[Originally posted for SkylightLeadership.com] For those of you who may not be aware, Jessica and I are part of the launch team for a new church, Freedom Community Church, in Niles, MI.

For interested parties, here's a video of us doing church announcements a few months back (stay tuned for the bloopers and you will quickly realize that we are much better as unscripted speakers!).

Anyway, [one] Sunday we had a guest pastor, Robert Trice, who spoke on what he would preach if it were his last message.

Without getting too philosophical, it got me to thinking.

What would I want my last message/presentation to be? My last phone call with my husband...or my girls...or any member of my "framily"? Would I want it to be the encounter I just had?

I think if most of us reviewed our last set of interactions, we'd likely surmise that it wouldn't be worthy of being placed in the category of what we would want "the last" to be. Unfortunately, by the time many of us get to the end of our lives we find that we are left with regrets. The article 5 Things People Regret Most On Their Deathbed lists the following as common end of life regrets:

  1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
  3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Do any of these sound familiar to you as current regrets?

Interesting enough, we don't typically say the things we expect we need right now to be happy ("if I work harder, I'll have more stuff then be even more happy."). If we step back we will likely find that some of what we are currently doing to make ourselves "happy", may lead to future regrets. Aww, the cognitive dissonance!

With that being said, the benefit of thinking about our last message now, while we still have a chance to "craft" it, can be a game changer.

If you saw our post a few days ago, you know that after realizing that we didn't want to regret missing an opportunity, we briefly backed away from the hustle and grind to make memories with the kids. It is way too easy to get caught up in making a living that we miss out on our own lives.

I don't know about you, but I don't want any of those 5 regrets. I don't want fear, ambition or the arrogant belief that I'll have more time to "get it right" to leave me with "it's-too-late" regrets.

If you've been to one of our trainings, it's likely that you've heard us speak on John Maxwell's Law of Legacy. When we leave here (wherever "here" is for you...your current job, school, the Earth!) we will all have that one sentence that people will say about us (our lasting message).

I would hope that my sentence would be:

"Wherever Rhonda went she made life better for others"

Disclosure, that doesn't always happen but I'm working on it :-). The reality is that you are crafting that sentence everyday by the life you live and the experiences you're having.

So, I pose these questions to you:

  1. "What do you want your sentence to be?"
  2. "What, if anything, do you need to change to make that so?"
  3. If this were your last message, "What would you want the world to know from you?"