LIFE. Life is a word that holds different meanings. For most people, it simply means that you have breath in your lungs and you are still on this rock orbiting the sun. Believe me, that is a good thing! However, life has other connotations as well. It also means that you have stuff going on. That you have loved ones, you have a job, extracurricular activities. It means that you have plans for the future.
Some people might look at their lack of all these things and say, “I have no life.” Simply meaning, “The things I have going on in my life, aren’t as good as the things most people have in theirs.” We all want to have a life.
When little boys and girls dream of being married, they dream of having a life. Maybe a handsome husband or a pretty wife that is sweet and kind to them. That picture they see in their heads probably includes a couple of kids. They dream of going on adventures together. Do you think they dream of ball games on Saturday mornings? How about having 4 kids, and they all have ball games on Saturday mornings?
Now throw in PTSA responsibilities at the school, and overtime at work. Oh yeah, let’s not forget the mortgage and insurance, how about school and ball team fundraisers, and birthday parties in the middle of a college football game on Saturday, arguments over who’s going to drive where? On and on and on it goes!!! Sorry, I know, I totally just ruined that kid’s picture of marriage.
This brings us to our other meaning of the word LIFE. It means that I have a life that is meaningful, rich, and fills me with breath in my lungs. No, I don’t mean the air in your lungs. I mean breath, passion, excitement, meaning. The sad truth is that we fill our lives so full that the stuff we fill our life with actually sucks the life right out of us. We look more like a clown juggling balls in a circus than we do someone full of life.
Who is putting this so-called life on our plates? Is it society? Does society tell us that we have to fulfill every expectation that is put upon a married couple living in the 2020s? Or, could it be that we are putting it on ourselves? Do we have a fear of missing out? Or maybe it’s a fear of being different. It could be a fear of letting other people down. Fear of saying, “NO, I’m sorry, we just can’t do that.” How does someone stand up to that? How do they develop that kind of moxie? An attitude and confidence that allows them to look at the world and say, “I’m sorry, you won’t tell us what we have to do?”
It starts with a question. It’s a question that we very seldom ask ourselves when it concerns our marriage or our family. Here’s it is. “What do I want my family to look like in 10 years?” We must begin with the end in mind, then work back from there and develop a plan. Develop a path that will lead us to that preferred future. That plan will need to have certain things in it. However, certain things will need to be intentionally left out. If we don’t have a vision for the future and a path for how to get there, we’ll follow whatever path we’re led to.
So go ahead. Ask the question. Then spend some time answering it. Then maybe you’ll find the courage to release the unnecessary things that weigh you down and rob you of the abundant life God desires for you to experience. It may take a lot of effort to bail all the water out of what seems like an overcrowded, sinking boat you’re stuck in. But when you’ve lightened your load you’ll be able to take in a deep breath and truly experience life!
Simplifying the Adventure,
Daniel & Bonnie