Where LIFE Happens

Consider what gives you LIFE, and make space for it.

What gives you LIFE?

In the fall, I got a new journal with green leaves etched over a black background and gold foil script on the front. The simple cover of that journal brought me so much life at a time when I desperately wanted more LIFE. The important kind written in big letters with vibrant lines drawn around it.

Life not just for the sake of surface level happiness. But for the sake of deep healing joy; of stepping wholly into the beautiful person God created me to be; of celebrating when others step in to who God created them to be; of living this wild and precious life with deep faith and trust covered in deep peace, contentment, and gratitude.

For the sake of being able to take a deep breath and just know that I am whole and wholly loved, not for anything I've done but for simply being in the One who made me who I am.

Sounds lovely, right?

I thought so.

The day-to-day logistics of living with more LIFE can trip me up if I'm not intentional. I know because I've been there many times before. I'll go through my days feeling little glimmers of a spark of life in me, but it disappears just as quickly as it came.

During a fog in my life that kept diffusing these sparks, a friend sent me a beautiful little strip of birch bark. All dried out, it makes the perfect kindling for a fire. In her note she wrote something along the lines of "that song that says 'it only takes a spark to get a fire going' is crap. It takes more than a spark. It also takes plenty of kindling for that spark to land on, and friction to create the spark, and logs to fuel the fire, etc."

I have that piece of birch on my bulletin board as my reminder to not settle for fleeting sparks of life. I need to fuel the fire of my life with the things that set a fire in me. I can't keep warm or cook a meal over a spark... I need to fuel that spark until it becomes a full on flame. And I can't grow a happy and healthy LIFE unless I'm nurturing the literal life that's already in me.

It's taken a variety of things to get to this point where I feel like I'm getting through the fog and really feeling more fully alive. One thing that has helped is asking what gives me LIFE, then making time for those things.

For me it's being in nature, new adventures however simple, updating a space in my home, meaningful connections, and sometimes just plain ol' checking off my to-do lists and feeling like a competent adult.

It truly is the simple things of life that are some of the most life-giving and meaningful. I updated my room in really simple ways, and it still makes me smile and brings me LIFE. I breathe in fresh air as I read on the porch and I'm fueled with LIFE into the next morning. I cheer on my child learning to ride his new bike, and LIFE glows from us both.

Where LIFE Happens

What gives you LIFE?

If you're not sure, here are some places to start...

1. Take a deep breath.

The simple practice of deep breathing is mentioned in every sort of advice on meditating, refocusing, destressing, healing, and energizing for a reason--breathing gives us literal life. This has been the case since we were created when God breathed "the breath of life" into the first humans (Gen. 2:7). Science backs up the healing work of oxygen, but more than that I like to think every intentional deep breath I take repeats what God did in that first breath He breathed--literal life flowing through me. Simple yet life-giving, isn't it?

2. Choose good and true words.

The words we think in our own minds matter just as much as the words we say out loud. We don't always see it this way, but negativity toward ourselves, others, or life is a lie clothed in "full honesty" or "a realistic perspective"--it robs our abundant life (Jn. 10:10). Wise words promote health, and counselors of peace have joy (Prov. 12:17-22). Are those things true of the words repeating in our heads or slipping through our lips? Death and life are in the power of the tongue (Prov. 18:21). If we had to choose, which category do our thoughts and words fall in? Worried thoughts cause depression; but good and true words bring deep healing gladness to our hearts (Prov. 12:25). Are your words life-negating or life-giving?

3. Read Truth.

The Word of God is living and active (Heb. 4:12); all scripture is breathed out by God (2 Tim. 3:16). Much like the breath of God still alive in our breath, I like to think of God's Word being alive and active in my life each time I read or meditate on it. Additionally, when we need a way to push out the negativity and the lies, reading and repeating God's truth is a perfect antidote.

4. Show love.

Jesus came that we might live through Him in love (1 Jn. 4:7-11) and have his light in us (Jn. 8:12). Acting in love and doing kind things--for our family, our friends, our neighbors, people we don't know--is a perfect way to experience LIFE more fully. Maybe even especially when we're not feeling it, there's something to a little doing into the feeling. There's nothing better than to be joyful and do good (Ecc. 3:12). It's a great reminder that people really are what life is all about.

5. Work with your hands.

The simple acts of making a meal, baking, washing the dishes, gardening, or creating something is all the more important in our heavily tech-centered lives. While technology can be tools for fuller more meaningful lives (looking up a recipe, learning a new hobby, making plans with a friend), the actual LIFE happens away from the computer, phone, or TV. What can you do throughout each day to make sure you're leading a quiet life, minding your own business, and working with your hands (1 Thess. 4:11)?

6. Go outside.

When I need a reset in life, I often have to go back to its source--nature. Where trees, plants, grass, and flowers grow with what they were given at creation and no extra effort of their own. It's outside that I remember that this world goes round out of my control, and my life does the same. Just as good things are growing under the mulch down in the dirt with the worms, so is good growing even in the darkness of life. And just as the sun always shows up even behind the clouds, I can be certain God always shows up even when I'm not certain He's there.

I am deeply thankful. For this gift of LIFE, for people to share it with, and for the gift of kindling when I need it most.

Consider what gives you LIFE, and make space for it.


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