Having seen many ‘top ten’ and ‘essential’ lists of things that we need for modern living on t’internet and elsewhere I felt that it was time that I gave you my advice. It is based on no empirical research.
1. Love more
2. Live more
3. Laugh more
You might be a bit disappointed by this list (or if you are a regular bloggist here you might be surprised it was that long!) so let me expand on it a bit.
1. Love more
Love is not something that exists in the abstract. It is not a theory. Love is an act of will that does not depend on the vagaries of emotion and hormones: it is constant, consistent and invincible. It only exists when there is somebody or something to love. Love is seen and experienced by the recipient rather than felt by the one giving it. Love, at its best, is not conditional: it does not need to be reciprocated (but it’s nice when it is). Love seeks the best for the other person: it is not best expressed in extravagant bunches of flowers but in ways that may go unnoticed and even unappreciated. The love I am writing about is not romantic love, sexual love, or even familial love – it is the love best seen at work in Jesus: compassion in action, willing to lay down your life, indomitable. Love more.
2. Live more
I have a feeling that so many of us live life in just three dimensions (or four dimensions if you add ‘time’). We only focus on the things we can touch and see and feel and sit on and drive and watch and type on and so on… But life is much, much more than physical objects. Have you ever had your breath taken away by a view, by a sunset, by a person? Have you ever ever been overwhelmed by love? Have you ever been captivated by a thought? Have you ever been inspired by a piece of music or a song? Have you ever had the feeling that there is more to life, that something is missing? None of those things can be touched or bought or fully comprehended – they are experienced because we are human and are created to experience so much more than just three or four dimensions. We are created for relationships so talk more – talk to those who matter to you, and to those who don’t. We are created with an appreciation of the awesome and the Awesome. We are created to bless and be blessed. We are created to inspire and be inspired. Lift your eyes up from three dimensional life and experience life as it is meant to be lived: live life in all its fullness (as Jesus suggested) including The Dimension that created us in the first place. Live more
3. Laugh more
Laughter is one of the greatest gifts we have. It can be misused and be cruel, mocking, thoughtless, even bullying. But it can also lift us – levity and levitation have the same root! Laughing is possible when we see or sense that something or someone (often ourselves) is just a little out of kilter, just a little incongruous, just a little bit… daft. Laughter is an impulse that helps us not to take ourselves more seriously than we ought. It is a release from stress and strain. It is a moment to look at life sideways and see that the things that dominate us are not as real or scary as they look from front on. It is a way of experiencing and expressing joy. It is infectious. It is physically good for us (releasing good chemicals within our brain and body). It is a gift we can share. It is a gift for humanity. It is a gift from Above. Laugh more.
These are my thoughts as I can distil them for you today. You will have noticed that there is nothing about money, nothing about possessions, nothing about sex or sexuality, nothing about politics, nothing about rules, nothing about obligations, nothing about self-improvement, not even much explicitly about God! But if we all lived like that, would the world be a better or worse place? And actually much of what I have splurged from my consciousness for you above is based on my experience as a follower of Jesus. I am able to do those things not merely because I choose to do them but because his Spirit releases the ability and desire within me.
Be blessed, be a blessing