At Joyfully Said Signs, our greatest hope is not only to create high-quality, one-of-a-kind handmade artwork for your home (and help you create a home that you can feel great in!), but also to create artwork that inspires and instills a greater quality of life for you and your family. We've included this thought in our tagline: "Inspiring a Life Well-Lived." As I sit here in our workshop and gather my own personal thoughts on what it means to me to live life well, I feel encouraged to look around at the signs all around me and see that find that they do each contribute to some of my personal priorities when it comes to living life well.
While each person's list is likely to look different, I took some time to think though the top five elements of the legacy I hope to leave, so that as I reflect on my life I can truly say that I lived it well. Here goes nothing!
1. Love my tribe well.
I believe that we were placed into our specific families and communities for a reason, and they are one of the main components of my life mission. I want loving this tribe of mine to be a top priority, and for them to know just how special and important that they are. Do I come up short? All the time. But, it's worth working on, that's for sure! Challenge: Schedule one special activity with someone(s) in your tribe, and go make a memory with them!
2. Embrace who I am, and live it out.
In other words, understand what my gifts and passions are, and put them to good use making the world a better place. What makes me excited to get up in the morning? What type of work makes my soul feel right at home? These are some good clues to help understand how God created me, and are probably strong clues about some of the ways I should spend my life. We all have different abilities and interests, and they all play an important role in coloring the world. Taking the time to figure out what these things are, and then making sure you are incorporating them into your life in some way is, to me, an important part of living life well. Challenge: Create a short list of what you are best at, or enjoy doing. Are you using that interest or talent in some way? If you aren't, what would it look like if you did- how could you serve others in some way with it?
3. Be open to adventure.
Some of life's richest opportunities are only available to those who are willing to step out into unknown, new territory. This can be literal, in the sense of traveling to new places, or more figurative, in the sense of taking on a new experience. Leaving my career as a school counselor to open Joyfully Said Signs has been one of my favorite life adventures to date, and I'm so thankful that I took the leap! When I look back at my life, I will feel proud of the moments that I didn't let fear stop me from moving in the direction God was taking me. Challenge: Create a bucket list for your life. Don't be afraid to list some big goals on it!
4. Give freely.
We all know the old adage, "it is better to give than to receive," but how often to we stop and really think about the truth of this statement? Surely, a life well lived is one that is full of generosity. Whether it is time, money, or other resources, giving things away helps us hold on less tightly to the things that don't really matter in the end anyway. Challenge: Choose one thing to give away this week- it could be money, time, or an item. Then, reflect on how awesome it felt to bless someone!
5. Live remembering that the end isn't really the end.
In other words, keep in mind that this life is merely a flash in the grand scheme of eternity, and that there is much more to come. C.S. Lewis puts it like this:
"There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind."
Doesn't that take a certain pressure off of this life, to know that heaven awaits? While I believe that our desire to create a beautiful home here on earth is a God-given trait, isn't it great to know that Jesus died on the cross, rose from the grave, and is now preparing an unimaginably beautiful home for us who believe? And while pain is sure to find us in this life, we can take rest in the knowing that we are just backpacking through this life and that, in the end, love truly wins. This simple reality impacts every aspect of how we do life, from our attitudes, our ability to experience joy despite our circumstances, and the way we view the value of humanity. Challenge: Write a letter to yourself, to be (hypothetically) read on your last day on earth. Give yourself a pep talk about the amazing things that lie ahead for you!
Phew... that was tough.. this is deep stuff guys! But there you have it, my personal top five priorities for a life well lived. What did I forget, or what would you add to the list? We asked our Facebook Insiders group what they felt was most important for a life well lived... see what they said and add to the discussion here! Whatever you decide is on your list, the important thing is to put those facets into action in your life. It is then that you can truly look back on your life and know that you lived it well.