Do you think you are living life to the full? How do we determine what factors contribute to us living a ‘full’ life? According to an article in the Daily Mirror, there are 50 steps to happiness. A spokesman for the research stated that the experiences we have and our achievements make us more happy than material possessions – and that is what living life to the fullest is all about. Let’s have a look at this list (go ahead and see how many you have done…):
50 steps to happiness
1. Stop worrying about money
2. Stop worrying about what other people think
3. Take two holidays a year
4. Enjoy little comforts in life
5. Experience different cultures
6. Work to live rather than live to work
7. Pay off all debts
8. Be true to yourself
9. Concentrate on what you have instead of what you don’t have
10. Use money on experiences rather than saving for a rainy day
11. Make time for family and friends
12. Try all types of food
13. Find true love
14. Travel to at least 25 different foreign countries
15. Go outside more
16. Learn a new language
17. Be well thought of by family and friends
18. Help a member of your family out when they really need it
19. Lose a stone in weight
20. Treat each day like it’s your last
21. Visit all of Britain’s historical landmarks
22. Book an impulsive last minute holiday
23. Volunteer for a good cause
24. Take up a challenge
25. Go on safari
26. Blow a load of money in one shopping trip, just because you can
27. Learn a new instrument
28. Be married for longer than 20 years
29. Have enough money left for the grandchildren to enjoy
30. Start a family
31. Earn more than your age
32. Have a pet
33. Drive a really fast car
34. Travel alone
35. Be able to keep the kids on the straight and narrow
36. Meet strangers
37. Move away from home to an unfamiliar place
38. Have a one night stand
39. Pass your driving test
40. Get a degree
41. Rescue someone so that you’re a hero for a little while
42. Date someone exciting but completely wrong for you
43. Get a promotion
44. Reach the desired career peak by age 40
45. Have an all-night drinking session
46. Perform something on stage in front of others
47. Snog a stranger
48. Plan a surprise party
49. Embark on adrenaline packed activities such as sky diving or bungee jumping
50. Spend time with children even if they aren’t yours
I don’t know about you, but I scrolled through this list and thought – these are steps to happiness? There are some that I think could result in free lift to a downward spiral. I wrote about happiness not so long ago – and you can read it here: Clap Along Because I’m Happy
The reason I wanted to write about the idea of living life to the full is because I am studying Genesis at the moment and came across something I had overlooked before. For those that are not familiar with Genesis Chapter 5, it is one of those sections in the bible that often frustrates or bewilders readers because it is a historical genealogy. This particular genealogy is of Adam’s family line up until Noah. Unless you are interested in researching your family tree or have patience to read through what feels like endless names and ages, the temptation is to skip over it. Guilty as charged. I have done this often.
I am going through the NIV bible with the help of Alister McGrath’s NIV Bible Handbook which is helpful and it encourages me to read the bits of the bible that I struggle with. If I did not pay attention I would have missed something pretty special. That is one of the many reasons why I love the bible. You can come back to it time and time again and there is always more to breathe in, understand and enjoy. Some of the people mentioned in Genesis 5 are described as simply having ‘lived’.
Then we come to Enoch.
…Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.
Alister McGrath notes that there is a clear distinction between living at the biological level and living for God. Enoch was the only one mentioned who walked faithfully with God.
The Daily Mail focuses on ‘biological living’. It lists things that we ‘do’ in this life that satisfies our flesh. We are living. As long as we are on this earth with a beating heart and air in our lungs, we are alive. Some may feel that they are not living if they cannot tick all of the random ideas above. We are alive, but are we fully living?
Simply Living or Walking Faithfully?
How can we be fully living? Do we want to be remembered as having simply ‘lived’? That is why so many of us feel we need to search for the meaning of life or at least live our own, individual life as fully as possible (and that might include achieving some of the stuff on the list above).
The truth is our life is precious. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. But if we want to live life to the full, we need to realise that the biological life is only a part of it. There is more to you and me. There is a soul-searching part of all of us that we either try to suppress, fill with stuff/ideas that will never fully satisfy, or we realise that there is deep connection with the God who made us, who loves us and who is there for us and interested in every aspect in our lives.
Hypothetically, let’s say you did have a one night stand because you started snogging a stranger in a nightclub because you had that all-night drinking session. Well you ticked three of those things off the list above all in one night. Well done?!? How would you feel if I now said that God loves you in that very moment? He knew you would make those choices and you will always have that freedom to choose. To choose to continue in that false sense of happiness or to choose to receive the good news that He loves you right now, even if you don’t believe in Him. He still loves you because He is love. That is who He is.
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (1 John 4:16)
What does the living God offer that nothing else can? God offers forgiveness and love to ALL people through Jesus Christ. Every single person. No one is excluded. All are included. ALL people. He does not discriminate. His people sin all the time and because we sin, we make mistakes and we may be the ones to discriminate. We should also lead the example and repent for the times we have discriminated against others. But the Lord does not discriminate. He does want us to repent for the times we try and live a life without Him – and that does not mean that once we repent we lead a perfect life. If it was possible for us to lead a perfect life, we would not need the forgiveness made freely available to us all through Christ. But with the help of God, we can start to walk faithfully with Him when we trust that He is faithful to lead us.
Are you going to simply live? Or are you going to walk faithfully with God? If you walk with the Lord, your life will be complete and restored in His unfailing love for you.