Have you ever created a bucket list? A list of exciting places you wanted to go, things you wanted to accomplish, experiences you wanted to have before you have to leave this life? Probably just mentioning the words “bucket list” start your mind popping with images of exotic locales and adventures. Many people have put in time and effort to carefully consider and plan what they want to be able to look back on with fondness, gratitude, and pride as they enter their final years.
As valuable as a bucket list may be, I want you to start thinking about a different kind of list. I want you to imagine yourself at the end of your life, thinking back over it, and instead of a list of physical places or goals, I want you to think about what spiritual goals you want to accomplish, what experiences on the journey of your soul that you want to look back on with thankfulness and joy.
It’s a different kind of list, isn’t it? One that is probably far more valuable to achieve than your other bucket list. And just like that other bucket list, it should be personal, to reflect what your soul deeply values and desires. To give you a better idea of what I’m describing, here is my spiritual bucket list, what I most want to be able to look back and know that I accomplished during my life:
1. Took control of my life. To me, this is the start of any authentic spiritual path, is to realize that God truly does give us the opportunity and responsibility to take control of our life, to shape and create our life as we see fit. I had to realize that I had to stop blaming all of the bad, hurtful, unfair things that happened to me for the state of my life, and started taking responsibility to make the tough choices to create the life I chose.
2. Loved my wife and my family. If there’s one thing that I absolutely want to look back on, it is that the woman who loves me most is the person that I have loved best. If I fail in that spiritual task, nothing else really matters. Loving my sweet Tina well is something I want to keep learning to do better each and every day. Second to loving my wife is loving my four children well– another journey that I am still on and learning.
3. Let love heal my pain. We all have pain that has hurt us and warped us. We can ignore that pain but that will not heal it. The only path to healing pain is love– the love of others and the love of God. Opening my heart and my pain up to God and to Tina is an essential part of my healing journey.
4. Experienced beauty. Experiencing beauty, from a sunset to a painting to a soul, is one of my core desires and something I need as much as I need air and water. I absolutely need to look back on my life and see that I made experiencing and creating beauty a priority.
5. Freely gave and received truth and wisdom, laughter and comfort. This life would be pointless if it were lived outside of community, outside of all the people whom God has placed on my path. To share truth, wisdom, laughter, and comfort is one of the core reasons I was given to live this life.
6. Walked with God. There are many ways to describe the inner journey of the soul, but learning to truly be at one with God, in a way that is more real than anything else in your life, however you want to describe it, is for me indispensable to a life well lived. I want to live like the ancient story of Enoch, who the Bible says walked so closely with God that one day he was simply taken into His presence. To pass from this life feeling complete union between myself and God, me in Him and Him in me, is my goal.
7. Lived my truth. This one probably sums up all the rest. If there’s one thing I want to be able to look back on, it’s to know that I lived an authentic life, that even with all my mistakes and wrong turns, I ended up living the life I was meant to live, the truth I was meant to express. That is my fondest wish for you as well, and I hope that taking the time to create your own spiritual bucket list will help you to live your truest, best life as well.