Principles to Live By
All people hold certain core beliefs that influence the way they live. Whether or not they are able to articulate their beliefs in some pithy phrase like carpe diem or live free, they act and react to life’s stimuli consistent with what they believe. Since beliefs or convictions are a function of thought, they can be changed. The Bible says, as a man thinketh, so is he. So how should a man think if he desires to live a passionate and balanced life, free from the unsteadiness of so many souls? Below, I list a few principles I have found helpful.
Joy can be found in a glass of water
Joy in life is tied to expectations. Why do some celebrities who appear to have it all sometimes kill themselves, whereas others whom have little of what is valued by most people live lives of remarkable joy? Very often, the answer to this question lies in where individuals expect to find joy. You see, to live successfully we must learn a hierarchy of joy. Joy in the Lord is superior, since God doesn’t change. This is why people of faith are less likely to be shaken when the storms of life arrive. God doesn’t get blown away in the high winds.
After joy in the Lord, learn to en-Joy people. Almost everyone has redeeming virtues – celebrate them. If you perceive that someone is loving, revel in their love; if they’re funny, let them tickle your funny bone; if they’re wise, feed on their wisdom. If they have a challenging personality, work on your patience; and if they push you the wrong way, practice flexibility. Benefit from what others have to offer; and share something of yourself. On the other hand, don’t hesitate to avoid people who seem to lack all redeeming virtues; they will only vex your spirit.
Learn also that the “joy” in a thing, should be found only in its intended purpose. For example, while you may enjoy a luxury car for its luxuriousness, or its speed or other functionality, it is more dangerous to value it for the prestige it brings. The attributes of the car are somewhat inherent in the car, whereas prestige is tied up into how others react to your possession of the car. In any event, in most cases, a car, as all other things, should be valued primarily for that thing which makes it what it is. Thus, a car is for transportation, a home for shelter, clothes for covering, et cetera.
A final point on joy – if you are unable to find joy in your circumstance, change it. You have the power. Ponder this: joy can be found in a glass of water.
Problems are for solving – life is for living
We ought not to make our lives synonymous with the problems they may bring. We have no control over many of the circumstances we face in life; we do have control over our response to them. When faced with problems, we must purpose to continue to live as we would have without them, while we deal with them. If you would have laughed, but for your troubles, laugh; if you would have partied, but for your troubles, party; if you would have loved, but for your troubles, love. Don’t make any changes in your life as a result of the problem, unless the change is part of the solution. Especially, don’t make changes that only add to your troubles by deepening your depression.
There’s nothing new under the sun
I know it’s another cliché, but it bears repeating. In the absence of joy or in the face of trouble, you should know that nothing you are experiencing or will experience is completely unique. The implication of this should be liberating. You are special, but your circumstances aren’t. If it’s help you need, there is someone out there who can empathize with you. If you require humility, know that others have accomplished the very same thing. If you need to forgive, consider that you’re probably guilty of the same wrong or at least one similar.
Have you ever watched healthy infants? Each one of them has abundant passion for life. We all begin life that way. Over time, some of us lose our simplicity, and with it, our passion for life. That’s because we develop beliefs alien to the wisdom we’ve been given by our Creator. The good news is that we can change our beliefs. Embrace the above principles and our passion for life should be restored, if lost; and preserved, if still present.