A couple of weeks ago, I attended my own funeral. I signed into the guest book, glancing at my own picture smiling back at me, then made my way to find a seat in back of the crowded church sanctuary.
After the pastor shared an opening prayer and a few words, my son walked to the stage and started softly into the microphone, “My mother, Sarah Mozingo, was a loving wife and mother of one beautiful son and another that “had a good personality.”
The congregation filled with laughter (Izzy always knew how to make people laugh even when they were sad). Israel went on to share about my life and how I had impacted not only his life but how I brought joy and hope to others around me.
He talked about how I was a great mother who raised him with fear and love for the Lord, and if not for my persistent guidance, he would have probably taken another path in life.
He told everyone I was a great cook but couldn’t cook rice to save my life (pun intended) and about how I loved to decorate for the holidays and host parties.
As Israel spoke, my gaze wandered around the room, noticing both close friends and faces I hadn’t seen in years. In the front sat my other son along with his wife and all my grandchildren near my two sister’s and brother’s families.
Towards the middle were people I had served with at church and met at small group who became life-long friends as well as some of my close neighbors and past coworkers.
In the back were some faces that were hard to recognize, but then I remembered I had helped his family after they lost everything in that hurricane, and the young woman had always emailed me about how my writing inspired her to pursue her own creative passions.
I sat back and listened to Israel conclude with Psalm 23, truly humbled by all the lives impacted with love and hope for the Kingdom.
As Israel backed away from the microphone, I finally lifted my pen from my retreat packet and was back in my church’s annex, surrounded by my small group and other women’s retreat attendees. We all had just been prompted to complete an exercise of writing our own eulogy.
In full transparency, I was very reluctant at the beginning of this exercise. I had even turned to my small group leader and said in horror, “Oh lord. This is so dark!”
Occasionally, I had contemplated about my own funeral and death (I’m sure you have too), but it only went so far as wondering who would be in attendance.
I had never stretched to thinking about what would be said in my eulogy, but the exercise of writing my own truly changed my life.
Through writing about the end of my life, I had a glimpse of my future self. For the first time, I narrowed in on the gap between who I am in the present and the version of myself I am intended by God to become.
Sometimes, “future me” would whisper to “present me” and trying to direct me along, but I realized was lost. I had been living out my days with very little intention and out of alignment with my future self.
My future self is warm, kind, generous, and deeply passionate about helping and inspiring others. She is a great mother, wife, and friend- both fearless and humble.
She trusts the Lord with all her heart and embodies Christ in her actions, thoughts, and words. Most importantly, her mindset is eternally focused.
An eternal focus fixates on the things that are true, noble, right, just, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8 NIV). Having an eternal mindset means acknowledging that this world and its desires are passing away, fixing our eyes on Jesus and doing the will of the Lord until we arrive at forever (1 John 2:17).
“Having an eternal mindset means acknowledging that this world and its desires are passing away, fixing our eyes on Jesus and doing the will of the Lord until we arrive at forever.”Sarah Mozingo – 1 John 2:17 (NIV)
As I sat back in my chair, evaluating my life, I noticed the greatest incongruence between future me and present me was that I often lose this eternal focus.
It’s easy to lose sight of Heaven when the bills are piling up, your expectations aren’t being met, or when the small things begin to feel like big things.
But if we can just shift our focus off of the present and into the eternal, imagine all we can achieve for the Kingdom of God.
I hope to encourage you to do some introspection and self-evaluation, asking yourself if the choices you are making today are going to impact eternity.
Are you eternally focused or more focused on the present, share your thoughts in the comments below!
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