Bucket Lists: a Discussion

Hello and happy Wednesday!

As you can tell, I’m back from honeymoon, settled into my new home with my new husband, and slowly getting back into the swing of life – including blogging! I’m planning to share some pictures and a general wedding update in a little bit, but today is not that day.

Instead, today’s topic is a bit strange. At least for this blog recently.

Bucket lists.

These are lists of goals, dreams, accomplishments, and/or activities we humans want to do before we “kick the bucket”. Before we run out of time on this earth.

Some of us have these lists formally, actually writing them out. Others may not have a physical list, but I think we all have a bucket list to some extent. We all have things we’d like to do, goals we want to reach, accomplishments we want to achieve in our time here. Whether we write them down in a neat list or not, they’re in our minds and hearts.

So what’s on your list?

Apparently this coming Monday (April 24th) is National Bucket List Day, which I’d never heard of prior to exploring a fun holidays website. But it got me thinking about the time I sat down as a young teen and wrote a list of my own.

Some of the things on young me’s list were things I’ve done now. Such as “get married”, “sing a solo on stage”, and “get my driver’s license”. It’s fun to be able to go back and cross things off. Young me would have been ecstatic to see me accomplish them.

Other things on it at the time were things like “go skydiving”, “learn 3-4 languages”, and “go to Africa”. They were big dreams that I thought would be cool, and jotted down with lots of optimism. I’ve never done any of those things yet, and doubt that I ever will. And that’s okay. While I still think all of those things would be cool, they aren’t priorities to me.

The list of young Bella was pretty random and many of the goals and dreams I had at that point are no longer there. My interests have changed in many ways. I’m no longer desperate to buy a horse or travel to every U.S. state capitol (although I’ll admit, that would still be cool . . . ).

I think some of it comes down to plain ol’ maturity too. As I’ve grown up, I’ve realized that while it’s fun to dream, God has the final say, and I don’t want to get worked up and set on things that I have no idea whether God has in the plans or not.

But at the same time, is it wrong to dream? I don’t think so. I think God created us to have ideas, hopes, interests, and passions, and it’s only normal to want to explore those, and experience more of the creation He’s placed us in.

So I’d like to hear your opinion . . . do you have a bucket list? Do you think it’s either good or bad to have one? Why or why not?

This isn’t something I see any reason to get fired up about, but I am curious. I think it boils down to what our approach should be in goal-setting as well.

If you know me, you know that I like to make goals and plans. I like to try and be organized, striving to hit goals and achieve things I work toward. And if I fail, or things change and I don’t get to do something I’d planned to, I can get pretty upset.

I’ve had to learn an important lesson – repeatedly. Only God knows and makes the final plans. We can make our plans and try to reach them, but in the end, what actually happens is under God’s control. What we’re meant to do, He’ll allow, and what isn’t right for us, He’ll prevent.

In some ways that can seem frustrating, but it’s also very freeing. It’s like how I can look back at young Bella’s list and recognize that although I was dead-set on going to Africa as a missionary right out of high school, that not happening allowed me to be around and meet my now-husband. And I’m more than happy with the swap, as I see how God is using me right where I’m at.

So just as I need to remember to ultimately trust God with my plans when I make work goals, I need to remember to place all of my life, all my hopes and dreams, in His more-than-capable hands as well. Things may not turn out how we expect, but that’s okay. They’ll always turn out for the best.

And as long as we remember that, I think there’s something very fun about sitting down and dreaming. Sometimes in writing down and thinking on all of our random little hopes, goals, and thoughts of “oh, that would be cool!”, we discover some fascinating facts about ourselves. Who knew we’d actually love to scuba dive, try foreign foods, or explore European cities?

I don’t have a current physical bucket list right now, and don’t know if I’ll get around to making one, but I do have some goals for my life that I’d love to reach. Such as publishing a book (or many!), starting a family, and reading more books than I can count. We’ll see what God has planned, but it’s fun to dream.

And what makes the experience even better, as a Christian, is that I know that even if I don’t get to experience everything I’d like to this side of Heaven, there will always be the next life. And there will be so many more amazing things to experience that I don’t have the fear of missing out here. Ultimately none of our current dreams can compare to those.

All in all, to summarize my random ramblings on bucket lists, I think they can be fun and valuable insights into our hearts’ desires. I think they can also constantly be changing as we grow, mature, live life, and experience more and more.

And ultimately, I think that we’ll continue to realize that no matter what we hope and plan for, what God ends up giving us in this life – and the next – will be far, far better than anything we could plan for ourselves. What a hopeful promise!

Thank you for sifting through my random thoughts today!

I’d love to know your opinion on bucket lists. Do you think they’re worth having? A waste of time? Do you have one, and if so, what kinds of things are on it? Have they changed at all over time? If you don’t have one, why not? Please feel free to let me know in the comments below!

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2 thoughts on “Bucket Lists: a Discussion

  1. Such a good reminder, Bella! I’m pretty sure owning a horse used to be on my younger self’s bucket list as well. 😉 But God is ultimately in control of all we do.
    “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” (Prov. 16:9)

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