaven is a great marriage. So many couples grow apart and live separate lives under the same roof. Resist this with everything you have.
Marriage is hard work. Stay close with your spouse through good communication and healthy confrontation.
Husbands and wives must work hard to maintain their intimacy and friendship.
Everyone knows that divorce is tragic. Divorce creates poverty and negatively affects the kids.
Here is the tip. Are you ready? Stay together and work out your marriage struggles.
Most couples stop dating after getting married. Keep dating and keep the fire in your love life. This is stellar advice. Go to work.
Let your fountain be blessed and rejoice with the wife of your youth. (Proverbs 5:18, NKJV)
Save your kid’s toys for the grand-kids
Some things never change. The grand-kids are riding tricycles just like your kids. The strollers are the same design as 20 years ago.
The play kitchen in the playroom has barely changed — except it’s new.
Skateboards — the same.
Headgear, knee braces, and elbow braces — little change in 25 years except for the price.
The only difference is we are re-buying them!
I did not know that my garage would look the same as it did 30 years ago. My garage looks like I am raising babies all over again.
Here is a terrific tip — store the pricey, critical items in the attic; it will save you thousands of dollars.
Behold, what I have seen to be good, and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil — this is the gift of God. (Ecclesiastes 5:18–20, ESV)
Keep God first
This is the biggest challenge.
Everything in life will throw grenades at your relationship with God. The devil hates everything about you and your God.
Some people will also resist your relationship with Jesus. Jesus is either the most loved or the most hated person in the human world.
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ (Matthew 22:37, NLT)
The challenges of everyday life can be an enemy to your spiritual life. Do not allow that.
Re-frame your challenges to mold your values and forge your faith.
Here is the closing tip. Be careful never to allow the things of this life to steal your relationship with God, and always keep God first.
This post first appeared here.
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