Tag Archive: meaning of life

However you choose to live your life, refuse to settle.

As both just a person, but especially a Christ follower, this is something that i have witnessed in so many people in life over and over again. Not everyone, fortunately, and it is the ones who refuse to settle who keep me hopeful and energised and aiming at a thrive-filled life, but just so many people give up fighting or dreaming or pursuing passion or believing they can change any part of the world and this is so sad to me.

But i think i read something that makes it all make a little more sense.


i have just finished reading Scott M. Peck’s ‘The Road Less Traveled’ and while the number of ‘L’s used in the word ‘traveled’ in his book title deeply disturbs me, i found it to be really interesting and helpful in many ways. Much wadier than the typical book i would give attention to, but well worth the pushing through. And i would highly recommend it.

This extract i want to share follows on closely from the really helpful posts i shared on mapping, which you can catch up on over here if you missed them [and seriously do, cos they could revolutionise your life] and looks at a Dedication to Reality:

The third tool of discipline or technique of dealing with the pain of problem-solving, which must continually be employed if our lives are to be healthy and our spirits are to grow, is dedication to the truth. Superficially, this should be obvious. For truth is reality. That which is false is unreal.

The more clearly we see the reality of the world, the better equipped we are to deal with the world. The less clearly we see the reality of the world – the more our minds are befuddled by falsehood, misperceptions and illusions – the less able we will be to determine correct courses of action and make wise decisions. Our view of reality is like a map with which to negotiate the terrain of life. If the map is true and accurate, we will generally know where we are, and if we have decided where we want to go, we will generally know how to get there. If the map is false and inaccurate, we generally will be lost. 

While this is obvious, it is something that most people to a greater or lesser degree choose to ignore. They ignore it because our route to reality is not easy. First of all, we are not born with maps; we have to make them, and the making requires effort. The more effort we make to appreciate and perceive reality, the larger and more accurate our maps will be. But many do not want to make this effort. Some stop making it by the end of adolescence. Their maps are small and sketchy, their views of the world narrow and misleading. By the end of middle age most people have given up the effort. They feel certain that their maps are complete and their Weltanschauung  [Yes, i had to look this up: A comprehensive world view created by the fundamental cognitive orientation of an individual or society encompassing the entirety of the individual or society’s knowledge and point of view – Wikipedia]is correct [indeed, even sacrosanct], and they are no longer interested in new information. It is as if they are tired. Only a relative and fortunate few continue until the moment of death exploring the mystery of reality, ever enlarging and refining and redefining their understanding of the world and what is true.

But the biggest problem of map-making is not that we have to start from scratch, but that if our maps are to be accurate we have to continually revise them. The world itself is constantly changing. Glaciers come, glaciers go. Cultures come, cultures go. There is too little technology, there is too much technology. Even more dramatically, the vantage point from which we view the world is constantly and quite rapidly changing. When we are children we are dependent, powerless. As adults we may be more powerful. Yet in illness or an infirm ol age we may  become powerless and independent again. When we have children to care for, the world looks different from when we have none; when we are raising infants, the world seems different from when we are raising adolescents. When we are poor, the world looks different from when we are rich. We are daily bombarded with new information as to the nature of reality. If we are to incorporate this information, we must continually revise our maps, and sometimes make very major revisions. The process of making revisions, particularly major revisions, is painful, sometimes excruciatingly painful. And herein lies the major source of many of the ills of mankind. 

What happens when one has striven long and hard to develop a working view of the world, a seemingly useful, workable map, and then is confronted with new information suggesting that their view is wrong and the map needs to be largely redrawn? The painful effort required seems frightening, almost overwhelming. What we do more often than not, and almost unconsciously, is to ignore the new information as false, dangerous, heretical, the work of the devil. We may actually crusade against it, and even attempt to manipulate the world so as to make it conform to our view of reality. Rather than try to change the map, an individual may try to destroy the new reality. Sadly, such a person may expend much more energy ultimately in defending an outmoded view of the world tha would have been required to revise and correct it in the first place. 

[from ‘The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth’ by M. Scott Peck]

[To read the first part of these three pieces i shared, which introduces the map idea, click here]


God loves you.

[To read more, continue on to part II]


i read an exercise in a book the other day that encouraged us to imagine that we had died:

‘what do you hope the people closest to you might say at your funeral?’

