I have been following the thrive UMC facebook page and really am inspired by what this young church is doing. I thought this blog of theirs was worth sharing.
5 Things That Are Wrong With Your Life And How To Fix Them
1. You’re looking for ‘answers’ on the internet.I know, I know: you only clicked on the link because you were curious to see what form of idiocy would bear such an outrageous claim. And I’ll admit -I exaggerated a bit. I can’t offer anything to ‘fix’ you, or even insights to help you fix yourself. It’s not really a lie, per se; it’s just internet lingo: where you get promised something new and exciting, but the reward is a poorly-written article about stuff you already knew, and pictures already trending on the net. This is the lesson of Buzzfeed. But let’s face it: nothing on the internet is going to help you on big-picture issues, or make your life any better. It will only pass the time, which you could either call ‘fun’, or maybe it’s the squandering of the greatest thing you have.
So go outside and enjoy nature; or have a conversation with someone. Or just take a few moments to sit in the quiet –it actually feels really nice. Say ‘thank you’ for any encounter you may have with beauty, compassion, or goodness.
2. You imagine being ‘right’ matters.
As we were growing up, it was always important to be right –especially in school. There is only one acceptable response for problems like: ‘2+2=___'; or ‘The United States Declaration of Independence was signed on _____,___ 1776.’ But as we become more mature, we discover that ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ don’t apply as readily, to as many things, as they did in our childhood. Is there actually anything wrong with your life? Is there even a ‘right’ way to live? How do we know? I highly doubt there is a one-size-fits all life-style model for every single dramatically unique human being.
The truth about ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ is that they are often terms of control and power. If I can establish myself and my views as ‘right’ it means I am smarter, better informed, more trustworthy, etc. (at least in my own head). But striving to be right (‘righteous’) rarely encourages the trust or friendship of others.
Rather, if you’re trying to build relationships, it’s better to be open: listen to others, share their struggles, and build them up where they are. Another name for that practice is ‘compassion.’
3. You’re afraid of tough questions- especially those questions that challenge your values and your sense of who you are.
Learning is fun. Discovery is exciting. Learning and discovery are practices at the center of an enriching life. Yet, those things don’t happen if we don’t question, seek, doubt and challenge -which all also feel dangerous. What if we don’t find the answers? What if our discoveries disrupt our grip on reality, or destroy our values? Thus growing feels like something scary, since it involves an encounter with the unknown. So instead we try to stay safe. We establish routines; and avoid venues where we might encounter uncertainty, which directly challenges the newness and sense of renewal in our daily lives. Because we’re scared, we make our lives smaller.
Instead, seek a bigger life. Engage in dialogue with people you don’t understand with the goal of being enriched. Break out of your tiny, homogenous community that you’ve jailed yourself up in. And have new experiences.
4. You pretend you’re okay.
You’re not. You’re going to die. You’re dying already, since you haven’t fully matured in your approach to how to live fully –in all sorts of ways you may not even be aware of. You’re anxious; you’re depressed -and these are anticipations of what’s to come. Everything you value in life is threatened by this one single bit of knowledge: that what you do, and who you are, will come to an end. This single anticipation effects us constantly, in dozens of ways, on a daily basis. And most of the time we’re hardly aware of the effect it has on us.
But the good news is that you’re not alone. This is a central part of the human experience; and it’s a big part of what keeps us together. And the knowledge that this life doesn’t last for ever can help us to treasure it, if we’re fully engaged in what it has to offer –and aware of what we can offer in return.
5. You don’t have enough people you trust, and who trust you.
Because we aren’t open with our values; and because we’ve set the habits of our lives to isolate ourselves from the things that challenge us and our sense of who we are; and because our fear too often prompts us to approach one another in a spirit of competition rather than cooperation, we’ve inadvertently set limits on ourselves and the influence that we could share with others –and the help and support we could receive from others. One thousand friends on Facebook won’t keep you from being alone. Sitting high on the corporate totem pole only sets us up to receive the gift of thrown stones.
Only by being open about our needs, and ready to greet and receive others with compassion and urgency will we be freed to gain a rich sense of the life, and create a powerful sense of meaning, for which we were created.