Go Live The Common Life
My friend Marc recently reminded me that a helpful teaching technique is to compare and contrast.
You can Go Live The Good Life or you can Go Live the Common Life. – The Common Life being the life that people commonly live in North America.
The 3 Good Life Elements (www.goodlifeelements.com) are Enjoy Life, Purse Wholerness, and Make a Difference.
Here are the 3 Common Life Elements-
#1 Pursue Pleasure,
#2 Endure Brokenness,
#3 Overlook Suffering or Serve Scraps
Pursue Pleasure –
Dictionary.com has a number of definitions for the word “pleasure.” In this context, the definition that fits best involves pleasure being a distraction.
I have a friend whom I first met in Olympia, WA, and then later we both ended up living in MN. This friend of mine has spent quite a bit of professional time working with nurses, and it was her observation that the nurses she had worked with would often inappropriately use something (alcohol, legal drugs, shopping, eating, etc.) to “self medicate” and alleviate some of the pain in their lives.
As my friend reflected on this observation, she came to observe this behavior in lots of the people she knew, not just nurses. This observation was shared with me and it really resonated with me.
I have come to see that people often Pursue Pleasure as a way to self medicate and alleviate some of the pain in their lives.
It’s one thing to Enjoy Life and because you Enjoy Life, regulary engage in activities that are fun (at least to you), activities that not only are fun, but that also feed and nurture the soul that you are, activities that restore you and replenish you.
It is quite another to regularly engage in activities that to you are fun, but that also help you endure the pain in your life.
I have observed that people who do not enjoy life often pursue pleasure as a way to endure the brokenness in their lives.
That leads to the second Common Life Element-
Rather than Pursue Wholerness, people often simply endure the Brokenness that is present in their lives. In fact, some people go so far as to actually deny the presence of brokenness in their lives. I know one individual who was visibly, considerably overweight, who told a group of men that there was nothing going on in his life that would cause him to need to pursue wholerness in any area, including the area of Physical Fitness.
I recommend that people pursue wholerness in 7 specific Life Trajectory Factors. To learn more about these factors, go to www.lifetrajectoryfactors.com.
When a person endures brokenness and does not pursue wholerness, they often pursue pleasure as a way to simply stay sane. Sadly, people in this kind of cycle sometimes end end up with unhealthy dependencies, or even addictions.
Overlook Suffering or Serve Scraps
Instead of serving and making a difference in the lives of other people, it is sadly common for people to often simply overlook the suffering of others. Those people rarely serve others and miss out on the life giving experience that is making a difference.
Some people, however, were raised with a sensitivity to serving others, and because serving others is part of their story, they do what they can. However, sometimes the result is that rather than making the difference they could make, they end up serving scraps. Often when people set out to make a difference, they serve from a well that is almost empty and serving often leaves them feeling drained.
People who serve scraps also often miss out on the life giving experience that is making a difference.
If you really want to make a difference, it is helpful to Enjoy Life and have the habit of Pursuing Wholerness. When both of those Good Life Elements are present in your life, you become equipped to serve out of the overflow of your life.
You are going to Go Live The Common Life or Go Live The Good Life.
The choice is yours.
Good Life Sage.
Good post Steven!
Several years ago when Jennifer and I were in SW Michigan, we had a woman in our small group who was just this side of being homeless. She was schizophrenic and very broken. She’d lived a tragic life.
Interestingly, one day we realized, that although we “loved” her, we were just feeding her our scraps. We hadn’t really learned to love her – we were just tolerating her and showing some mercy. Since that time, we’ve been on a quest to truly love others, “as we love ourselves.”
Easier said than done – but morally, it’s the only thing we can do. And selfishly, we continue to be blessed.
Gary, Great comments! In my journey, I had to grow quite a bit to even begin to love myself or even know what that means. I have found that the healthier I treat myself, the healthier I can treat others. You are so right, simply tolerating someone and somewhat kind to them, is definitely not the same as loving them! Oh, but it can tough to love those EGR (Extra Grace Required) People, tough, but worth it! Great to hear from you!