Is Your’s a Wonderful Life?

This Christmas we started a new tradition–watching the movie It’s a Wonderful Life. A classic.

I cried throughout. Despite the positive title, it revolves around situations, people, and events that keep George Bailey from the life he’s always dreamed of. And to top it off, a seemingly impossible crisis finds George a very desperate man.

Many people have been there, or will be some day. What makes life worth living? And how can we follow our dreams?

Here are two key factors:  God and being intentional.

I believe God makes life worth living because he gives me unconditional love, forgiveness, true freedom, purpose, and a hope for the future. And in turn, I can share those with others. Do we really have those things without God?

We can’t always plan how our lives are going to go. Look at George Bailey:  Nothing seemed to be turning out the way he wished, but he was a happy man in the end. At the same time, the dreams we have for our lives won’t happen unless we are intentional with how we live. For example, say you want to be a famous painter, but you spend every spare minute watching TV. A few years later, those hours watching TV haven’t brought you a single step closer to being that famous painter. (You might be able to tell I’ve been reading Quitter, by Jon Acuff)

So. New Year’s Day, I will be working my way through Michael Hyatt‘s Creating Your Personal Life Plan. That is my first step toward being intentional with my life.

What’s your plan for New Year’s Day….or your life?

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What is your Passion?

The last several months I have filled my “spare” time with things I love:  running, learning about leadership, working on nonfiction, spending time with family, friends, and my fur-babies. But something was missing.

I knew it was missing. But just like anything else…the longer I went without, the more I thought I was okay without it. I’m a relatively healthy person:  I exercise regularly, I eat healthier than the average American, I have a wonderful marriage, I’ve managed to get enough sleep. Still, I have repeatedly found myself feeling despondent.

This week my husband told me he knew why I struggled. He said it was because I no longer pursued my passion:  writing fiction. He went on about my imagination, stuff I’ve already written, how I put stories together. He inspired me, just enough, to start working on fiction again. And guess what! I LOVE it! I’ve worked on fiction a few nights this week and I can’t wait to do more!

Lesson learned:  No matter how many things you’re involved in, that you love, you must continue pursuing your passion to be truly happy.

I believe God designed us to have specific passions. And it is through those passions that he can accomplish his greatest work through us!

Writing by Sunset

Meaningless

I’ve mentioned in multiple posts how much I love to continually learn!

But the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know. The more I realize I don’t know, the more things I want to learn. The more things I want to learn, the more I realize it will be impossible for me to learn everything I want to before I die.

Eternal

Morbid? Disappointing? Silly?

It reminds me of Solomon, the wisest person to ever live or ever will live. He is know for describing different things as “a chasing after the wind”. See Ecclesiastes 2 for an example.

The reason it reminds me of Soloman is, when I start realizing I’ll barely scratch the surface on some of the things I’m passionate about, I wonder what the point is in continuing down that road? Why do I want to go down that road in the first place? Because it makes me happy? If our lives are but a mist, it almost seems a waste of time. So…what isn’t a waste of time?

What is the whole purpose of life?

What’s the point in what we do if it doesn’t affect things on an eternal level?

So, what is affected on an eternal level? The greatest calling:  to bring others to Christ, so they too might have eternal life through a relationship with God.

That doesn’t mean we have to go to the opposite side of the world and preach the gospel to people of a different language. (There are wonderful people who do that, and you may do that…) But there are an infinite number of ways to reach others on an eternal level.

Maybe that’s why people have so many different passions…so we can try out all those different infinite ways of reaching others.

How do you use your passion(s) to reach others?

Our Marriage….Rocky?

When I came home for lunch the other day, my husband shared a rumor that is going around about us. Apparently the reason my husband quit his job was because we are getting a divorce. News flash for the both of us! (To read the real “why” visit my first post The Beginning of Our Impossible Dreams) At first I was upset…this person clearly does not know us and has too much time on their hands—they need a hobby. Now, I just laugh. Because it could not be further from the truth!

I have written about people’s reactions to our seemingly “extreme” way of following our dreams, see Initial Reactions….from friends, family, acquaintances…and strangers and touched on people not understanding, in general, why someone would pursue out-of-the-ordinary dreams, see Dedication, Discipline, & A Little Loopy. But I have not yet explained how our decisions have affected our marriage.

My husband was a band instructor and general music teacher, for eight years. He enjoyed teaching, interacting with students, and loved sharing his passion for the arts with others. But a teacher has to stay on top of many other, different things too.

In college, my husband chose music education as his degree because teaching was a “real” job—a person can’t earn money as a freelancing artist. At least that was the impression he had.

Being able to take advantage of the freedom to pursue his original passions, my husband is a happier man. He feels less pressure not having to maintain a high-stress job to provide for his family. He has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pursue his dreams.

At the same time I am pursuing my dreams.

On the Solid Rock: Jesus Christ

I am at a job where I need to be both logical and creative, where I need to meet deadlines and challenges head-on, and where I am not staring at the wall for half the day. I have found wonderful people to share my writing goals with, who hold me accountable. I am exploring the world of creating amazing things out of the seemingly nonexistent.

We are more where we want to be in life, right now, than we have ever been before. We are both happier now than we have ever been before. And our marriage is better than ever. The reason those things are true, is because we are following the plan that God has for our lives.

If our marriage can be considered “rocky” it would be because it’s built on the Solid Rock—Jesus Christ.