"Where There are Friends, There is Wealth"
- Plautas (3rd century)
One of my favorite statements Jesus makes shows his desire that we “have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10)
I am a man in pursuit of this full life. But what does that mean?
I feel like I am always trying to get somewhere and accomplish something. I am always striving to be a better version of me. Part of it is from within and part of it is from the culture around me driven toward an ever elusive place called “success.”
I live in the suburbs. The smell of success is all around me. People have lots of stuff. I have more stuff than I need. And yet somehow, paradoxically, it’s never enough, but that’s another story.
I am also surrounded by a driven culture. Now, perhaps more than any generation before, we have learned the art of squeezing productivity out of every spare minute, like blood from a turnip. Technology allows me to be in almost constant contact with everyone I know. I can even continue to answer emails from the restroom (so much for the rest).
I am constantly driving to get somewhere better, more excellent, more productive, more influential…more, or better, or different than what I have right now.
The problem with this way of operating is that my underlying assumption then, is that what I have is not enough. And what I am and who I am right now is not enough. And that is disconcerting.
My culture is not wrong, it just is what it is. In fact, there are many great things about learning habits for success, time management, and leadership in the culture that I live. I am very grateful for my background and experiences that have shaped me.
However, I want to be honest enough to question some of the cultural fibers that have somehow woven their way into my life, which affect me every day of my life, without my realizing it.
I have begun to wonder, what I am missing out on as I rush through life. I am questioning that driven nature, to get to somewhere better than where I am right now.
I feel like figuring this one out is like finding the holy grail, or unlocking one of the great secrets of life. Perhaps it’s the key to living life to the full?
To learn to be fully right where I am in each moment, without trying to get somewhere else or be different than I am right now.
It strikes me that my cultural background leans heavily toward doing, rather than being. What would it mean for me to be right where I am in each moment of even one whole day?
Wow, that seems powerful, and intense, yet peaceful and joyous. Even simple.
Although I am still honing in on the best way to describe this, I am always trying to practice this way of going about my life. My new assumption I am adopting is this:
That I have all I need in this moment, and I can only be in this moment, so just be here, now and don’t try to get somewhere else.
So here are some things I do to practice this value and live my life to the full:
These ideas are not 5 more things to add to your list, in order to get to some new enlightened existence that is supposedly better than what you have now. That would just be adding to the same strategy we all know too well.
It’s more about changing your focus, and noticing the opportunities all around you that are constantly inviting you in,
to laugh, and so on.
We simply don’t notice many of these invitations because we are so busy trying to get somewhere else.
So wherever you find yourself, and notice that you are more focussed on doing and accomplishing, take a little break and remember some of these ideas and tips above, and bring yourself back into this moment so you can be there for it.
I can promise you that you will enjoy your life more. Others will enjoy being with you more. And you will be investing in a life of relational wealth.
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Joel is a husband, father, musician, and lover of life; especially life that is shared with the wealth of amazing friends and family he is blessed to have near.