‘what kind of obituary will they write about you for the local newspapeR?’

[from Free: Spending your Time and Money on what matters most, by Mark Scandrette]

in answering those questions we have to realise that nothing is going to magically happen one day for those things to suddenly become true

if it’s not true now, then it’s very likely not going to suddenly be true later

the truth is, your obituary writing starts here

it starts now

and you write it

not physically, but by the way you live your life, how you speak, what you give your time and money to

do you think you would live life any differently if that was the first thought on your mind as you woke up to start a new day?

my obituary starts here

now, how am i going to live, to make it a good one?

one day you will be old. and then dead. hopefully in that order. preferably without skipping the first part.

and a lot has been said about that… like the much shared list of top 5 regrets of the dying according to a nurse who hung out with a lot of dying people and got to hear a list of their regrets apparently [no Patch Adams noodle baths from this fun lady it seems] and these are the top 5 that emerged:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

we were also given that Baz Luhrmann ‘Sunscreen’ song/speech that reminded us of the long term benefits of wearing sunscreen, which contained such gems as:

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it.

And then one of the most classical of them all:

Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.

And on it goes – lists about climbing more mountains, picking more flowers, taking less photographs and living more in the moments you are capturing and so on…

Which is all great and important and true but can end up being another overwhelming set of ideals and wish lists and if onlys that you never actually really get to and will one day end up on your regret list.

So what do i want to suggest?

2 simple things – CELEBRATION and GRATITUDE:

The title of this post is ‘What do you celebrate as your head hits the pillow?’ – I remember one year where i kept a journal for a whole year and all that i wrote in it was at the end of each day one thing that i was grateful for from that day. From as simple as a friendly note from a friend on Facebook to something more powerful like witnessing life transformation in a friend or an answer to prayer or being able to resist temptation in a moment. Being intentional about taking a moment to stop in your day and celebrate a win or a thing to be grateful for. There is always one thing.

The second one has been noticing in tbV’s Facebook feed this last week or two what has felt like an intentional daily or close-to-daily moment of ‘Today i am grateful for…’ and usually a list of two to seven things that she has gratitude for on this particular day. i have found this so encouraging and it spurs me to consider my own list every time.

Regret is such a useless emotion/feeling/state because it accomplishes nothing except making you feel like a tit. And i don’t know anyone who enjoys that feeling particularly. So rather replace it with celebration and gratitude, even just of the small things that are worth celebrating and you might be amazed at how the bigger picture starts to be affected as well.

What will you celebrate tonight as your head hits the pillow? Take a minute and share one thing below in the comments that you are grateful for. Let it start here. 

I am a big fan of Calvin and Hobbes!

…or i used to be before the creator Bill Watterson gave it all up and went into hiding… or something like that.

Like all really great cartoonists before him, such as Gary Larsen from ‘The Far Side’, Scott Adams of ‘Dilbert’ fame and ‘Pearls before Swine’ creator Stephan Pastis and off course such classic cartoonists such as Charles M Schulz who created Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the ‘Peanuts’ gang and others, Bill managed to have a complete grasp of funny while at the same time interjecting it with a serious view or commentary of life. All the greats were able to combine the two. Take you from a moment of complete laughter to ‘Wait one minute’ – Boom! Right between the eyes.

It was no huge surprise then when i stumbled across this brilliant cartoon strip that was done as a homage to Watterson using a quote taken from a graduation speech Watterson gave at his alma mater, Kenyon College, in 1990, which began with the words: ‘Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your souls is a rare achievement’

The reason the words jumped out at me is that recently our friend, Mark Scandrette, released a new book called ‘Free: Spending your Time and Money on what Matters Most’ and we are having a book launch party on the 19th September in the Lake Merritt area [which if you’re close enough to attend, you should totally come to]

This homage cartoon finishes with the line ‘To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy… but it’s still allowed… and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.’

As a follower of Jesus, the line of ‘inventing your own life’s meaning’ takes on a bit of a different context, as my pursuit in life is to follow Jesus and see His kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven [a place where Love God, Love people and look after the least of these does not sound like the worst life’s meaning to have] but the line, ‘Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul’ completely resonates as I see far too many people who call themselves ‘christian’ yet are clearly not living the free and abundance-filled life that Jesus clearly calls us towards.

