Tag Archives: Real Life

10 Ways to Live a Life Worth Living

10_Way_to_Live_a_Life_Worth_LivingI recently turned 40 and have been taking stock of my life—where I’ve been, where I am, and where I want to go. It’s been both challenging and energizing. Maybe you can relate? To be honest, I’m in process, but thought I would share my current thoughts about ways to live a life worth living. Here’s my list:

  1. Invest in the mundane. I tend to want to avoid things like doing dishes, changing diapers, taking out the trash, and helping to make dinner. But doing mundane tasks builds a character that’s other-focused and helpful.
  2. Read more. I heard recently that the typical college grad doesn’t read after college. Bill Gates never graduated, but carries (and constantly reads) three bags of books with him as he travels! Which one is better?
  3. Exercise regularly. I know everyone says this. But it’s true. Without being intentional, I sit in front of a computer all day long. I recently joined Gymnazo to be intentional about working out 3-4 times a week.
  4. Invest in people.  It’s easy to spend the day focused on getting tasks done. But I’ve noticed days where I make time to be with people and listen to them and hear their stories are better.
  5. Eat well.  I’m not a foody. I hate kale and kombucha. Still, I know that eating predominantly yellow—especially processed food (french fries, chips, cookies, pasta)—isn’t good for me. I need to eat foods that are green and blue and purple in much higher quantities than I prefer. So do you.
  6. Share. I’ve noticed the people I regard most highly are those who share kindness, contacts and knowledge most freely (for more see Love is the Killer App by Tim Sanders).
  7. Commit to growth. If you think you avoid challenges, you think effort is a waste of time, or you take criticism personally, then you’re a lot like me—and many others! We want to prove ourselves. Read Mindset and let Stanford professor Carol Dweck inspire you to grow.
  8. Block out Sabbath time. We all need time to re-focus, rejuvenate, relax and re-energize. Schedule this time into your week. First.
  9. Work smarter not harder. Working hard is good, not enough. You need a team to help you—whether at work, or at home, or in your personal life. Life is a team sport. There’s a reason Ecclesiastes says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” (Eccl 4:9-10)
  10. Change your story. As Americans we live by a story where we make ourselves the star of the show. Its true that we face challenges, but through the pursuit of our dreams we can finally create the kind of life we always wanted. The Bible tells a different story. It says Jesus is the star of the show. We rebelled against him, but he is pursuing us to create the kind of life we really need—one that surpasses the life we always wanted. And it will last forever. This story humbles me, but it frees me (and you!) to join Him in a life worth living.

Question: What would make your list of ways to live a life worth living? You can leave a comment below.

RIghteousMen

I’m Not Righteous

During a recent trip I chatted with a friend about what it looks like to be a righteous man. He had searched the Bible for a description of righteousness and found a useful list where Titus outlines qualities of Christian leaders, “He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.” (Titus 1:7-8) It’s a helpful list of attitudes and actions to avoid and to adopt.

Of course a righteous person avoids things like:

  • Arrogance (missed that one)
  • A quick temper (ouch!)
  • Drunkenness
  • Violence (public or private),
  • The idol of gain—whether financial, power, success, or reputation.

A righteous man or woman should also increasingly live out the positive qualities on this list:

  • Hospitality (devoted to the welfare of others)
  • Generosity instead of stingy
  • Self-control
  • Uprightnessbeing and doing what God requires.
  • Holiness (dedicated to God and his will)
  • Disciplined (exercising self-control in our lives)

As my friend shared his list and his thoughts on it, his passion moved me. He convicted me of my own need for righteousness and a greater desire for it. But, I was also troubled by this list of righteous attitudes and actions. Something didn’t sit right with me. If Christian righteousness amounts to a list of qualities to attitudes and actions to avoid and to adopt, what does it mean if I struggle to avoid and adopt those attitudes and actions?

But Titus’s list won’t make us righteous men or women. This list describes one who has trusted in The Righteous Man, Jesus. Righteousness begins with Jesus and not with us.

“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:4-7)

The phrase “being justified by his grace” means “made righteous” by his grace! Titus’s list about righteousness assumes our trust in The Righteous Man and his mercy!

Here’s the thing. I know the Christian life is about trusting The Righteous Man rather than making myself righteous. But, do I trust The Righteous Man, or do I strive to prove my righteousness to God and myself and others? If I’m honest, I depend on myself. I trust my education, I trust my good intentions, I trust my service to God and much else besides. If I am to grow in righteousness, I must grow in my trust in “the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior,” The Righteous Man.

In what ways do you struggle to trust in The Righteous Man rather than your own righteousness?

I Apologize

Actually, I apologize a lot. Chances are, if you’ve an email from me it began with something like, “I apologize it’s taken me so long to get back to you…” That’s because I’m a horrible friend and am terrible at getting back to people. (Maybe now is a good time to apologize to you if you are waiting to hear back from me as I write this.) To make matters worse, my wife Lisa told me recently that I’m not the nice guy I walk around thinking I am. Nope. I’m an expletive that rhymes with “gas bowl” and looks like the tail end of a burro. Don’t get the wrong idea–I asked for it. We were driving on a road trip (I don’t know about you, but our best conversations happen when we sit in the car next to each other for hours on end) and I was asking my dear wife for feedback about myself. Somewhere along the line I helpfully offered what a nice guy I am and how I let myself get pushed around. Her response? “I don’t know that I’d say you’re a ‘nice guy.’ You can be nice. You’re a good dad and I love you, but you’re kind of an…” well, you get the idea.

My self-absorbed burro like personality means I have plenty of opportunity to practice apologizing to people for a variety of reasons. It also means I listen to the apologies of others. I’m a bit of an apology connoisseur as it were. Here’s what I’ve noticed. When I say “I’m sorry” for something I’ve done, I almost never am. In fact, in our house “I’m sorry” almost means, “I’m sorry you brought up my ‘supposed offense’ now leave me alone!” (I actually did this to Lisa the other day when she called me on the carpet for a rude comment) And, I don’t think we’re the only ones who “apologize” in this way. I’ve heard it in the so-called apologies of friends, acquaintances and strangers. I’ve heard it among family members and co-workers. “I’m sorry” are two words we use as a society to quickly get people off our backs and to avoid the pain of responsibility and reconciliation.

What to do? I have found a profound difference between saying “I’m sorry” and speaking the words “I apologize.” (PLEASE tell me you never utter phrases like “I’m sorry you feel that way.” worst. apology. EVER.) Uttering the five-syllable, two-word phrase “I apologize” cuts through any attempt save face and helps us admit we are just plain wrong. For advanced users, I recommend adding what you apologize for–and be specific. It’s surprising how simple and difficult the switch can be in real life. It’s also surprising what a difference it makes to our relationships. Take it from one who has had plenty of opportunity to practice, next time conflict arises, see what happens by simply saying, “I apologize.”

How did it go last time you had to say “I apologize”?