Sometimes I forget how to live my life well.
Last week was one of those times, where I was certain I was doing life wrong somehow.
Too many things all at once to handle gracefully.
So instead, I just had a meltdown.
Thankfully I have wonderful friends who let me just sit on their porch and vent… and make no sense… and cry a little, just to help me gain some perspective.
I needed the air, and the permission to be a little dramatic and upset.
Then after a little while… I decided I needed a more balanced outlook.
So here are some fresh perspectives… some reminders to myself on how to live life well. Even when it feels dramatic.
1. Unplug: Go explore, exercise your creativity, read a book, start an overdue project! Americans spend 4-5 hours a day watching television. Do you realize the amount of expanding; personally, spiritually, socially, and educationally that could happen during those 30ish hours a week? Spend your life learning and experiencing, not merely being entertained.
2. Travel: Get out of your neighborhood and your own world! Live, breathe and experience a new culture and different perspectives! What better way to learn how to appreciate the beauty of diversity, while also learning to appreciate the beauty of your own life? Some of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in my life have been taught to me while traveling; experiencing life outside of my comfort zone and seeing things from another’s perspective.
3. Kill negativity: “The mind that is too ready at contempt and reprobation is, I may say, as a clenched fist that can give blows, but is shut up from receiving and holding ought that is precious.” –George Eliot
Need I say anything more? A negative attitude never did anyone a bit of good. I have a hard time understanding how people can be so negative towards others and their flaws, we all have them… it’s ok. A negative spirit will not only rob you of potential in relationships and an open heart with the Lord, but it will also rob you of joy, why live that way?
4. Accept suffering: Suffering is an unavoidable part of life. We despair, we hurt, and we fear when suffering occurs in our lives. Losing a loved one. The end of relationships. The loss of security. We get injured or sick. A loved one becomes sick. A parent dies. Realize it is ok to feel pain, accept it, and really mourn. This is a part of life. When you’re done, move on, and seek the Lord for your completion in joy.
5. Impact humanity: The world is much larger than we all allow it to be. And most of us are quite content to live in our small corners of the globe, not being exposed to anything messy, not coming face to face with the hurts of the world. Don’t live there, don’t be comfortable with your own space. Meet the other faces of humanity, listen to their stories, share their pain and help them heal however you can.
6. Live by faith (aka take chances that don’t make sense): Worst and best idea ever. This one is going to be the end of me, I’m fairly certain. Sometimes the direction the Lord leads us does not make sense… and most times it actually gets fairly messy, but remember… the Lord does not lead us into despair, or confusion, or a place where He does not have a plan for us. Sometimes the steps getting there just look a bit dim… keep walking. You’ll grow. Be bold and take a risk… sometimes all you have to lose is your pride.
7. Discover purpose: What makes you unique? What drives you? What weighs so heavy on your heart that you can’t ignore it? Pursue that, and don’t allow human logic to destroy the path the Lord is setting in your heart. Keep walking, confident in the pursuit of your dreams and willing to set the Lord’s purpose for your life above any selfish desires that may sabotage the most unique and purposeful you…
8. Make a mistake… or many: This one is so hard… I want everything in life to be perfect and picturesque. I want it all to always make sense and to always be right. Maybe every once in a while, be ok with doing something wrong. Those who never fail, never really try…
9. Be here now: Don’t live in the past, don’t get caught up in the future, just live in the now and understand your purpose in being where the Lord has you for the moment. Write a list, what is important to you now, what are you learning now, how are you developing now, dwell on those things and allow yourself to continue to develop because of where you are. The future is coming, you don’t always need to help it along… and the past is over, there’s nothing to be done with it now.
10. Love: Do not miss this one, it impacts every other principle. Love God, love the people He places in your life, love humanity. Fall in love- it’s so easy to live life with a cautionary heart, but that can be such a shallow way of experiencing all the beauty the Lord has created for human relationships… and suddenly you’re 10 years down the road, on your own. Never, never, never forget to love.