How Do You Measure Your Life?

I had another post in mind to share with you today, but a quick check on facebook this morning sent me in a whole new direction.

First I saw – and shared – this picture:

Then I scrolled down and saw my daughter Lauren’s – totally unrelated - status update:
"stop thinking about what you don't have and start thinking about what you do have.
well that's my convicting moment of today. thank you Jesus."

Seems a theme is going on today, yes?

When Lauren was on a mission trip in Uganda, she spent time teaching at an orphanage. The children there owned nothing but what could fit in a cigar box. And yet they eagerly shared their most prized possessions with the Americans. One young girl gave Lauren her baby picture so she would remember her. Another girl unraveled the end of the sleeve of her sweater to give Lauren a piece of yarn for a bracelet. She literally shared the clothes off her back.

Lauren didn’t want to take these treasures, but to refuse would crush these children’s hearts, as they’d mistakenly think she didn’t want to remember them.

It was a powerful lesson to appreciate what we have rather than longing for what we don’t have. Yet sadly, she – and we - have to learn this lesson over and over again.

And it’s not just “things” that we yearn for. With my mother-in-law and my dad experiencing devastating effects of aging, it’s easy to see how much they no longer have. It requires devoted effort to look past the infirmities and be thankful for the abilities that they still possess. Doing a crossword puzzle would be sheer joy to someone who lost their eyesight or mental acumen. Walking across the living room with a walker would be a thrill to one who is wheelchair-bound.

From prison, Paul wrote to his beloved friends in Phillipi, “Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him!

“Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

“Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” (Phil. 4:4-9 MSG)

If I measure my life by what I have, my measuring cup overflows - with Jesus, my loving family and friends. When I find myself contemplating what I don’t have, I make the choice to follow Paul’s advice to meditate on what’s true and gracious, best not worst, beautiful not ugly… for that's the secret to peace. 

How do you measure your life? 



Marja Verschoor-Meijers said...

Great post, inspiring! I do not want to measure my life by the stuff I have or don't have, because I will never measure up to the rest of the world :)
I measure my life by the way my relationship with God is going, up and down, sometimes intense, sometimes not... it says something about my well being.

Susan Panzica - EternityCafe said...

So great to hear from you as always! You said it so well. Only one thing matters for eternity.

Our Stories God's Glory said...

Excellent Susan! Miss you...Life is so much better, thankfulness and gratitude so much more likely when we have this perspective. This is a powerful reminder.

LoRae said...


Thanks for the reminder, or should I say thanks to Lauren. I'm so glad she had the mission experiences that molded her world view.

We pray for you all daily.


Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Welcome home, Susan!

An attitude of gratitude - always good advice. It makes for a much happier life.

Susan Panzica - EternityCafe said...

Thanks Susan! Good to be back, although it was great to be away ;D


Lauren said...

I LOVE YOU MOM!!! It was a great post, I really miss my Ugandan children :)

Your post made me think of the song from Rent "Seasons of Love" here are the lyrics:

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, a year in the life?

How about love?
How about love?
How about love?
Measure in love

Seasons of love
Seasons of love

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand journeys to plan
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure the life of a woman or a man?

In truths that she learned
Or in times that he cried
In bridges he burned
Or the way that she died

It's time now, to sing out
Though the story never ends
Let's celebrate
Remember a year in the life of friends

Remember the love
(Oh, you got to, you got to remember the love)
Remember the love
(You know that life is a gift from up above)
Remember the love
(Share love, give love, spread love)
Measure in love
(Measure, measure your life in love)

Seasons of love
Seasons of love
(Measure your life, measure you life in love)

Jennifer Dougan said...


That's a good reminder. Thank you.

I smile as I think of you tonight... :)

Jennifer Dougan

Sandy Marsh said...

I shared this with a friend. I was trying to think of that verse from Philippians, but you said it for me.

Very well put, Susan!

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Rhonda Schrock said...

For two years now, I've been keeping a gratitude journal, inspired by Ann Voskamp's 1000 Gifts journey. It's been a fun, very healthy discipline, and I'm so glad I started it. It helps me keep my focus where it needs to be...on joy. On Him!

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