Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Surviving or Living?

I was watching the CNN special hosted by Soledad O'Brien, Black in America 2 the other night, and listened as a young man who was facing the difficulties of building a life after serving time in prison commented that with little money and few opportunities, he and his family were "surviving, and that's not living".

If you're reading this, you are at least surviving. Everything may not be as you desire it to be, but you are likely getting your basic needs met -- food, water, shelter, clothing. You may even be struggling to meet these needs, and still have access to the Internet, which more and more is becoming a "basic need" in our society.

But are you living?

I thought about Queen Esther, how she was willing to give her life in order to bring liberty to her people. It wasn't enough that the people were surviving; she wanted them to live.

Then I thought about Mary and Martha. While Martha took care of the household's survival needs -- cleaning, preparing food and providing hospitality--Mary concerned herself with sitting at the feet of Jesus, absorbing knowledge and wisdom, inspiration and anointing.
"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." -- Luke 10:41-42
Although Martha's tasks were important and afforded Mary the opportunity to do what she did, Mary could still have bypassed the opportunity to know Jesus better. But, for Mary, survival wasn't enough.

One cannot live life to its fullest without first surviving each day. Yet, if one simply survives, what kind of life is it?

Jesus said, "I come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly". (John 9:10 KJV)

Too often this passage is interpreted to mean having the finer things in life, but I think it speaks to having an attitude about life as well. An attitude of joy and hopefulness, one that expects and seeks the best that life has to offer--happiness, peace, love, and so on.

Just having life wasn't enough for Jesus. The Lord wants us to experience the best of life--experience beauty, hear and appreciate music, explore and learn from our curiosities, etc. I'm not preaching material prosperity, per se, although knowing that God desires and has the best of everything prepared for His children is important. I'm simply asking whether you are living the life of which you dream.

Do you do the kind of work you want to do? Do you go the places you desire to go? Do you associate with the type of people you desire to know? Do you take advantage of opportunities to grow and to fill your mind and spirit with knowledge and new experiences?

If you're not, what's stopping you?

What needs to be true in order for you to move out of survival mode and begin living a full, rewarding life?

What changes need to happen in order to those things to be true?

What are you willing to do to effect such changes in your life?

These are questions to ask yourself, then...take action.

I've experienced both, operating in survival mode and living life to its fullest. Trust me, the latter is where most everyone wants to be. We each go through the seasons of life, sometimes finding ourselves in a season where perhaps survival is the best we can do. As such, you do what you have to do. You put one foot in front of the other, and keep moving forward, day after day, until you can see your way out of that season and into another better, richer one. And that's okay. But even now as I find myself in a bit of survival mode, I constantly remind myself that there's so much more that God has for me, and I plan to get it.

If you're content to simply survive, to never experience the richness of life, then I think you're truly missing out on all that God makes available to us. And that's sad.

At this moment, are you surviving or are you living?

Peace & Blessings,


Chicki said...

My answer to this question depends on the day. Some days I feel good about my life, and other days I hate it.

I am doing the work I love, but so far it's not providing me any money. Lack of money is the major obstacle for me. You can't do anything without money.

PatriciaW said...

You don't have to tell me, girl!