What I've Learned by Living... a Long Time!


Shirley Brosius shares wisdom from over half a century of living.

As I walked for exercise one beautiful morning, I pondered what I’ve learned by living well over half a century. Just in case you’re interested:

1. Look for opportunities, rather than for perfection. I am a perfectionist. I like to plan my work and work my plan. I want my flowers to bloom and my books to sell. I want people to say and do what I think they should. Now really! Is that realistic? Where is the challenge in all of that? Where is the fun? However, I’ve learned that life does not have to be perfect to be good.

“Perfect” means “lacking nothing essential to the whole; complete of its nature or kind”.* The speed bumps in life develop my patience and my character. So, really, perfection in life comes through the very challenges I so try to avoid. They draw me closer to God as we face them together. "Jesus promises the power and presence to enable you to live the good life, a life in harmony with God." To me, that’s the key to perfection—abiding in Christ regardless of less than perfect circumstances.

2. Look for small (and large) blessings. As I walked, dewdrops sparkled like diamonds. The call of a cardinal and the caw of a crow caught my ear. I watched four deer nibbling corn on the cob, fresh from the field. I am so grateful for senses that allow me to experience nature in all its glory. Then there’s my home, my church, my children and grandchildren, my husband. I am grateful for each one and try not to take them for granted. And, oh yes, the technology that allows us to communicate and connect with ease. What blessings we enjoy.

3. Look for significance, rather than “success.” Author and agent Chip MacGregor wrote about this in a column. The world defines success in numbers and material things. So our lives may not appear “successful.” But we should, instead, look for the significance of our lives. How are we making a difference? In our family? In our church? In our community? We will feel far more “successful” if we measure ourselves by the yardstick of significance rather than dollar signs.

Lately, I’ve been in the doldrums. Marketing a book can be challenging, to say the least. Experts tell us to use social media, but I’ve not found much success in that. However, in the last few days I’ve heard how my book has blessed hearts. I am grateful to see sparks of significance, and it encourages me to face the work of marketing with renewed energy.

So there you have it. Years of wisdom rolled into a couple hundred words. Hope my thoughts encourage you to look to upward instead of outward.

What have you learned during your time on this earth?

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