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life

life

How to be More Alive

April 21, 2018 • By

One of my favorite quotes is by Saint Irenaeus and it goes like this, “The glory of God is man fully alive”.

I know it’s actually a miss-quote but I really like it anyway. The expression “fully alive” really inspires me. It reminds me of Christ’s offer of a rich and satisfying life. It also makes me think of how many of us aren’t really fully alive. We’re alive in the sense that our hearts are beating and we’re walking around, but we’re plagued by unfulfilled hopes, abandoned dreams, and lives that make little to no impact on the world around us. When our ideas of a good time are watching TV or taking the edge off with alcohol, then we’re missing out on a whole lot of actual living.

It seems more like we’re kind of alive but not fully.

There are many reasons why we don’t live fully. Too many to list here. But I thought I’d share four things with you that might help you move to a greater place of fullness in your life.

Never let shame settle in.
Nothing sucks the life out a person like shame. Shame over our appearance, shame over our lack of anything, and especially shame over our actions. I had a conversation the other day with a friend who was wrecked by shame because he lost his temper at work. It’s like he was stuck in that moment, unable to enjoy life. You can’t live fully and hold onto shame at the same time. You can’t learn from your mistakes either. Accept God’s forgiveness, forgive yourself, grow from it, and get back to living.

Don’t compare.
Comparison can be deadly. For years I struggled with comparing myself with my peers in the same age group. Most of my friends owned houses before I did, they made more money than me, and generally seemed to be enjoying life a whole lot more. In addition, my pastor friends seemed to be reaching more people than me, and I imagined that there was an excitement about their ministries that made mine seem boring. When I learned to accept the uniqueness of my own journey, and that God’s blessing and favor were on my life, regardless of my own definitions and expectations of success, I could stop comparing, and start enjoying life right where I was.

Give yourself permission to dream.
Disappointment happens. And the older you get, the more disappointments stack up and it’s easier to stop dreaming than it is to keep getting your hopes up. We focus on failures, missed opportunities, and unfulfilled hopes instead of believing that the best is yet to come. By the way, no matter how old you are, it’s still okay to believe that the best is yet to come. Dream! Have big hairy ideas. Set audacious goals and go for them. Without a vision, we parish so keep dreaming!

Appreciate where you are while taking steps to move forward.
How often do we look around ourselves and express gratitude for where we are in life, and how God has taken care of us? Gratitude is the gateway to joy and appreciating where we are gives us an excitement for what’s next. But don’t stay where you are, keep moving forward. Read another book, take another step, create strategies for reaching your goals and act on them. I heard once that a rabbit’s heart beats just as fast the day before it dies as it does when it’s younger. It keeps moving and running until the end. I want to be like the rabbit. God forbid that I ever choose to bench myself and spend my days watching TV and complaining that I’m too old. There’s just too much life to live!

I hope you choose to live a life that’s fully alive. I hope you accept God’s best for you, dream big, live gratefully, and never stop moving forward!


life

The Best Time to Change

March 24, 2017 • By

I have an old friend that needs to make some changes in the way he lives. He doesn’t exercise and his diet consists mostly of fast food (LOTS of it). As a consequence, he’s obese, his energy is low, he gets sick a lot, and his marriage isn’t exactly on fire.

We’ve had many conversations (and even times of prayer) about his health, the way he eats, and small changes he could make to lose weight and improve his quality of life.

Over the years, he has made zero changes.

The tragedy of the situation doesn’t end with simply being overweight. It doesn’t take super powers to be able to see into his future. He’s headed for a mobility scooter, a heart attack, family members having to take care of him, or maybe worse.

Maybe a close encounter with death will inspire him to change. Maybe it will motivate him to eat a salad and go for a walk. Unfortunately, for many people, it takes a major crisis to get them to discipline themselves and start adjusting their lives to reflect what they SAY they value (health, family, finances, etc.)

Change is hard. We spend a long time developing unhealthy habits and they’re super tough to break. We usually don’t change until the pain of staying the way we are is greater than the pain we’ll endure changing the way we live.

The best time to make a change is before you need to.

Don’t wait until you’re $10,000 in credit card debt to change your spending habits, don’t wait until your wife leaves you to change the way you relate to her, and don’t wait until you have a heart attack before you change the way you eat.

If you saw a steamroller headed down the road toward you, you wouldn’t wait until your shoelaces were under it to get out of the way. That would be foolish! Yet, we pretty much do the same thing with our health, relationships, etc. We live in denial about the cause and effect of our decisions and then beg God for help when the self-imposed bomb drops.

Proverbs 22:3 says, “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.

I think it’s important to do some self-evaluation on a regular basis. Ask yourself, “If I keep doing what I’m doing, where will I be in five years?” Or more specifically, “If I keep eating/entertainment binging/spending/parenting/leading/working the way that I do, where will I be in five years?”

Once you’ve figured out where you need to change, start moving in that direction. You don’t have to train for a triathlon, but you can start taking the stairs and maybe cutting out that second dessert. Set small goals you can keep and get back in the saddle when you fall off your horse.

The best time time to make a change is before you need to. Start making them now. It’s prudent, It’s wise, and it will save you massive amounts of unnecessary heartache in the inevitable future.