11 Ways to Live Fulfilled
I recall my first encounter with a cell phone. In fact, I’m not sure it was called a cell phone. It was a portable analogue phone. I was working for a small furniture store at the time, and there was an analogue phone in the delivery truck for drivers to use in case of an emergency. It was kept in a large leather bag that was roughly the size of a large briefcase. I’m not joking. It was enormous, heavy, and awkward. My cousin later got her first cell phone. It was large and had few features by today’s standards. I had no idea she owned one. We were both standing at the grocery store checkout counter when we both heard a strange noise for several minutes. A customer behind us, not knowing what it was, tapped my cousin on the shoulder and said, “Miss, I think your purse is ringing!”
Cell phones, like all modern technology, have come a long way in the last 20 years. We no longer need to wait until we get home to call a friend for a quick girl talk. We can do that while driving to our next destination. We no longer connect to the internet with a 20-minute dialup process, hoping to get some use in before being disconnected. Cars are faster and almost self-driving. Computers can now fit in our pockets. Encyclopedias are a thing of the past, and we now have instant access to almost any aspect of any topic we could ever want to know. Thanks to social media, we no longer lose touch with childhood friends. The list of modern-day advances that make our lives easier is seemingly endless. And I’m grateful for them all because they’ve enriched my life and ministry.
But, in an age when technology allows us to access almost anything in seconds to make life easier, we have gradually stopped living. Have you recently eaten in a restaurant and taken a look around the room? It’s sad to see how many customers are buried in their phones, endlessly scrolling through status updates of other people’s lives while completely ignoring the guest they’re dining with. We’ve become so obsessed with having “followers” on social media that we’ve stopped making friends. We’ve turned into walking zombies, glued to our phones and obsessed with perfecting the next update for the rest of the world to read.
We don’t value the art of conversation, the joy of the sun shining on our faces on a beautiful spring day, or the freedom of skipping with our children. We frequently find ourselves unable to put down technology for fear of missing something important. Meanwhile, we are missing life. There is always a new project, whether it is for the ministry, work, or school. There is always something to be done. We’ve lost touch with our true selves, the meaning of life, and the art of simply existing.
Living means giving that homeless man a hot meal. Looking a friend in the eyes while they share their heart and soul. It is holding a loved one’s hand. A fresh breeze on your face while walking around the neighbourhood is enjoyable. When your children laugh, you are laughing. Grace, joy, forgiveness, and tears are all part of the art of living. It is a combination of feeling and action. It is taking a break. It is being completely present in the present moment. Knowing the depth of a Heavenly Father’s love for you is knowing the depth of his love for you. And the best way to honour that Father is to live each day fully immersed in the glory of his honour and name.
And I’m here to help you (and me) embrace life and live it to the fullest every day. To get you started, here’s a short list:
- Put down technology for a set amount of time every day. Also, plan extended periods of time away from technology.
- Make a regular fast from social media.
- Refrain from using social media while eating with friends or conversing with others.
- Establish clear work boundaries, including when you will take calls and respond to emails.
- Make it a point to get outside on a regular basis, and leave the phone at home.
- Instead of watching TV or using your phone, play board games or read a book.
- Commit to having one genuine conversation with a friend, neighbour, family member, or stranger in the supermarket every day.
- Make a family bucket list and check it off!
- Write and send a letter to 5 people who have had a significant impact on your life.
- Spend daily time with the Lord. This could be a quiet time in the morning or before bed; whatever works best for you, stick to it.
- Form a tribe
What other examples can you think of?
I’ve recently spent a lot of time thinking about living. Perhaps it’s because I’m approaching a significant birthday. Perhaps it’s because my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and extended family are all gone. Perhaps it’s because a growing number of my friends have recently been diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses. Whatever the reason, I’m considering it. And I hope I’ve inspired you to think about living. But, more importantly, I hope I have inspired you to live!