The Good Life -- that’s what we all want. Yet sometimes the Martyred Life feels like the only way to be spiritually obedient. Is that what God really expects of us?
“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
Righteousness, mercy and humility are God’s expectations. Our Lord always wants what is best for us, and when we follow His way of living, we are creating our best life – a life we love.
So what do we love about life right now? Do we have a ‘love/hate relationship’ with our own lives? Let’s find out.
1. Make a List
Draw four columns titled: ‘Love’, ‘Like’, ‘Dislike’, and ‘Hate’.
Fill in the columns with aspects of life including relationships, spirituality, career, home, health, finances, etc.
Identify specifics – for example, why exactly is that job hated? Commute, coworkers, company ethics, compensation?
2. Make a Plan
Count those blessings for what’s to ‘Love’. Appreciate those loves with gusto!
Evaluate major aspects of life that show up in the ‘Hate’ column, such as health, faith, family, marriage, job, or finances. Take serious steps to see a doctor, seek God, set boundaries with meddling family, visit a marriage counselor, find a new job, get financial advice or do whatever it takes.
Prioritize what makes the biggest impact on loving life and start there, one step at a time.
Identify options with priorities in mind.
Job flexibility vs. salary and benefits
Establishing boundaries vs. resenting demands
Time with spouse vs. household chores
Replacing old car vs. getting out of debt
Think of creative solutions to alleviate minor irritations that add up and can wreak havoc on attitude. Cleaning the toilet may never hit the ‘Like’ list, but there are options:
Hire a maid, teenaged neighbor, or offspring.
Barter with a friend or neighbor for a task they need.
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 a fancy toilet brush and sweet smelling, natural cleaners to make the job more enjoyable (less despicable?)
3. Make Minor Adjustments
Decide to make changes. Just making a decision offers HOPE with light at the end of the tunnel.
Sacrifice small things to gain big things. Give up weekday fast food to afford a weekend dinner out. Accept spouse’s online/sports/shopping time if he/she spends couple time doing something mutually enjoyable.
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. Do something special for an emotionally distant loved one – call, send a gift, write a letter.
Simplify! Minimize expenses, pay off debt, cut food costs, avoid unnecessary spending, and find creative alternatives. Hire or barter help for lawn care, house cleaning, or laundry. Clean out closets/garage/attic and sell items for cash.
4. Make Major Changes
Sometimes you gotta bite the bullet.
Here it gets personal. I love my employer, my coworkers, and our cause. I've learned so much and am assured that I've been where God led me. But I'm a creative free spirit who’s spent many years in a 9-5 job in addition to writing. Now that I’m also building a nonprofit, I’m feeling overwhelmed and overworked. (Did I say simplify?)
I love helping others, and I also love writing. The photo is my writing chair - right beside a bright window. To create a life I love, which makes the best use of my God-given talents, it was time to resign from my job. I made a plan that inspired this post.
Plan ahead. My husband and I created a safety net by saving my paychecks for several months before I resigned. Not only did we stop relying on that income, we also increased savings to provide margin in leaner months to come. We cut our expenses too. Bye bye cable TV, hello library DVDs!
Follow your heart. 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. The stars might not be perfectly aligned, but God’s spirit within you says, ‘It’s time.’ For me, a colleague moving out of our department prompted me to alert my employer of my intentions. My imminent resignation would drastically influence hiring the best replacement. I’d planned to wait and see how the ‘saving my paycheck’ thing went, but God’s spirit led me that speaking up was the right thing to do.
So I bit the bullet. I gave notice – lots of notice – to leave at the end of summer. I have a few weeks left, but as soon as the decision was final, a burden lifted from my shoulders. This time of struggling would soon be over. Freedom, creativity, and new possibilities would be mine! (Along with the responsibility of replacing my income through creative endeavors – but let’s not crash the adrenalin rush just yet.)
Be encouraged! Our awesome God has a perfect plan for each one of us. To fulfill that purpose, following His path requires directional adjustments at distinct points in time. Noah built an ark, Moses left Egypt, and Ruth followed Naomi.
What big changes will lead to God’s promised land for 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.”
A portion of all book proceeds benefit SOUL - SanctuaryOfUnbornLife.
Find my books at www.diannemiley.com and Amazon.com.