What’s In Your Dash?

What does it mean to live a life with purpose? An easier way to think of this question is: “What’s in your dash?” When we die, our gravestone (if we have one) has the date of our birth and death. They are connected by a small dash–a signifier of the life we lived on earth. What will people say about us when we’re no longer around?


What's In Your Dash
Photo by Alexandru Zdrobău on Unsplash

A Life Cut Short

The first time I heard The Dash poem by Linda Ellis was at the funeral service of a young lady in her twenties. L. (the deceased) had been fond of the poem. One of her favorite things to say was: “What’s in your dash?”

Based on the testimonies of those who knew her well, you could tell that L. had lived her life intentionally. She wanted to make her dash count.

It got me thinking: “What’s in my dash? Am I living life on purpose and with purpose?” Too many times it’s easy to get caught up in checking things off the to-do list:

  • Did I read my Bible? Check.
  • Kiss the family. Check.
  • Had sex with the husband. Check.

But are we actually enjoying the limited amount of time we’ve been given on this earth? Are we present in the present? Or are we too busy reliving the past or worrying about the future? Or worst, are we too busy in virtual land–living life among things and people that don’t exist?

Are you living a life of purpose? Or are you too busy in virtual land--living life among things and people that don’t exist? #hebrews12endurance #whatinyourdash Click To Tweet

What Should Be In Your Dash?

There are a number of people that we talk about years after their death: Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Mother Teresa, Princess Diana, Steven Covey, Gandhi … each of these persons left a mark on many people for various reasons. Invariably, as we dig a little beneath the surface of their lives,  we discover things that make these legends a little less legendary.

We learn things about them that cause us to wonder if we really should give them the accolades that we do. Yet, we cannot deny the impact that they have had on our world. So what exactly makes a good legacy?

In the eyes of the world, to become a legacy you should invent something. Or maybe you could discover something that already existed. If all else fails, use a skill or a talent to become world-famous. Then the world will laud you – until they find the next ‘Big Thing’.

Jesus’ Dash

A better option would be to follow the example of our Savior Jesus, the Christ. Jesus filled the thirty-three years of His dash with intention. Some 2000 years after His death, people still believe that He was a great man. Oh, they don’t all agree that He was the Son of God. But they all agree that He was a prophet and a miracle-worker. Yes, they have tried to slander Him post-death –

Did you hear the rumor that He didn’t really rise from the dead? The disciples stole His body to make it look like He did (Matthew 28:13).

How about the one where Jesus had married Mary Magdalene and had children?

Funnily enough, none of these rumors stick because try as they might, no one can dispute that Jesus was a perfect man. Jesus left a legacy that people are still trying to reproduce all these years later.

Above all things, Jesus lived His life with intention. He chose to honor God. He used His “dash” to give glory to His Father.

Above all things, Jesus lived His life with intention. He chose to honor God. He used His “dash” to give glory to His Father. #hebrews12endurance #whatinyourdash Click To Tweet

Live Life Intentionally

Romans 12:1 tells us to “present our bodies [as] a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God”.  In simple terms, we were being asked to our lives with intention and purpose. The next verse gives us the steps:

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2NKJV).

The Bible has much more to say on living our lives intentionally, here are a few verses to remind you to consider what’s in your dash:

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is (Ephesians 5:15-17 ESV).

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV).

“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much” (Luke 16:10 ESV).

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).

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 ESV).

Do Not Be Conformed To This World

Conforming to the world suggests doing as the world does. If the norm is to have multiple sexual partners, then that’s what we’ll do. If monogamy is the norm, then we do that. The problem with following the guidelines of the world is that they’re always changing.

Take fashion for instance: I remember as a teenager, bell-foot pants were all the rage (I know I’m showing my age cause who says that!). When I told my mom I wanted a pair of “bellas” as we called them, she was confused.

“What is that?” she asked.

When I showed her a pair she burst out laughing.

“If I had known those would come back in style I would have saved a few pairs.”

Fashion is not the only fickle thing in our society. Laws change at the whim of lawmakers and ‘legal minds’. Policies change depending on which party is in power – at least they do in my country. You are never sure what new trends and norms will be introduced into society.

Does that sound like a good way to develop values? Not to me.

The Word of God does not change. Sin is still sin. There’s no law that can change that. As much as we may try to make it “fashionable” to break God’s law, the penalty for sin remains death.

Our next post will look at the other two instructions contained in Romans 12:2. Until then, what other lessons can we learn from Romans 12:2 about how to live a life that honors God? How are you spending the time on your dash?

Other posts that deal with what’s in your dash:

Linking up at #BVNetworkWorth Beyond Rubies#DancewithJesus,

#FreshMarketFriday,#TuneInThursday#LMMLinkup and #Grace&Truth

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