This past week, I spent some time with a friend, someone I have known for years. She was telling me about the recent death of her grandma, a woman she was very close to. Her grandmother was in her eighties and very active and healthy and involved in her community. My friend shared that it was hard to get on her grandmother’s calendar because she was so busy, even at that age! Her grandmother’s death was particularly hard because it my friend believed that her grandmother would have lived a much longer life if it hadn’t been for cancer. What struck me most about the story is there were 500 people at her funeral.

I have been to funerals for elderly people and regardless of the number of connections they made in their life, many friends are gone and the services tend to be smaller. As they aged and lost touch with others, as they became less and less active, their circle of family and friends became smaller. So why were there 500 people at this woman’s memorial service?

As my friend talked about her grandmother, it became clear that the most important thing her grandmother gave her was the gift of acceptance. My friend was not actually her granddaughter, she was a step-granddaughter. Regardless of what she did or who she was, her grandmother loved her unconditionally. Her grandmother showed this same love and acceptance to everyone she met. It was genuine and real and people knew it and they loved her for it.

Along these same lines, I heard a recent sermon by Andy Stanley in which he shared about a survey taken of a number of dying cancer patients. They were asked: What is the one thing they would regret about their life? Not surprisingly, towards the top of the list was the comment that they would have spent more time with loved ones. But the number one regret people had at the end of their life was not living a life that was true to themselves. In a key way, this is a form of unacceptance — our inability to accept the way God made us, where he has planted us and the life he has for us. We can spend our lives living in a way to please others, “keeping up with the Joneses,” always being discontent and — at the end — regretting that we didn’t live the life that was ours to live.

Are you fully living the life that God has intended for you, or are you spending your days discontent, trying to be someone else?

Kristi L. Andersen is the principal of Kristi L. Financial Partners, LLC. Securities offered through and Registered Representative of Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. Some Advisory services offered through AdvisorNet Financial. Cetera is under separate ownership from any other named entity.