By Peg Carmack Short
Luci Swindoll loves travel and adventure. While some of her destinations are places on a map, others are journeys of the heart. “I just start out with a dream, give it to God, and live expectantly,” she says. While this well-known Women of Faith speaker and author, is in her 70s, she continues to dream big, and live in the moment.
Luci doesn’t waste time looking at her life and hoping for a different one. She says if you do that you’re in danger of missing now. “If we miss now, we are always waiting for it to come. We never really have it because we are living in the regret of yesterday or living in fear of tomorrow and where did this [today] go?”
This is just one of the many pieces of sage advice and practical wisdom that Luci has to offer. Her zest for life and the experiences that she has savored are enough to fill many pages, which is precisely what she has done. From her latest book, Free: Inside and Out, to I Married Adventure, to Life! Celebrate It: Listen, Learn, Laugh, Love, and many others, Luci has been offering inspiration, practical help, and ideas for living life to the fullest. “Capture and savor each moment . . . embrace the challenge or joy . . . Life, for the most part, is what we make it. . . . live it fully!” she says.
Never one to fear, Luci has been living all her life as God intended: abundantly. Choosing not to follow convention, Luci never married, but chose instead to take risks and follow the road less traveled. These paths have taken her to all seven continents, placed her on stage for 15 years singing with the Dallas Opera, and caused her at age 60 to take out a 30-year loan and buy her first house. “I didn’t know if I would ever keep it, but I paid it off in nine years,” she said. “At age seventy, I took out another thirty-year loan and paid it off in nine months, so I think anything is possible.”
Much of this “can do spirit” comes from Luci’s father, who was a strong positive force in her life. He encouraged her, believed in her, and taught her to see life in a different way—one with infinite possibilities.
But even more than following the lead of her earthly father, Luci has been guided by the compass of her Heavenly Father. Her strong faith and desire to follow God, wherever He leads, has been another guiding principle in her life. And as she has followed, she has learned some valuable lessons. One of these is not to struggle and try to live life as someone else. Most know Luci’s little brother, Chuck Swindoll. For a time, Luci said she tried to be Chuck. “I knew he was so well loved and so highly thought of as a minister and a scholar, so I wanted to be just like him.”
Trying to be like Chuck even led her when speaking to emulate him. “I’d get up and try to exegesis the Bible—and I didn’t even know what the word meant!” she jokes. But then she says, “I heard the Lord telling me, ‘Luci, I don’t want you to be Chuck. Chuck needs to be Chuck and you need to be you. When you get up to speak, you talk to people as though you were visiting with them in their living room . . . I’ll let my Spirit enter in and do the rest.’”
That’s when Luci began to be herself. She learned to just chat, felt free to be funny, and engage people in a more natural way. She’s been speaking to women and serving in this way ever since. That’s when her ministry began to flourish.
With all this enthusiasm for life, you would think that Luci never has a down day. Yet, like all of us, she admits she sometimes does. Living alone as a single woman, she sometimes experiences loneliness. But she doesn’t dwell there. Her advice for coping is to get into a project that will take time and take your mind off yourself. “Sometimes I leave where I am. I go out, call friends, and quit dwelling on the things that pull my spirit down.” With the wisdom of age she reflects that staying there just makes problems worse. “I try to reach out and involve other people.”
Even at this stage of life, Luci reminds that we have so much to offer. “Give of yourself,” she says. “Give your energy, your time, your interest, your caring. There are a million people who need exactly what you have. Give it!”
When asked if she would go back to her 20s even if she could, she answered by reflecting instead on the positives of growing older. “You have more wisdom. I think the older I get the more I realize that life is a process of growing up and accepting people for who they are. Quit trying to change the world and just relax.”
But Luci doesn’t have much time for relaxing, and she can’t see herself ever retiring. She has too much to do. She’s always off in search of the next adventure. Some of those might surprise you. When asked what she’d still like to do, her list included being an extra in a Die Hard movie—because she loves those and thinks that would be fun. She’d like to live on a houseboat—because she’s never done that, and she’d like to live on a submarine for about a week. She says, “I have a million adventures that I’d like to do, but I’m going to run out of time before I do.”
It’s clear that Luci isn’t slowing down. At every age, she has grabbed life by the horns and made the most of the ride—whether on a mountain top or deep valley. With her usual enthusiasm she challenges:
“What if everybody in the whole world decided to start looking at life through the lens of possibility? . . . There would be no average days . . . no mediocre activity . . . no reason for prolonged discouragement . . . Everything would be possible because our focus would be on the Lord Jesus, who makes all things possible and is himself the Master of adventure.”
—Luci Swindoll, I Married Adventure
To find out more about Luci, her books, and where you might hear her speak, visit: womenoffaith.com.
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