Tag Archive: living well


When tbV [the beautiful Val] and i were living in Oakland about a year ago, we came across a book titled ‘Free’ by a friend of ours we had met over here, Mark Scandrette.

free

The tagline of the book is ‘Spending your Time and Money on What Matters Most’ and that really does sum up the book. We decided to gather some people together and work through the book over an eight week period. Continue reading

I imagine there are more than seven ways to live a successful life. But I also think it is of extreme importance to push the pause button every so often and take a look in the metaphorical mirror [or the actual one] and see how the life you are presently living measures up to the one you could be. So grab a cup of coffee [or some freshly squeezed organic kiwi and butternut juice, with cumin] and take a minute on each of these… and consider for a moment if your life could use some change…
success

I don’t know who Andy Singer is, but this cartoon shows that he gets it. The ‘Successful’ person is often viewed as the one who is working so hard and so cut off from family and friends and personal life passion [often in the interests of providing well for family and friends] that they have actually had the life sucked out of them. If what you are doing to make money is robbing you of all the things it was meant to provide, there might be some tough but necessary decisions ahead. It’s not too late to do something else.

passion

Imagine how different your life will look at the end with a scorecard that reads, “Clocked 24000 hours on World of Warcraft” as opposed to, “Discovered cure for Ebola virus” – now for most of us, what we actually end up achieving or being part of will be significantly somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. I am personally hoping for a life that ends up closer to the Ebola virus side than the ‘became really good at useless skill’ side of things.

to succeed

I hate that somewhere along the path of life, disillusioned adults seem to feel the need to tell young people to stop dreaming and believing that change is possible. Perhaps it is whatever convinced you of that, that is actually the real reason your dream wasn’t realised. Aids and the conflict in Gaza and extreme racism and human trafficking do seem like such huge impossible mountains to climb but if you were able to sit with someone from the 1800s for sixty minutes and just see their reaction when you try to explain to them things like airplanes and mobile phones, google glass and microwave ovens, I imagine you might start to consider what other impossible things are waiting to be achieved by those who refuse to believe they can’t be done.

success beging

Very simple but very profound.

Is there something you have always wanted to do but never [yet] got round to starting? It is probably not too late.

Is there something you started and then life got in the way and so it was pushed into a folder, or to the back of a drawer and you simply need to carve some time and get it out and really push through and finish it?

wait

I really love this one. It is true. Time makes no apologies. Sentences that begin with “I’ll do that when…” are so fraught with danger, because they anticipate or hold out hope that life will somehow slow down or become easier or less cluttered. It begins with leaving school, then finishing university, then getting married, then having our first child, then when my child starts school and and and… Don’t wait until. Start now. If you are feeling changes need to be made, get going with them. Seize this particular day. Seize it now.

yolo

What a stupid saying. And what an incredible way of summing up the point of what it should be. Are you doing something with your life now that matters? Because you don’t get a do over!

love

Above all, this is what life is meant to be about. Loving God and Loving people is all good and well. But there needs to be some action involved as well otherwise it is all just a pretty [and useless] Hallmark Cardin your brain. And when I talk about being significant and doing significant things, that doesn’t mean all of us will be curing Aids or reaching lost people groups or affecting the whole world. For some of us being a parent well is a significant thing. For others of us it might be affecting a local school or community. Maybe even just the people on your street or in your apartment block.

I hope you found something in here useful. I hope this will encourage you to greater success. Now go.

i have seen these ‘Coffee with Jesus’ comic strips around every now and then and have generally found them to be thort-provoking and profound and more recently my friend Robert has been sharing some that i have really liked and so i intend to stick a few on here from time to time… hopefully they will provoke more thort and even some action as they provide a bit of a mirror for those of us who claim to follow Jesus…

coffeewithJesussomethingreal

continuing with this series of new year’s evolutions – with the idea of moving beyond a dream list of ‘i wish this for next year’ to some specific steps and actions to put into place to help you transform yourself into a better person in 2012. and my next evolution suggestion is this:

DEAL WITH THE PAST, BUT LIVE IN THE PRESENT, WITH THE FUTURE IN MIND

wo, that seems a little complicated, but really it’s just some more intentional living and this one requires a bit more work and effort and maybe even sweat and tears, but it is vital to having a life to the full 2012:

