Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Charlene Ann Baumbich's book, Don’t Miss Your Life!  An Uncommon Guide to Living with Freedom, Laugher, and Grace, (Howard Books, 2009).

Are you missing your own life?  If you’re too busy to savor the moments that can become memories to treasure, you’re missing out on the life God wants you to enjoy.

But if you capture the moments of your life, you can use the memories of them as springboards to living to the fullest.  Recognizing God at work in your life will give you the freedom you need to enjoy new experiences that will create even more cherished memories.

Here’s how you can mine your memories to find valuable freedom:

Ask God to illuminate your memories.  Reflect on the memories that stand out in your mind from your life so far – from happy childhood experiences to traumatic events.  Pray about them, asking God to help you learn what He would like to teach you through them.

Wake up.  Don’t let the busy pace of your life cause you to zone out so you can’t fully absorb your experiences.  Whenever something serious happens to you (such as losing your job or having a loved one pass away), don’t just carry on with your life as usual; stop to deal with it emotionally.  Do the same whenever something particularly exciting happens to you (such as having a baby or getting a promotion).  Whether you need to cry and scream or give thanks and celebrate, take time to do so.  Wake up to the value of each moment you’re living, since it will never come again.

Listen to your friends.  Recall the times you’ve spent with close friends and reflect on what they’ve revealed to you about who you are as a person.  What qualities have they most admired and enjoyed about you?  What ways have they challenged you to grow?  How have they encouraged you to serve God and other people, to use your gifts and talents to help make the world a better place?  What can you and your current friends do together to help each other fulfill God’s purposes for your lives?

Find the humor.  Be willing to laugh at yourself when you remember your mistakes and failures from the past.  Aim to create new memories of times when you enjoy laughing with others.  Don’t overbook your schedule; plan time to take regular breaks from your responsibilities to have fun.  Give yourself permission to play.  Get enough sleep each night.  Avoid negative people as much as possible and surround yourself with positive people.  Set boundaries with people so they don’t deplete your time and energy.  Even if your family doesn’t usually laugh much, learn how to enjoy humor yourself.  Limit the amount of bad news you take in from the media each day.  Let go of bitterness that prevents you from enjoying life by following God’s command to forgive people who have hurt or offended you; trust Him to help you through the process.

Question your assumptions.  Since mistaken assumptions based on inaccurate facts create fear in your life, always question your assumptions when you’re reflecting on your memories.  Think and pray before reaching conclusions.

Get over it.  If you’re reliving certain negative experiences from your past that have long been over because you’re getting attention for doing so, make up your mind to move on with your life.  Stop complaining and lean into the goodness that’s a part of your life right now.