Take a look at the rest of the homage cartoon and read the post below to see just how Bill Watterson was able to achieve that. The one useless fact I know about him is that no Calvin and Hobbes merchandise is ever legal as he intentionally held the rights to those so that he could maintain control and care of his characters. This post takes you into a little bit deeper of the why.

Would you say that your life reflects your values and satisfies your soul right now? And if not, what are you prepared to do about it..?





So i tweeted this tweet yesterday and then went out for the day and when i came home i couldn’t understand why my Tweeter had gone mental:

If i asked you, instead of what you do for a living, what your passion is in life, what would you say?

Ah, then i spotted it – Don Miller, author of the popular ‘Blue Like Jazz’ and who has over 179, 258 followers on Twitter had retweeted it and the fun and games had begun with hundreds of favourites and retweets and some replies…

I came up with this while sitting at the singles table of a wedding years ago when i realised that the typical ‘What do you do?’ question didn’t always tell me a lot about the person i was trying to get to know. i don’t really care [lt’s be honest here] all that much about what you do, but i do want to know who you are [and sometimes it’s the same which is incredible].

What is your passion? What are you passionate about in life? seems to open up ‘Who are you?’ a lot more than ‘What is your job?’

So the tweet went far and wide but sadly i didn’t get to see many of the answers of it, and that is what i am hoping to see with this blog. In one sentence or less [less than one sentence?] answer that question for me, if you will be so kind… in the comments section below.

What is your passion? What are you passionate about in life?

And don’t tell me you’re not passionate about anything as some try to. Maybe just take a few more minutes to figure out what it is, if needed.

So that’s what this post is about… whether it is what you currently do or not, i am interested to hear what you are passionate about in life?

And go…

this is a great psalm altho to be honest for some reason every time i read the line “as the deer pants” it makes me think of crocodile pants [i have no idea why the crocodile pants, maybe cos of crocodile boots or something] and so i get distracted by then thinking of these pants made out of deer and i have to slap myself in the head to refocus and start all over again…

if you’re a douglas adams fan [author of ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ – and if you’re not, you should be – the king of random astractive humour] then you will understand why the number 42 is the answer to the ‘meaning of life?’ question… and in some cases this song starts off by answering that question, ‘What is the meaning of life?’

the answer: ‘As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.’ [vs.1] is a description of true worship – your whole being crying out for God… realisation of need, of the desperate kind of need that a thirsty animal has for water… of a need that drives the animal forwards to even risk danger from the wild animals, one goal in mind…

do i hunger for God? So, so much. i hunger to see Him at work in my neighborhood, to see the kind of life transformation that will really see change happening here… i long to see Him more deeply at work in my own life – helping me to Love my wife better, to be more patient and kind and not-wrong-remembering and so on… i long to see Him at work in my community life – filling me with the grace and compassion and generosity that is so often lacking…

but too often that hunger is replaced by easy distraction. or subverted by personal selfishness.

then the psalm moves on to describe how the writer is feeling quite overwhelmed by people around him, especially mocking his beliefs and helping feed any doubts he might have and he seems to be caught with the cry of the man whose son Jesus heals – “I believe! Help me overcome my disbelief!” – which is a cry i often seem to have… but he has some great responses to that:

‘These things I remember as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One
with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.’ [vs. 4]

looking back and remembering when his faith was strong and when God did pitch up and reveal Himself and work in his life – that is a great attitude to have – in revelations 12.11 it talks about the enemy being defeated in this way:

‘They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.’

so ‘the blood of the lamb’ which is what Jesus did for us in dying on the cross… and ‘the word of their testimony’ which is what Jesus has done in ad around our lives – our story – something the enemy cannot take away… and so when times get hard and doubts are rising, it is a great activity to look back and remember when you believed strongly and when God was answering a particular prayer clearly or vividly showing up and getting involved.

‘Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.’ [vs.5]

another response is choosing to praise God even when it doesn’t feel like the natural response – struggling with doubt? praise the One in whom your faith lies – it is a kind of stepping out in faith [a faith which is helped by looking backwards to those times when you were feeling more sure] and speaking the belief you are wanting to be in…

and it is also a response of hope – the kind of trusting hope that accompanies faith – i am not going to let my fear and doubts and struggles paralyse me – i am going to believe and press forward and experience… and like that deer seeking water, when i find the object of my seeking, then i will drink deeply and be satisfied.

[To return to the Intro page and be connected to any of the other Psalms i have walked through before now, click here]

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