4 Steps to a Life You Love
"The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life." Job 33:4 ESV
You want the good life. And that's what God wants for you too. Yet sometimes a martyred life feels like the only way to be spiritually obedient. Is that what God really expects?
“No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8
How do you walk humbly with God to create a life that you love?
1. Make a List
CONSIDER life aspects such as relationships, spirituality, career, home, health, finances. etc.
CREATE 3 columns for LOVE IT, IT'S OKAY, and NOT SO MUCH. (Hate is such a strong word!)
FILL IN life aspects in the column they best fit.
DETERMINE which life aspects are currently GLORIFYING GOD. Does God's glory coincide with aspects you love? Why or why not?
RECOGNIZE that anything not honoring to God will always create turmoil in your life.
2. Make a Plan
PRAISE GOD for blessings in the LOVE column. Appreciate them with gusto!
PRAY FOR GUIDANCE on changes needed to better glorify God with your life.
IDENTIFY SPECIFICS. For Example: Why is your job under NOT SO MUCH? Commute, coworkers, company ethics, compensation? Inflexibility, boring, unfulfilling? Long hours or too much time away from family? Immoral practices?
EVALUATE NEEDED CHANGES. Do you need to seek God, see a doctor or counselor, set boundaries, simplify, hire help, find a new job, or get financial advice?
PRIORITIZE what will make the biggest impact and start there, one step at a time.
DECIDE TO CHANGE. A decision offers HOPE with light at the end of the tunnel.
3. Make Minor Adjustments
BRAINSTORM OPTIONS. Think of creative solutions to alleviate minor annoyances. Hire or barter for lawn care, house cleaning, or laundry. Delegate to a family member who hates the job less. Share the job to only have to do it half of the time. Invest in sweet smelling, natural cleaners to make the job more enjoyable (less despicable?).
TAKE BABY STEPS. Can’t afford a counselor? Talk to a trusted pastor. Spouse won’t go? Attend alone. Unable to land a new job? Change departments, work from home, or minimize hours. Need more income? Work extra hours, get a fun part time job, or turn a hobby into a business.
STREAMLINE. Adopt an evening routine to allow time for cooking a healthy dinner or reading stories with your kids or spending time with the Lord.
SIMPLIFY. Minimize expenses, pay off debt, cut food costs, avoid unnecessary spending, allow margin in your schedule. Clean out closets/garage/attic and sell items for cash, donate, or trash. (Did you catch the little rhyme?)
SACRIFICE small things to gain big things. Give up weekday fast food to afford a weekend dinner out. Forego late night TV to spend time in prayer, or skip the snooze button to allow 10 minutes in God's word.
4. Make Major Changes
PLAN AHEAD. Want to leave your job? Create a safety net by saving paychecks for several months before resigning. You will stop relying on that income, and also create savings to provide margin in lean months to come. Need to buy a bigger house? Start setting aside the bigger payment. Cut expenses as well. Goodbye cable TV, hello library DVDs!
WAIT ON GOD. Pray, study God’s Word, and listen for His leading – and His timing. When everything in you is ready to take the leap, but everything you’re hearing (from God’s Word, trusted friends, and the rational side of your brain) tells you the timing’s not right, resist the temptation to jump the gun. Wait until you feel God’s peace. Although major changes are still scary, when it’s right, you’ll know.
TAKE A LEAP OF FAITH. A catalyst such as a sickness, pregnancy, or change of circumstances may prompt you that it's time to bite the bullet. The stars might not be perfectly aligned, but God’s spirit within you says, ‘It’s time.’
Our awesome God created you for a purpose, and He has a perfect plan for you. His purpose always brings glory to Him while bringing fulfillment to you. Following His path requires prayer for direction and Bible study for guidance.
But be cautious...
While you can make positive changes, and God does hold you responsible for your decisions, you are not the author of your life. You cannot see or control the future.
When you love this life more than you love God, and when you decide to follow your own way, rather than God's way, you will lose your joy and love for life. Life on this earth will always have trials and difficulties that God uses to train and strengthen you.
That's because Your Loving Father always wants what is best for you, and ONLY HE KNOWS WHAT'S BEST FOR YOU. You may think you know better than God, but mere mortals do not have that knowledge.
Only when you submit to God's ways, when you honor God with your life and resources, will you enjoy a life you love.
God's blessings to you,
“What does the Lord your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the Lord your God, and live in a way that pleases him, and love him and serve him with all your heart and soul.” Deuteronomy 10:12
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