What Would You Have Left After Losing Everything?

Try something with me.  Divide a piece of paper into six sections and on each section write one or two words to describe one of the six things that are most important in your life.  Don’t write the stuff you think you should, nobody else will see them.  I’m not talking about the basics needed for human survival.  What six things are your center, your anchor, or your purpose?

I do this exercise with my classes sometimes.  It was recommended as an activity to do along with the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey.  Each time I do it I have a slightly different focus.  Sometimes I focus on people and rather than just saying “Family” I break that down.  I almost never remember to put “Myself” which is probably not great on some levels.


The next step in the exercise is to look at those six pieces of paper and think if you had to lose one of them from your life, which one would it be?  Take that paper and crumple it up into a ball….Are you done?


Next look at those five remaining sheets of paper and choose which one you would choose to lose if one had to go and crumple up that piece of paper… … … I bet that took longer to choose.


I trust that you have picked up the pattern here, but don’t stop.  Look at the four and crumple up one of them…look at the three and crumple up one of them…look at the two last sheets of paper and as hard as it may be choose what goes.


Loss is a hard thing to deal with, and even when it is imaginary we resist.  When we do this in class I get the kids to police each other and make sure that a piece of paper gets crumpled with each step.


There are different ways you might approach the choice of the order in which you crumple the papers.  Are you choosing what you like the best to keep?  Maybe you are thinking in survival terms and chose to lose friends before work because without a job you wouldn’t be able to afford to live.  Perhaps you have an emotional focus.  You might not even have written family if family has not been a positive thing in your life so far.


One of the first times I did this I looked at it in terms of what I could live without.  I knew first hand that I could live with the breakup of a marriage, as I had already done that.  But now I have a little bit different focus.  I’m not sure it changes the results any but now I think, “If I lost this, what would I have left?”

When I draw my very last breath, even if my friends and family have all fallen away I know that I will not be dying alone.  God will be there with me.


It is unlikely that I will lose all the things that are important to me, for which I am very thankful.  In the Bible we can read about Job.  Job was a good man.  He had priorities just like we do.  Throughout the book of Job he systematically loses every thing he has, even down to losing his own health.  People try to convince him to curse God who allowed these things to happen.  He does complain to God,  he clings to his righteousness.  Even though he pushes, God stays with him.  Even though a great many bad things have happened, Job believes in God.  Many might find Job’s story depressing as it is full of loss and misery.  But rather than looking at his pile of crumpled papers, look at the one paper Job had left, God, and take comfort in the knowledge that he will never leave us!


Jesus promised, ” … and surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age”. Matthew 28:20



3 responses to “What Would You Have Left After Losing Everything?

  1. Thank you for this. I’ve had occasions constantly in the last 3 years where i thought I was going to lose everything and while that’s still unresolved in some ways, I cannot agree with you more on the importance of this exercise and the reminder that He will be with us always cannot be repeated often enough!

  2. I just wanted to comment and say that I really enjoyed reading your blog post here. It was very informative and I also digg the way you write! Keep it up and I’ll be back to read more in the future

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