I am not a fan of the beach—any beach. For years my mother has fought this part of me to no avail. Each year we traipse to the beach with my father, who understands this trait as I picked it up from him. While he doesn’t set foot on the sand, I have begun taking solace in the morning run at the break of day for the last several years.
One morning during our most recent trip, as I returned back up the beach, I found the only impressions in the sand were my own. I stopped to look at the track I had left in the sand, and I realized my path wasn’t very straight. In fact, it tended to swerve ever so slightly to the left, and into the loose, unstable sand. It wasn’t the best track for fellow runners to follow that morning.
The same could be said for the legacy we leave.
It is not something that is thought about until there’s a funeral, a eulogy, a point of stopping to remember a path that found its way into our own journey. Legacies are often attached to children, families, and marriages. But legacies are also built into our lives as single individuals. Every day we are leaving an impression, and each day we are moving into the tide or away from it.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10, ESV)
In Ephesians 2:10, Paul explicitly tells us we are God’s “workmanship,” but a better translation would be “His poem.” We are written through heartache, through joy and through solitude by God to be read by others—in that Christ Jesus created us for good works, for a legacy worth leaving.
I have to admit, though, most days I don’t consider the meetings I have or the people I encounter to be written into my life for a purpose. I don’t see the legacy I am building in the frustrations or words I speak in passing.
But I am starting to see them.
I see them in how they affect those around me, how they don’t reflect the image of Christ and how my legacy is veering far from the shore into deep sand that has no firm foundation to it. That path falls in on itself as someone else comes through ever so close to my steps. When I take stock—when I stop and look back—is when I realize the path I have created for those coming after me.
I find the legacy I am leaving isn’t what I want it to be, and the impressions I leave are swept away.
Thankfully as I take time now to look back, I am able to adjust the marks I am leaving for those who follow behind me. It is not how I started my legacy but how I finish it because it is up to me—it’s a journey I am on with the Author of my life. I have the choice daily to see my legacy as an obstacle or an opportunity.
I choose an opportunity, to leave an impression worth following.
Do you stop to consider the legacy you’re leaving?
Photo credit: Neelima v