It was early on the morning of July 29, 2009, and I was standing on the East Coast Shore of Kwajalein Island looking at the vast expanse of the South Pacific Ocean. Kwajalein Island is the southernmost and the largest of the islands in the Kwajalein Atoll. It is 9.1939° N latitude and 167.4597° E longitude. I had just finished my morning run and stopped to take in the wonder of the morning.
I was awestruck by the beauty of the ocean, the sand, and the sun. The South Pacific water was a deep dark blue and the waves looked like crashing crystals as the sun shone on each undulating wave. The scene was awe-inspiring!
Although I had to be ready in an hour for the helicopter flight to Roi-Namur, I sat down in the sand and took some time to reflect and be quiet. I took a long draw of warm salty air into my lungs and closed my eyes to listen to the sounds that surrounded me–the crash of the waves as they hit the beach, the sounds of sea terns as they flew overhead, and the rustle of the grass as the wind blew.
I was mesmerized and transfixed by the beauty that God created and I was gratefully enjoying it. I took this time to contemplate and reflect on my journey through life thus far. I took the time to reflect on where my life started and where I was that day.
As I sat there assessing my life as a whole and reflecting on what I had accomplished, I realized it was by the Grace of God that I was on this shore enjoying His creation. During my time on the beach, I reflected on Philippians 4:10-13.
The Lord gives me a reason to be full of joy. It is because you are able to care for me again. I know you wanted to before but you did not have a way to help me. I am not saying I need anything. I have learned to be happy with whatever I have. I know how to get along with little and how to live when I have much. I have learned the secret of being happy at all times. If I am full of food and have all I need, I am happy. If I am hungry and need more, I am happy. I can do all things because Christ gives me the strength.
Through Christ, I can do all things because he provided me the strength and the power to be content in every situation of my life. Through each step and phase of life, I could see the hand of God in each moment of my life.
God blessed me with a great partner for life in my wife Dorene and with three wonderful sons who bring joy into our lives. God also provided the people, opportunities, and challenges in my life that made me the person I am and who I will be in the future.
As my mind raced through a self-reflection and self-awareness of God’s blessings in my life, I was shocked into the realization that my life is finite and small in comparison to the vastness and timelessness of the ocean. It struck me that I needed to engage life as actively as possible because life is too short.
It also quickened the desire in my heart, mind, body, and soul to make an impact while I was still alive and to live purposely and meaningfully lest I waste the gift of life God had given me. Our presence on earth is minute in comparison to the time a redwood lives on this earth. We live and then pass on to the ages.
The real question is what do you plan to do with your time? What do you want to accomplish? What do you want to leave behind? Will you waste your time and only be remembered as the obituary in the paper?
On the other hand, will people remember you for your passion for life, your willingness to live authentically, and for the lasting impact you made on their lives?
Each of us is granted a sliver of time on this earth. You have one moment in time to make an impact and to become a person of impact. You need to unleash yourself and become the leader in your life.
After leaving Kwajalein, I reflect on my life at the beginning of each New Year. I take the time to review and recalibrate what I believe about myself—my core beliefs, my worldview, and my core values—to see if I was being true to myself and if I was being an authentic person and leader.
I take the time to make sure I am living in accordance with what I believe and value or if I am living falsely. Are my soul and character congruent, or are they fighting one another? Have my core beliefs changed?
The inner reflection helps me reinforce what I believe, value, and how I see the world. It helps me to live purposefully and meaningfully each year. It allows me to by my true self.
Look around you at people who are wasting their moment in time. They waste their lives through drugs, alcohol, and other life destroying vices. They waste their lives by accepting their fate versus challenging the status quo. They live their lives in fear because they do not want to challenge themselves and try new things.
They do not live their lives to their fullest because they do not want to get out of their comfort zones. How often do you take the time to be quiet, reflect on yourself, and do some soul searching? Most of the time we choose to waste our time with the emptiness fillers of email, TV, or games.
How often do you take the time to contemplate and think about your life, its direction, and the goals you want to accomplish? How often do you allow yourself to drink in the beauty of the day before you start the day?