A Life Well Lived
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If you get so focused on reaching the destination, you may neglect to enjoy the ride. There are many “destinations” that you’re focused on right now: completing certain tasks, getting to items on your to-do list, and much more. But in your journey to work on these things, don’t forget to enjoy the steps along the way.
Stop and think of one thing that you love about this moment. Is it the quietness of the day? Or perhaps the fact that you have a chance to sit still and alone to read these words? Is it that you feel healthy and strong? Or is it that beautiful plant that you just admired? Think about some of the joys of this moment—joys that you wouldn’t naturally notice or consider joys. Choose abstract joys, the ones that take real thought and consideration.
Next, think about your job, or how a regular day goes for you. Consider all that you do in the day, and all that you’re focused on accomplishing. Now, pull away from that scene and think of all the joys that you get to experience in a regular day, but which you never noticed before. Think about some of the humorous talk you’re privileged to hear by being around your children. Or the cold fruit juice you can enjoy while preparing a meal. Think about the chance to see different faces and to get a peek into different lifestyles through your witnessing or interactions with others.
Think on these joys and determine to discover more of them. Ask Me and I will help you to discover the joy in every moment of every day.—Jesus, speaking in prophecy1
Draw the chin in, carry the crown of the head high, and fill the lungs to the utmost; drink in the sunshine; greet your friends with a smile, and put soul into every handclasp.
Do not fear being misunderstood, and do not waste a minute thinking about your enemies. Try to fix firmly in your mind what you would like to do, and then, without veering off direction … move straight to the goal.
Keep your mind on the great and splendid things you would like to do, and then, as the days go gliding by, you will find yourself unconsciously seizing upon the opportunities that are required for the fulfillment of your desire.
Picture in your mind the able, earnest, useful person you desire to be, and the thought you hold is hourly transforming you into that particular individual.
Preserve a right mental attitude—the attitude of courage, frankness, and good cheer. To think rightly is to create. … Every sincere prayer is answered. We become like that on which our thoughts are fixed.
Never think of yourself as old, weary, sick, or discouraged. Never think of yourself as defeated. Get hope into your mind, and change all negative thoughts into positive thoughts. Remember, there is a tendency to become what you image or visualize.
Pull yourself up, physically, mentally, spiritually, by filling your mind with hope. “Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance.”2 As you hope in God, you will have health in your countenance, because you will have health of body, mind, and spirit.—Elbert Hubbard
There is only one invitation it would kill me to refuse, yet I’m tempted to turn it down all the time. I get the invitation every morning when I wake up to actually live a life of complete engagement, a life of whimsy, a life where love does. It doesn’t come in an envelope. It’s ushered in by a sunrise, the sound of a bird, or the smell of coffee drifting lazily from the kitchen. It’s the invitation to actually live, to fully participate in this amazing life for one more day. …
Accepting the invitation to show up in life is about moving from the bleachers to the field. It’s moving from developing opinions to developing options. It’s about having things matter to us enough that we stop just thinking about those things and actually do something about them. Simply put, Jesus is looking for us to accept the invitation to participate. It’s like the president is calling and we just need to answer the phone. We need to show up.
When we accept life’s invitation, it’s contagious too. Other people will watch us and start seeing life as something more amazing, more whimsical than before. When you show up to the big life, people (the type who don’t think they’re invited) start seeing invitations everywhere as thick as colorful fall leaves. They don’t think about their pain or their weakness any longer. Instead, they think about how incredible a big life really is and how powerful the one who is throwing the banquet is too.
Jesus wants us to come. He’s sending His servants out to tell the people standing at the fences and in the libraries that they’re invited to the party. He’s sending you an invitation too, in the sunrise, in the sound of a bird, or in the smell of coffee drifting from the kitchen. The one who has invited you [to the banquet] is way more powerful than any of the impediments we think we’re facing, and He has just one message for us. He leans forward and whispers quietly to each of us, “There’s more room.”—Bob Goff3
Love life. Engage in it. Give it all you've got. Love it with a passion because life truly does give back, many times over, what you put into it.—Maya Angelou
The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life’s plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life.—Robert Louis Stevenson
Meaning is not something you stumble across, like an answer to a riddle or the prize in a treasure hunt. Meaning is something you build into your life. You build it out of your own past, out of the affections and loyalties, out of the experience of humankind as it is passed on to you, out of your own talent and understanding, out of the things you believe in, out of the things and people you love, out of the values for which you are willing to sacrifice something. The ingredients are there. You are the only one who can put them together into that unique pattern that will be your life. Let it be a life that has dignity and meaning for you. If it does, then the particular balance of success or failure is of less account.—John Gardner
A life need not be great to be beautiful. There may be as much beauty in a tiny flower as in a majestic tree, in a little gem as in a great jewel. A beautiful life is one that fulfills its mission in this world, that is what God made it to be, and does what God made it to do.—David Brandt Berg4
Published on Anchor February 2013. Read by Irene Quiti Vera.
Music by Michael Dooley.
1 Originally published 2008.
2 Psalm 42:11 KJV.
3 Love Does (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2012).
4 Adapted from James R. Miller.