7 deathbed regrets (and how to avoid them)

7 deathbed regrets (and how to avoid them) July 31, 2014

Dave Willis quote time is the currency of relationships

My life has been shaped by death.

I know that probably sounds kind of morbid, but I’m not obsessed with zombies or anything. My unique experiences around death have given me a profound appreciation for life. Let me explain…

As I was growing up, my Mom was a Hospice nurse who would care for patients in their final days of life. Sometimes, I would go with her on her house calls and I’d sit at the bedside of a man or woman who knew their time on earth was very short. Their priorities at the end of life helped shaped my life priorities from an early age.

I grew up and became a pastor, so I’m still hanging out with people who are in the midst of tragedy and I’ve held the hands of many as they prepared to take their final breath and move from this life into eternity. These final moments have a way of bringing into sharp focus what really matters most in life.

I want you to benefit from the wisdom of the dying like I’ve been able to do. Below are seven of the most common “deathbed regrets” and some practical insights about how to avoid them. I encourage you to start applying these principles to your life right away. Don’t experience the tragedy of getting to the end of your life before you discover what life is really all about!

1. “I wish I would have been Myself instead of trying to blend in with the crowd.”

God made you to be a unique masterpiece, but most people get pulled into the current of cultural peer pressure and end up blending in when they were born to stand out. You never need someone else’s permission or approval to be the person God created you to be. To learn how to discover your unique, God-given destiny, check out our free video on How to Change the World.

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10

2. “I wish I wouldn’t have allowed fear to dictate my decisions.”

Many people make their decisions based on an attempt to “play it safe,” instead of taking the calculated risks which would lead to the adventurous life they were born to enjoy. Fear won’t keep you “safe;” fear will keep you imprisoned. There isn’t enough room in your life for both Fear and Faith, so each new day, you have to decide which one gets to stay.

“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

3. “I wish I would have made my Faith a bigger priority.”

Most people get to the end of their life and are faced with the ironic reality that they spent a lot more time and effort preparing for their retirement than they spent preparing for their Eternity. You’ll never regret you invested in growing in your relationship with God. Knowing Him is what creates a rich and satisfying life (not just a rich and satisfying eternity). For more on enriching your faith, check out our free video on The Teachings of Jesus.

“Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” Matthew 22:37-38

4. “I wish I would have been a better husband or wife.”

If you are married, apart from your relationship with God, your relationship with your spouse is the most important relationship of your life. Make your marriage a priority! For some practical ways to build a stronger marriage, check out our free video series on The 4 Pillars of a Strong Marriage.

“So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:33

5. “I wish I would have been a better Mom or Dad.”

If you are a parent, you have a sacred duty to be the best influence you can be to your kids. They don’t need more of your gifts or more of your money; they need more of YOU. For more ways to be the best parent you can be, Check out the 5 parenting tips in this post.

“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.Proverbs 22:6

6. “I wish I would have been a better friend.”

Friends are a gift. Treasure them. Invest in them. Don’t just connect on facebook; be intentional about talking on the phone and hanging out in person. Technology is great, but you still can’t give someone a hug online. Remember that in the end, your relationships (not your riches) will be what matters most to you.

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.Proverbs 17:17

7. “I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time!”

Life is a gift and it will go by much faster than you think. Don’t waste a minute of it on things that don’t matter. Resolve today to make the most of every minute you have left!

“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered—how fleeting my life is.Psalm 39:4

For more ways to enjoy a regret-free life, check out my free video on How to fix your life and if you’re married or engaged, check out our newest book Marriage Minute: Quick & Simple Ways to Build a Divorce-Free Relationship which is now also available on iTunes for Download on iPhones, iPads and all Apple devices.

For daily encouragement, connect with me on twitter by clicking here.

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