DEAL WITH THE PAST – one of the biggest aspects linked to this is forgiveness and this is such an important thing as holding onto unforgiveness and the bitterness/anger/resentment that goes with it, can be one of the most damaging things in life [physical, emotionally and even spiritually]

it has been said that holding on to unforgiveness is like drinking a cup of poison and hoping that the other person dies… because most of the stuff associated with unforgiveness hurts you and often the person it is directed at, is blissfully unaware that you are holding something against them. sometimes they may know and so it will affect both of you, but it is impossible to not forgive someone and live unaffected by that. what often happens is you build walls around yourself to protect you from being hurt again [by that person, or maybe by anyone] and while that can be incredibly affective, what it does is it also keeps out the potential love and support from both friends and God, which leads to loneliness and bitterness and increasing resentment and so on. the bible is clear that if someone has something against you [not even just you against them] you should interrupt your worship [leave your gift at the altar] and go and put things right with that person [as much as is possible for you, sometimes they won’t be interested but you have to make the effort from your side] and then return when you can honestly and truly [and purely] be able to worship God properly [matthew 5.24]

so to create a base for great relationship with God and a platform for healthy, growing relationships with friends and family it is vital that you do not hold unforgiveness against anyone. there might be something that happened ten years ago [or when you were a young child] and yet every time you see the person or hear their name it sends shock waves through your body – you need to address it and bring forgiveness, or it will stick with you for the rest of your life. [and i am not suggesting this is an easy thing – when it heads towards areas of abuse, be it physical or even just verbal, and rape, then it can be incredibly difficult, almost impossible and will not be a one moment thing but rather a journey of choosing to forgive daily, but fortunately i am in relationship with a God who is great with the ‘impossible’ and so i know there is a hope and a future where He is involved]. taking this point seriously will revolutionise your life.

another aspect of dealing with the past is getting out of debt. living in debt is a crippling thing because it feeds itself and just continues to be an ever gaping’er hole. as much as it is up to you in life, live without debt because this affects relationships and opportunities and health and so much more. for some of you this will mean the tough decision to take a serious look at your lifestyle and making some changes so you can live according to your means and not beyond them – things like what you spend on entertainment, or even take-away coffee [i made a decision when i was in stellenbosch that as much as i love it, i can’t really justify drinking at vida e cos the coffee is so expensive, but had specific times when drinking at Seattle was allowable] and even maybe where you live and what you drive. the distinction between need and greed can be a really helpful one in this area if we can be honest about it. and often choosing to spend less on yourself gives you resources to pour into others.

one other aspect i won’t go into in depth her, but which i think is key is to stop living off yesterday’s stories and miracles and accomplishments – be strengthened when you look back on them for sure, but always be looking forwards to the new thing God is going to do – if the stories you tell of God working in your life are ten years old, you need some new stories…

LIVE IN THE PRESENT WITH THE FUTURE IN MIND

again, there is a lot that can be said here – hopefully this blog works as a catalyst to spark off much greater thought and life change, but just a few thoughts… one area which i think differently to a lot of people, but similarly to how i read and understand the Bible, is the area of savings. while i think it is good to save specifically for something you have in mind and are working towards [i spent six months in the UK working to save up enough money so I could do a Youth With A Mission school in Holland in 2000] i don’t think savings for the sake of having a backup plan are a God idea. i believe for the most part we should be living and using the majority of our resources [time, money, energy] for what is happening now [although always keeping the future in mind, but not having the now determined by then then] and not just storing things up to enjoy later [see the parable of the rich fool in luke 12 as one example].

take a look at the early church in Acts 2.42 and 3 as well and see how the community aspect of how they lived affected their finances and how they looked after each other [community will be a future part of this series so watch out for it] because if we are a part of a community who really live in and around each others lives, then their will be mutual provision in all areas of life and cross-resourcing and it has the potential to create a really beautiful thing.

the problem with being stuck in the past [unforgiveness, regret, holding on to past failures and missed opportunities] or living in the future [being fully focused on the thing that it yet to come – “when I’m finished school”, “when i’m married”, “when i’m retired”] is that usually the now suffers very much and present relationships, opportunities, life and potential lose a lot of what they could be.

and so please put some time aside to think through these things and more – deal with the past and then live now, keeping the future in mind, but not being dictated by it…

to continue to the next one on how you spend your money, time and energy, click here.

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