What’s Left When it All Goes Back in the Box?

mirrorby Rita Schulte

Have you looked in the mirror lately?

If you have, you may have noticed a few changes as time’s gone by. A few more wrinkles, a few less hair follicles, and a horrifying shift in body weight. Let’s face it, we’re all getting older—and it’s not always pretty. If you’re over 50, it can seem downright ugly.

Living in a culture that obsesses over youth, beauty, and success can make living for the eternal difficult, but each of us must decide what really matters in life and what will be left when we put all our toys back in the box.

The problem is, most of us don’t really want to put all our stuff back in the box. Why? Because like King Solomon, we’ve spent a lifetime wanting, working, striving, and accumulating, even though in the end the wise King tells us it was all meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

Not a very comforting thought, but perhaps a necessary one. If all of this is meaningless, what’s left? What’s really going to last? Maybe you find yourself asking some of these questions, or maybe you’ve never stopped long enough to see what all the striving is really doing to your heart. But if you need a gentle reminder of what will really be important when the game is over, there are a few things to consider.

 The Legacy We Leave

A legacy is something that is handed down from one period of time to another. It’s what people remember about you and the life you led. Your legacy is the chance to leave behind something meaningful that will last; something that tells others what was important to you. Legacies aren’t about wishful thinking, they are well thought out and intentional. If you want to leave a legacy that will last, start by asking yourself how you want to be remembered.

The People We’ve Touched

The people you touch are part of your legacy. They have been impacted by your values, principles, and core beliefs. The impressions you leave on their lives will last forever and will no doubt be passed onto other generations.

The Generosity We’ve Shown

Generosity touches and changes other people’s lives. It means giving to another with no expectation of payback. Think of a time when someone was generous toward you, either with their time, attention, or finances. How did it make you feel and how lasting was the effect?

The Love We’ve Given

When the game is over and it all has to go back in the box, what will those who were most important to you remember about how you loved them? Was it providing a bigger home, a fancier car, a larger bank account? Or was it making memories, spending time, and building value into their lives? How you love shows what is really important to you

Being Known in the End

Think about the people in your life that have touched you the most. They gave you a window into their soul, and sough one into yours. This is the heart of being known. When the game is over, who will say they really knew you?


Reflection: What are you doing to build a legacy that will last?


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Rita SchulteRita Schulte is a licensed professional board certified counselor. She received her B.S. in psychology and a master’s degree in counseling from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. Rita has a private practice with offices in Fairfax and Manassas Virginia where she specializes in the treatment of eating disorders, anxiety and depressive disorders as well as grief and loss issues. In April, 2011 she launched “Heartline Podcast” where she talks with top leaders in the Christian counseling and literary world about cutting edge issues affecting the hearts and lives of people today.  She also airs a 1 minute devotional spot Consider This on 90.5 FM in NC and 90.9 FM in Lynchburg, VA. Heartline airs on Saturday evenings on 90.5 FM NC and will be heard on Christian Life Internet Radio in the coming months. Her book, Sifted As Wheat: finding hope and healing through the losses of life is currently with Hartline Literary Agency. You can follow her at http://www.siftedaswheat.com or Twitter at Heartlinepod.

Read more encouraging stories from brave-hearted women here. Be sure to grab your free copy of inspirational quotes and writing prompts while you’re there. (Look over on the right hand side!)

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