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Live Intentionally, Die Empty

Tag Archives: life

“So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times. Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants. Don’t drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of Him.” – Ephesians 5:15-17 MSG

In the not too distant past, I would complain about how little time that I had. There were seemingly constant demands on my time and while I got to do fun and interesting things once or twice a week, I still complained about there not being more to it. One day it finally occurred to me that this is what life is all about – and it’s good! I resolved that I would quit hiding away because frankly… life is in the living of it! Since I had that “epiphany of sorts” I have been really excited about my life, family, friends and each day.

I got caught into the trap of thinking that “it’s gotta be better than this.” and I think lots of us get that idea without any real basis of why we even think that way. It sometimes (“sometimes” is an understatement probably) seems that we are looking for something that will amplify or hype up our lives in some way – not realizing that what we are living more times than not is pretty good. It is in fact, life. The general population’s approach to life reminds me of the scripture above. I won’t really get into the conversation of “drinking” but it does bring up an interesting point in my mind particularly regarding people who drink and why – even casually. Stay with me and I’ll loop it all together.

I would go out on a limb and say that there are very few people who actually drink because they enjoy the taste of alcohol. There may be some wines or other drinks that can arguably be considered tasty, but I would venture to say that the taste doesn’t necessarily make people want to reach for it like it’s a glass of Kool-Aid. Lots of times for the flavored drinks, they would taste better without the alcohol. So in my mind drinking is really a means to an end. It’s chasing a feeling. That might be a tough thing to admit for some, but it’s true.

“I need a drink” is not an uncommon mantra for those who’ve had a rough day. Why? Because it’s chasing a feeling that the drink brings of escaping from stress thru little inhibition or relaxation. It’s sometimes “liquid courage” when reaching for more guts to do something feared. People turn to drinks before (and while) going out to party and have a good time because of the euphoric feeling it brings and even the alibi for excuse the next day when doing something out of the ordinary. And perhaps way too common is having to be “tipsy” for sex or to get in the mood. All of these are examples of buying into havng to have the heightened state to enjoy life.

This same concept applies to every area of our lives, beyond alcohol. We are looking for some heightened form of what life should be from everywhere without really understanding what life is supposed to be like. We look for it with drama in relationships because we think if there’s no drama then something must be wrong. We’re always looking for the next best job, when at the moment the one we have is good. Married people checking outside their marriage comparing what someone else told them it should be. It’s like the scripture above – where there is no revelation of life, the option is “turning to wine.” It’s turning to an alternative substance to generate what you’re after.

Because we lack revelation of what life is supposed to deliver to us. We always assume there is something more to it. And maybe there’s nothing more to it except the lie that there’s something more to it. We become “feeling/exhiliration addicts.” Things have to be on “TEN” to feel like we enjoy life. It creates such discontent the more we pursue the “intoxicants” of the world the less fulfillment we get out of life. We never check it to do life God’s way or even enjoy and make the most of every opportunity we have.

Stop “drinking the wine.” Stop believing that just because we have access to the choices of the world’s wine that you have to partake. The world says “There’s something you’re missing that will make it better.” The world is deceiving you to a point of depression when you can’t the fulfillment you seek in the wrong place.

Wine tries to make what God created better but it’s a simulated intoxicated version. We tend to exalt the intoxicated version and try to put it above what God created. And that leads us to living the intoxicated life. We think that our situations are an exception so we have a right to search for an alternative. But here’s news for you, most of the problems in our life exist in the realm of normal. And you’ve fallen for the okie-doke thinking otherwise.

Embrace Life as it is. Get High on Life, the one you have. Life is Enjoyed in the Living of It.


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glass half full

It bothers me sometimes when I ask the same person how things are going and they always answer, “ehh, it’s okay” or how was the food or the movie, and they answer, “ehh, it was alright”

That’s not glass half empty or glass half full. I’m not even sure where that is supposed to be classified when EVERYTHING is mediocre. I would almost rather you tell me life is miserable. (Well that’s not true.)

Here is my advice for the everything is always “just ok” person:

Davidism #25 –  Add more water to your own glass: I’m not sure why if you are an “everything is just ok all the time person” why you feel like life can’t be better than a 5 out of 10 some of the time. Do you think it will offend someone if you say you are feeling better than yesterday or if the meal was better than average? Listen, since the glass is so undecidedly ambiguous to you – add some water to your own glass by counting your blessings. Really take the time to consider what is really good to get the water level to rise to the top. Now the glass is a little more than half full… and feel free to say so.

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I take tons of notes. Tons! I have notebooks full of notes everywhere and sometimes my wife gets a little frustrated with me because I tend to have post-it notes everywhere with little things that come to mind that I am processing or plan to do at a later time. (This is why she let me get a BlackBerry phone so that I could keep that stuff centralized… but I digress.)

While flipping through an old notebook I ran across some old notes I had taken (from I don’t know where) and it was titled 10 Questions to Uncover Your Destiny… I thought I’d share them with you:

10 Questions to Uncover Your Destiny:

1. What’s the deepest desire of your heart?: Desires are the God-given capacity placed in you to fulfill your destiny. Separate heart-felt desires from passing thoughts. Pay attention to that thing that won’t go away.

2. What stirs your passion? What gives you zeal, fire, excitement, intensity. Passion stirs us to action. Ask yourself, what makes you the most upset? What makes you care to the point of anger.

