I have narrowed it down to 6 practices that I believe sum it up best. So here goes...
6 Necessary Practices to Living Well:
1. Value people over possessions
I don't need to go into detail here. Just think of the last time you asked, "What is that going to cost me" and then chose some measure of comfort over another person. I do it. You do it. We are all bent toward our own comfort and security over the opportunity to serve another. Each time I place my comfort first, an opportunity to minister the Gospel is wasted.
There is a girl named Meredith whom I friended on Facebook this week. She is a volunteer nanny in China with an organization called Morning Star. I was connected to Meredith because she cares specifically for heart babies and a prayer request was sent out for one of her little ones. I was touched by the sacrifices that Meredith must have made to move across the world to care for those little ones. She appears to be in her twenties, a time when most young girls are looking for a husband or starting to build their personal fortune. But instead of following the norm, Meredith is whole-heartedly investing in eternity.
Value people over possessions. I am not going to conquer this one in a year, but I need to keep working at it. We all do.
2. Find joy in the every day
I find hurry in the every day. I find a list of to do's and a quest for accomplishment in the every day. I find frustration and worry in the every day. What I don't find is joy in the every day. As I listened to Phil's family and friends share stories about his life, I was struck by how much fun he had. There were several stories that involved whoopee cushions, practical jokes, and a lot of laughter in seemingly routine places like work and family gatherings. I found myself envious of how much joy he experienced in his daily tasks and I was challenged to do the same. Every year our family prays a value over each member. Mine this year will be joy.
3. Be who God has called YOU to be
I don't know about you but I get caught up in the comparison trap and then that is somehow followed by the lie that I don't measure up. It is in those moments of feeling defeated that God reminds me that I wasn't called to be that person I am comparing myself to. God created me to be me and He created you to be you. He didn't make you to be as skinny as______, or as wealthy as _______ , as smart as _______, or a mother just like________. He created you (and me) uniquely for a specific purpose. Be that person.
4. Live a life that draws people to the Gospel instead of pushing them away
Your thought on this may be "but of course" or "thanks for the obvious" but I want you to think about it from this perspective. This is not the only example but there has been a lot of controversy in the media this year regarding individuals who live an alternative lifestyle. My husband and I were visiting with one such person last spring and he responded to us like he expected us to hate him. It occurred to me then that the global church's greatest threat is not leaving people indifferent to the Gospel but instead actually pushing them away from it. When we are so focused on our agenda of pushing God's law that we forget to love, we miss the Gospel. I want to love in a way that makes others want to know Jesus and not in a manner that makes them expect me to hate them.
5. Make memories
Several years ago I attended another family funeral that changed the way I view life. It was for my cousin Greg who passed in his 30's and left behind a wife and two young children. I was moved when a friend of his quoted Greg consistently saying, "You can't put a price on a good time." Thank heavens he lived life to the fullest. Trent and I quote Greg about once a month when we are trying to decide if some family activity is worth the expense.
Making memories is not just about splurging on a good time but also about not saying things like, "But you might get dirty," "Not in those clothes," or, "I have too much work to do." My Aunt Mary has always encouraged me to serve dinner on my good dishes because it is better to use them and break them then never to use them at all. I want to use my good dishes, let me kids get dirty, splurge on a good vacation, and put down my work to jump in the pool. I want to make more memories because the opportunity to do it tomorrow is never guaranteed.
6. Worry Less
I had the best conversation with a patient the other day. We were alone in the clinic because all of my coworkers left for a boring meeting that I volunteered to miss to treat this one man. We got to talking about the best advice we had ever been given and he quoted his Great Aunt. He asked her at the end of her life if she could give him one piece of advice what would it be. She said that she wished she had spent less time worrying. That's good stuff, friends. How much time do we waste worrying about things that we can't change or that don't even turn out the way we worried they would anyway. I am vowing here and now to worry less.
So there you have it. Ginny's 6 resolutions to living well. Now, stop worrying, make some good memories, experience more joy, be you, and change the world.
My 3 youngest making memories at a spontaneous trip to the zoo last weekend