Technology gives a voice to the extremes. Have you been on Social Media lately? It can be scary.
Alt Right. Far Left. Anti-Hilary. Never Trump. Socialism is evil. Capitalism is evil.
Body positivity. Body shaming. Lad culture. Slut shaming. Carnivores murder animals. Vegans are whimps.
That show you like sucks. You favorite bands suck. You suck.
I’ll say again – Technology gives a voice to the extremes. Technology has created echo chambers for those extreme voices making them louder. So instead of creating a filter, people have been taught to speak your mind no matter how it affects others or how hurtful it might be.
But, Life isn’t a Reality Show. In order to grow, become a better person, we need to stop living in the extremes and converse with people who aren’t like you. Maybe even disagree with you.
Instead of hating on the person who has a different opinion than you, why not instead find out why they think that? Instead of thinking the opposition is the enemy, learn their story, find out about them as people.
You’d be surprised that even though we may try to act extreme, we have more in common with each other than not.
I have found myself relying on Him heavily since the beginning of the New Year. And even more so in the last few weeks. I don’t want to go into details, but I lately I found myself in a situation that is completely out of my control.
There is nothing else I can do at this moment it requires a giant leap of faith in people I know and more importantly in God. More than I have in a while I have found myself trusting in his… fill in the blank.
Trusting in His Word.
Trusting in His direction.
Trusting in His timing.
Trusting in His provision.
Trusting in HIM!
But why is it so hard? Why is it so scary to do this?
Even as a Christian. A self-proclaimed disciple and follower of Christ. Even I find it hard to let go and just trust Him.
…on human approval and acceptance until it’s taken from you.
But it’s a crippling addiction. And You don’t need it.
You’ll never be liked by everyone. But there are people who are on your side, don’t forget them, appreciate them.
I’m not the biggest fan of puzzles. If I do them myself, I take my time and follow the boring typical western way of doing in, slowly look at the pieces until I find the edge pieces. Then, even slower, start piecing together the middle until it’s done. And that is if I even finish the puzzle, because many times by then I get bored or I get frustrated because it’s difficult.
In addition, I can’t finish a puzzle unless I have the final picture to look at and work from.
But, when I do finish one, there is a giant sense of satisfaction that comes when you see the picture that you pieced together and knowing that you connected all those little parts to create one complete picture.
Sometimes though, I think about puzzles and how much like life they are. Think about it for a second. There are many things in our life that start out a jumbled mess and whether working alone with with others we start to piece everything together until it starts to look like what we want it to.
But unlike most puzzles, we don’t always know what the finish product will look like. We sometimes expect we should see the whole picture from the beginning. We expect this so much that often times we don’t even get started because of this.
It’s like we should know how every moment fits into when we first see it. But this handcuffs us. This stops us from even starting, and as a result we miss out on so much or we never piece together important moments in our life.
Life is like a puzzle, except with no finished picture to build from. That doesn’t mean we can’t start to piece together the puzzle that is our life without knowing what it looks like. That’s the joy in life, not knowing where everything leads. We don’t know what our life will look like when it’s finished, we don’t know how people and experiences fit together until it’s already past. And like a puzzle, sometimes the picture doesn’t start to become clear until we start fitting those pieces together – and not until then!
It would be like reading a mystery novel when you already know the answer, or watching a thriller film when we already know the twist, life isn’t meant to be enjoyed that way. You may not know what it is supposed to look like from the beginning, but that just means that the final picture can only be known when we put everything together.
So start fitting pieces together. Look back and make the connections, put them together and you’ll start to see the masterpiece of your life.
…is so that I might not sleepwalk through my entire life.”
– Zadie Smith
Despite being an extrovert, I can be a very introspective person. I love reflecting on my life and the people in my life. I keep a journal that I write in (at least weekly) for a couple of years now.
I also found out recently that writing these reflections down has actually been shown to have health benefits. It has proven to be very therapeutic in my life as I’ve been able to process some difficult emotions and also give me a chance to explore some of my thoughts that usually roam free in my mind.
But more than that, when I write, it gives me a chance to take a look back on my life and see how far I’ve come, how much I’ve grown, and how much I’ve been blessed in my life. It’s easy to just focus on the difficult parts of life, but when I look back on what I’ve written, I see that God has provided for me and taken care of me so much, and it would be easy to miss that if I never wrote anything down at all.
So as Zadie Smith says, “The very reason I write is so that I might not sleepwalk through my entire life.”
This is not a bucket list… I have one of those. This is a Life List. What is a life list then, you may ask?
Things we should do more than once. You don’t do these things then cross them out like a checklist. Things that will exponentially increase our joy and satisfaction in life. And the more we do them, the more and more they will add to our lives. Seriously, start doing some of these things, and see how much of a difference they make to your life.
1.) Laugh more. You can always laugh more!
2.) Preemptively say “I’m sorry.”
3.) Volunteer. give your time to something bigger than yourself. Help out a cause that you believe in.
4.) Put your phone down. Just put it down. Do you realize how much of life you are missing out on?
5.) Love unconditionally. You can start with a dog or a cat. But work your way to loving someone
6.) Watch less TV. Nothing is wrong with TV. But there is something wrong with parking yourself in front of one for hours on end.
7.) Play, like you did when you were a kid. Maybe play with a kid, your own, maybe with nieces or nephews, maybe with a friend’s kid.
8.) Extend grace to others. We all need a little grace at some point.
9.) Compliment someone else. You can make someone’s day
10.) Try something new
11.) Take photos. Don’t endless take selfies. Don’t let your camera be your only window to the world. But if you see something beautiful or amazing, soak it in then take a pic. Capture those moments so you don’t forget
12.) Tell someone “Thank you.” You didn’t get to this point on your own. Someone helped you, lead you, invested in you, thank them
13.) Find pleasure in the simple things. Not everything in life is big
14.) Give. And be generous about it.
15.) Get rid of stuff you don’t need. Because that is all it is stuff. You don’t need it as badly as you think, and more than likely most of it is something that doesn’t add anything valuable to your life
16.) Pursue your goals.
17.) Stop being so busy. That absolutely doesn’t mean don’t work hard and stop being productive. What that does mean is is you don’t always have to be doing something.
18.) Travel. You don’t have to travel the world or take several days off to reap these benefits. For most people there are so many amazing thing only hours from where they live, take a day trip somewhere you haven’t been.
19.) Be kind. There are no small acts of kindness. Every compassionate act enlarges the world.