Sunday, December 28, 2014

My bucket list

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
One of the things I did this past year was to compile a bucket list.
On it I put hiking, kayaking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, horseback riding in the Colorado Rockies, spending a month in Alaska and visiting the Canadian Rockies. Perhaps I should add “getting and staying in shape.”

I was hesitant at first to list anything. Unlike the two characters in the movie, I don’t have a billionaire to fund the fulfillment of the list of things I want to do before I kick the bucket. So phrases such as “we can’t afford it” and “be realistic” kept popping up.
We humans can come up with all kinds of reasons our deepest desires and wildest dreams won’t or can’t be fulfilled. So we plod on, not allowing ourselves to hope or dream because we don’t want to deal with disappointment. Or we make a bucket list of “safe” things—those that don’t border on impossible.
I had to push the hope-sucking words out of my mind with another phrase: “If money were no object…” and set my mind free to dream.
When I got brave enough to write my dreams down, I began to see the possibilities—how they can be fulfilled. I began to hope and dream again like I did when I was much younger.
What is life without dreams? Without hope?
In 626 B.C. God’s people thought they were without hope, too. Sent into exile for persistent willful disobedience, they were given these words: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
The next 70 years weren’t going to be pretty. Babylon would be a far cry from the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey God had helped their ancestors conquer. But don’t give up hope, He told them.
Hope—what we need to get us through our Babylon times, what we need to get us through life even when it isn’t tough.
There may be those who say this verse isn’t for us today—that it was meant only for God’s people at that time. There may be those who say this verse has been so overused, it’s become cliché.
But these 29 words say so much—and I believe they are for us today, too, for “the grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever” (Isaiah 40:8).
“For I know the plans I have for you” —God has a plan for your life, a purpose for YOU.
“…to prosper you and not to harm you.”— Although life includes pain, God’s purpose is not to harm but to help you to grow. God’s plan for you is good.
“…to give you hope.” Life without hope is like soda without the fizz, like a long, dark night with no sign of morning. Hope comes from God, so ask Him for it.
“…to give you…a future.” God has a future planned for you, but He reveals it one day—one moment—one step—at a time.
Plans, hope, a future—Isn’t that what a bucket list is all about? It gives us hope that someday our dreams may come true.
So go ahead—let yourself dream again. Make up your bucket list. Then give it to God and watch your hope begin to grow.
Teach me to dream again, Lord. I’ve forgotten how. Amen.

Photo courtesy of Murray Pura

 Special-Tea: Read Psalm 139 


  1. This Christmas season, I encouraged my family to live by experiencing "the thrill of hope!" After today's reading I am encouraged to re-write my bucket list to hinge on that kind of hope. Praise God that He showed me today, again, that I need to dream big dreams!

    1. Good for you! Shoot for the stars! May God bless you and send you the encouragement you need to reach them. Keep me posted.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. No, I didn't get an email from you. Can you re-send, please? Use the email at the bottom of this page. I'd love to reconnect with you!

  2. I'm with you--dreams keep us going. My bucket list includes a tour of the national parks and more time in Hawaii to simply BE! I have other wishes too, but I'm keeping those under wraps a little longer. Happy New Year dear friend. I love reading what you have to say about life and love--with a touch of laughter. You inspire me with your transparency and authenticity.

    1. Do you have a Senior Pass? We signed up for one when we were at Acadia National Park in 2013. Anyone 62 or older can get one for $10 (lifetime pass), then you (and those in your car) can get into National Parks free or at a discount. Here's the link to the webpage with the information:
      I love that phrase "time to simply BE" - how we all need that!
      Happy New Year to you, too. You inspire me just by being who you are. BTW, I made a reference to "Getting Old Ain't For Wimps" in the third story of the "Fifth Wheel" series--Karen O'Connor is one of Gracie's (the protagonist) favorite authors! ;-)