What we leave behind

I don’t think much about legacy, or how I’ll be remembered, until one of my kids repeats a behavior I’m trying to break or I hear in my own voice decades-old words I’m trying to forget.

Legacy. It’s heavy stuff.

And we’re talking about it over at The Deeper Leader blog this week: “How do you think you’ll be remembered? What kind of Legacy do you hope to leave behind?” Add your voice by commenting or posting a blog of your own.

It’s an appropriate topic for this week, when we’ve exercised one of our great freedoms in this country by voting. A president’s legacy is one that overshadows him almost before he even takes office.

But I have to ask, is thinking about legacy–a good one, anyway–a detriment to leaving one?

I’m guessing that those who have left the greatest legacies, be they presidents, activists, philanthropists, parents, or anyone in between, didn’t think about what they were doing as “leaving a legacy.” If I let those words hover over my daily activities, I wonder if I’d accomplish anything worthwhile. No pressure!

I almost always think of legacy as something positive, and when I consider the people who have left a legacy in my life, I think of those who invested time or money or experience in my life in some personal way. Of course, legacy can be a bad thing, and in some families, a legacy of pain, suffering, abuse and neglect can transcend generations. One way I see my life’s legacy is to serve as an ending point for any painful legacies passed on through the years.

I don’t know if anyone will consciously talk about my legacy. I can’t imagine having a building bearing my name or a monument erected to my memory–wouldn’t that be something!–but what I imagine, and hope for most, is a legacy of faith. That my children would love the Lord with all their mind, soul and strength and follow Him wherever He leads. That they would have children who would follow Him, too. That because Christ wooed me to Himself, because He worked in generations past to preserve our family line, generations yet to come would know Him, serve Him and build His kingdom.

I read these words today, from Psalm 71, not knowing that legacy was the topic for the blog this week:

And now that I am old and gray-headed, O God, do not forsake me,
till I make known your strength to this generation
and your power to all who are to come.

I am neither old (34) nor gray-headed (my stylist found one gray hair on my birthday a few years back) but this, this, is the legacy I long for. That God’s great and mighty works would be known to future generations. That what He has done in my life will not die with me but will endure in the days to come.

I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t want to be remembered fondly and well.

The key to that is to live now the way you want to be remembered.

A lasting legacy, then, is sure to follow.

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