If I Should Die…11 Life-Changing Lessons on Leadership, Relationships and Personal Life

If I Should Die…11 Life-Changing Lessons on Leadership, Relationships and Personal Life

Seven years ago, my doctor called me into his office and asked me to bring my wife. Since he had never done that before I assumed the news wasn’t great. It wasn’t…He told me I had cancer. I ended up having surgery at one of the finest Cancer Treatment Hospitals in the world, The City of Hope in Los Angeles. To be honest, I never thought I was going to die, and this may sound crazy, but I had other things going on with our family and ministry, so hearing that I had cancer was just one more thing to add to my list of things to do. I know… I probably needed counseling for how I handled it. I even asked the doctor if I could postpone the surgery for a few months to get through my speaking season. Like I said, I probably needed counseling☺.

The night before the surgery Cathy and I were staying in a hotel near the hospital because of the early morning operation. And although I had really never prayed this prayer as a kid I found myself thinking the words of what I always thought was a morbid kid’s prayer, “if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take…” Again, this may sound strange, but I am totally at peace with death. I believe in eternity and salvation in Christ. However, that night I began thinking about my legacy to my family, especially my children. I jotted down some thoughts on leadership, relationships and personal life that were important to me that I would want to pass on to them. The thoughts were random and now at 7 years of being cancer free, I’ve added a couple more. For the next three months of this blog I will attempt to write out 11 lessons that are important to me and I’m thinking some of them may be helpful to you. Here are the thoughts below and in the next few months I will unpack them every Monday.

Lesson One: Family Relationships are More Important Than Vocation

Lesson Two: It’s the Pain of Discipline or the Pain of Regret

Lesson Three: If the Devil Can’t Make You Bad, He Will Make You Busy.

Lesson Four: Find Replenishing Relationships

Lesson Five: Accountability is Key

Lesson Six: Have Serious Fun

Lesson Seven: Practice Positive Adaptability

Lesson Eight: Attitude is Everything

Lesson Nine: Delegate and Do What You Do Well

Lesson Ten: Set Excellent Goals

Lesson Eleven: Glorify and Enjoy God While Serving Him Forever (Adapted from the Westminster Confession)

I’m excited to include you in this journey with me. Next week: Family Relationships are More Important Than Your Vocation

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Jim Burns

Jim Burns

Jim Burns is the President of HomeWord and the Executive Director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim speaks to thousands of people around the world each year. He has close to 2 million resources in print in 30 languages. He primarily writes and speaks on the values of HomeWord which are: Strong Marriages, Confident Parents, Empowered Kids, and Healthy Leaders. Some of his most popular books are: Confident Parenting, The Purity Code, Creating an Intimate Marriage and Closer. Jim and his wife, Cathy live Southern California and have three grown daughters, Christy, Rebecca and Heidi.

  • About HomeWord

    HomeWord helps families succeed by creating Biblical resources that build strong marriages, confident parents, empowered kids and healthy leaders. Founded by Jim Burns and supported by Doug Fields, HomeWord and Azusa Pacific University have partnered to form The HomeWord Center for Youth and Family. Learn More »

  • About Azusa Pacific University

    APU is a leading Christian college ranked as one of the nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Located near Los Angeles in Southern California, APU is a Christian university offering associate’s, bachelor’s, master's, doctoral, and degree completion programs, both on campus and online. Learn More »

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