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  • Writer's pictureRichard Parrish

A Fulfilled Life

It happens more frequently as we age. It wasn’t as noticeable when I was in my 20’s, 30’s, or 40’s. But lately, I’m more aware of how time appears to be passing, more quickly.

Logic reminds me that time is established. There are only 24-hours each day. Each hour has 60 minutes, and each minute, 60-seconds. Time cannot turbo-charge itself. It just seems like it.

I remarked to my wife the other day: It seems that last year flew by us. We’ve already set a date with our accountant to make sure our taxes will be ready in time. It feels like we just did this. Another year has come and gone, and 2020 is also rapidly speeding by (or so it appears).

What prompts this feeling? What is there that—as we age—we become more aware and sensitive to the passing of time? But is it time’s passing that we’re noticing? I think there’s more to it.

As a younger man, I convinced myself that I had “more time” to figure out what I wanted to do. Without an unfortunate accident or unplanned health crisis, I still have 50, 60, or possibly 70 years ahead of me, I figured. But the assumption of longevity can fuel procrastination.

A fulfilled life is not about living longer, but living into our potential.

Each of us is unique, with gifts and passions. Why does one person pursue a medical career, and someone else loves mechanics? What encourages one individual to become a professional musician or artist, while some choose to be a counselor, pastor/priest, or teacher?

Fortunate is the young person who is encouraged by others who see—and point out—their potential.

One thing I enjoy that’s at the top of my list is to come-along-side and encourage younger people. Perhaps it was because I was blessed by older men and women who invested their time with me when I was young. They saw in me what I could not see in myself. They supported, encouraged, challenged, and corrected me. They believed in my potential. Without motivation and an awareness of one’s passion and gifts, it’s improbable to discover our possibilities.

Leadership is always in transition. “The Lord said to Moses, “Your time to die is near; call Joshua and present yourselves in the tent of meeting, so that I may commission him.”⁠[1] Like it or not, your favorite leaders will not be around forever. To lead Israel into the promised land would require a new, Godly leader. Our nation and churches today still need Godly leadership. Moses understood: If God is not central to our lives, calamity happens (Deuteronomy 31:16-17).

Some people today are concerned about our younger generation. Many have a dim outlook on our youth. Some believe youth today have a sense of entitlement and display narcissistic traits. But so do a lot of older folks.

I know many bright, intelligent, compassionate, and energetic young people. My granddaughters are part of this generation who want to contribute to our society in meaningful and measurable ways. Leaders are emerging among our youth who—like Joshua—will provide Godly leadership when we’re not around.

But having potential is not enough. To maximize potential requires courage. You are born with potential, not courage. Without courage, your potential is pointless.

Gordon Tredgold, Founder and CEO of Leadership Principles, identifies seven habits that prevent us from living into our potential. 1) Making excuses. 2) Procrastination. 3) Self-doubt. 4) Waiting for someone else. 5) Waiting for a better time. 6) Spending our time on the urgent, rather than the important, and 7) Thinking there’s a short-cut to success.⁠[2]

What’s keeping you from your potential? Joshua needed encouragement, and so do we.

“Be strong and courageous; for you shall put this people in possession of the land that I swore to their ancestors to give them. Only be strong and very courageous⁠[3] …”

It’s not about time “flying by,” but life fulfilled. Young or old, a fulfilled life requires courage to live into our potential.


[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989), Dt 31:14.

[3] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989), Jos 1:6–7.

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