Adulting! Seriously sometimes I’m just not up for it. Remember being a kid? No bills. No emails. No deadlines. No responsibility. Now we have – work deadlines, study deadlines, we have spouses and kids, we have bills to pay like mortgages, insurances, phone and internet bills, car to maintain. We have places to be, commitments to uphold, relationships to foster.
We’ve got all these voices telling us about 1) Sleep – when to sleep, how to sleep and how much to sleep 2) Diet. What to eat. When to it eat it and how much to eat. 3) Exercise. When to exercise. How to exercise and how often to exercise. 4) Children. Do this, don’t do that. Strict routine. No routine. We have experts telling us about our relationships, careers, money, family and the list goes on.
Our minds are frazzled, our hearts are pounding, our bodies are breaking, our relationships are strained, our sleep is declining, our quality of work is suffering, and our joy is fleeting.
We need to re-calibrate and find our joy again. To help you re-calibrate and live towards what matters most consider six principles and four questions.
· The Stewardship Principle:
Big Idea: God is the owner of everything. You are the manager of some things the owner gives you. You are to steward those things as best you can for the owner.
Live as though a king has ransomed you from tyranny, offered you the gift of freedom and will one day return to see what you have done with your freedom. Treat all you have as something you will one day return.
· The Purpose Principle:
Big Idea: ‘WHY’ you do something is as important as ‘WHAT’ you do and will determine ‘HOW’ you experience ‘WHAT’ you do.
Living a balanced life is a favourite catchphrase. However, what does it mean? Often we think of a pie with only so much to go around. A piece goes to work.Another piece to family and on it goes. However, what if we don’t have a balance problem but have a purpose problem. The Purpose Principle says it’s not so much about the size, but rather the flavour of the pie that makes the difference. Why do you do what you do. And is your why big enough?
· The Priority Principle:
Big Idea: Evaluate and organise priorities and participate in a lower priority in ways that honour the higher priority.
Every decision we make is a decision of priority. One thing is selected over another. The question is whether that decision is made consciously or unconsciously? And is followed by another question as to how we honour one priority in light of another?
A worthwhile activity is to write a list of all your activities and put them in order of their priorities. But but then Ask this question –
Q ‘Is the investment I am currently making in this particular priority also honouring the priorities that are above it?’
For example, ‘Am I pursuing my job today in such a way that it is clear I value my spouse above my job?’ ‘Am I pursuing my relationship with my boyfriend/girlfriend/ fiancé/spouse, in such a way that it is clear I value God above this person?’
· The Journey Principle:
Big Idea: Both the Ends and the Means Matter
If you want to enjoy your life, you cannot sacrifice means at the altar of ends. You will burn bridges, miss opportunities, and forget to enjoy the ride.
For example, a parent may work extremely long hours seeking to build a business that will one day benefit the children. This is a good goal. However, what if in the effort to achieve that end, the parent misses the opportunity to build a relationship with those children. The journey principle wants you to ask – How can I achieve this end while also enjoying the journey and means.
· The Conscience Principle:
Big Idea: Don’t follow your heart but do listen to your conscience.
The problem with the heart is that it is a mixed bag. One day the heart wants one thing, and another day it wants something else. One day the motives are pure. Other days they are not. We should be aware of our hearts and investigate them, but we should not follow them. The conscience, on the other hand, is less inclined to the swing. While the Bible says the conscience can be seared
What is God saying to you? What has God called you to do?
· The Eternal Principle:
Big Idea: Live in today, in light of the past, for the future.
Our culture is so obsessed with the present they forget to learn from the past and to consider the future.
The famous John Lennon song ‘Imagine’, released in 1971 during the Vietnam War expresses this current notion. As the lyrics go,
Imagine there’s no heaven, It’s easy if you try
No hell below us. Above us, only sky
Imagine all the people living for today
It was the antithesis of a call to arms and written to lift the eyes of humanity to imagine and dream of a world with peace and unity and love. It’s a beautiful song. However, part of Lennon’s solution is the problem. We are a ‘people living for today’. We have lost our vision of the eternal and replaced it with the temporal. We make decisions that appear to benefit us today, only to find out that others before us made the same mistake and our future is the past repeating itself.
The Bible would say ‘live in today (not for it), in light of the past and for the future.’
In light of these six principles consider how you can re-calibrate and begin to live a life you enjoy!