3. What flows naturally out of you?:  Your course of destiny will feel natural. If just flows. If the shoe fits…wear it! It’s something that is easy for you, but complex for others

4. Where do you produce good results?:

5. What is the witness within yourself?

6. What do mature counselors see in you?

7. What career do you feel God’s peace about pursuing?

8. What thoughts, visions, dream, are impossible to put out of your mind?

9. To what can you give 100% of yourself for your entire life?: Whatever God planned for you will use all your strength, gifts, talen and emotions. He did not give you abilities only to ignore them.

10. What do people want to gather around and help you accomplish?: People can sense destiny and they like to get involved.

Note this: You don’t CHOOSE your destiny… you DISCOVER it!

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This weekend I realized that most people live what I call a “surgeon general’s warning label life,” including me in some areas. And frankly it’s quite sad because the outcome from living this way is bound to be disappointment and surprise. (And not the good kind.)

On the side of every cigarette carton there is a warning to those smokers and this is what it says:

“SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: Smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, and may complicate pregnancy. Quitting smoking now greatly reduces serious risks to your health. Smoking by pregnant women may result in fetal injury, premature birth, and low birth weight. Cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide”

This is written on EVERY carton or pack of cigarettes. In fact, I checked the labeling requirements law (US CODE: Title 15,1333) and by law this warning must be displayed on every package, advertisement and billboard. Additionally it must be printed in a conspicuous place so that the message is not lost. However, even with ALL these warning and flags to NOT to a thing, millions of people choose to purchase cigarettes.

So here is what I mean by Surgeon General Warning Life: If I were to go up to a smoker and ask them, “Do you know that these cigarettes can kill you?” Their answer will be “yes” probably 100% of the time. Yet, with that knowledge they proceed to pay a very expensive price for something that is designed to harm them. Why is that? What I can gather is that “KNOWING” something is harmful for your life is different from “BELIEVING” the consequence will happen to you. So essentially what they are saying is. “I know that I can die from this, but I don’t really believe that it will happen to me.” That is until the day that they wake up and are speaking out of a hole in their neck.

And this is how I see that many of us live life. We are making bad decisions and lifestyle habits that we know are destructive to our lives in some way or another. It can be a decision to hang on to a certain job, relationship, continuing in destructive permiscuous lifestyle, and a host of other things. I recently found out that a friend of mine who had just had a girlfriend get pregnant last year became an instant father of three within a few days of each child. Well after he got the first girl pregnant a year ago, he was saying that he was definately going to be careful next time. Sometimes there is no next times. And we don’t consider that. Think about what we tell teenagers and young adults about the consequences of sex. Pregnancies, diseases… yet, with the knowledge they have (and even seeing others suffer with the consequences) it doesn’t deter them.

I’ve learned that fear only motivates for a little while, experiencing the guilt or consequences is short lived, and someone sharing their story of what happened to them only produces sympathy but not a self-desire to get it right. The only things that will stop us from living a surgeon general warning life is a quality decision to change and choosing someone to hold us accountable for that decision.

There are a couple lessons that the surgeon general warning label can teach us:

1.“Smoking causes lung cancer, etc.”: The destructive decision and pattern that you have chosen for your life is leading to a path of harm, not potential harm, but certain (sometimes irreversible) harm. And will no doubt complicate your life. In fact you are already experiencing the complication despite the pleasure.

2. “Quitting Smoking Now Greatly Reduces Serious Risks”: The sooner you make a quality decision to change and stop the destructive decision and habit to less severe the consequences. You may even get out before it seriously complicates or destroys your life.

3. “Smoking by Pregnant Women May Lead to Fetal Injury”: Whatever plans that you have conceived in your heart, you may cause to abort or be skewed upon it’s birth due to your lack of sound judgement. You may be taking yourself off the course to give birth to your dreams. You’ll wake up and the life that you wanted to produce will be something you’ll have to struggle to nurse back to proper health.

4. “Cigarette Smoke Contains Carbon Monoxide”: What you are doing is poison. Not only for others but that second hand smoke affects others. Your decisions affect others besides you

Lastly, the price tag on cigarette is telling enough. It’s very expensive to make some of these decisions. You know what areas of your life have the surgeon general’s warning. It’s been plastered in a conspicuous place. It’s not hidden and all your friends, family and counselors have already told you of the dangers of your habits. Time for you to believe that the consequences CAN and probably WILL happen to you. Make the quality decision to change.

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I just watched a very powerful episode of Grey’s Anatomy with my wife where one of the main characters (a doctor) was suffering from an inoperable tumor. She (Izzy) for several episodes had been stuck between resigning to the tumor and fighting to live. She saw a woman she had become friends with go through over 10 surgical procedures only to crash and end up living like a vegetable. Izzy made up in her mind at that moment that if she was going to go on with the surgery it would be ONLY if it would be successful. She demanded that they let her sign a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) if the surgery was not to allow her to live. Unfortunately, after the surgery, there was complications and she crashed and going against the DNR order, all her doctor peers try to resuscitate her… to no avail.

There were many lessons to draw from that episode but as I get ready for bed tonight, it got me thinking about things that we may need to assign a DNR in our lives. We try to force things that may just need to die. Learn to know which things you need to keep pushing thru because there is a chance at its having a fruitful life and other things that you give a shot and realize it will never have a fruitful productive existence, and let it rest. Assign certain things a DNR. Try it, but let it die if it’s not right. Too many of us keep trying to force life into what’s lifeless. Resuscitating what needs to retire. And when we do this all we get is something that is a lifeless vegetable. It can’t even live on its own. DNR.

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