Live the Good Life

What Would Jesus Do?

We hear a lot about self care from nearly everywhere. There are self help books and tons of articles out there in the world. I’m going to add to it. I’m going to start by asking – What would Jesus do?

In the recovery world there is an emphasis on how we care for our self in the context of living a good life. In Christianity, it looks a little different, but very similar.  What does living a good life look like?

I think Jesus lived a good life. He took care of his needs whatever they were. He expressed himself without fear. He had margin in his life and he enjoyed the world and people around him. He did not allow others to pressure him into things that were not his. He did not allow the words of others to interfere with his God-given identity.

What are the specifics? A good life looks like – having margin in your life; caring for your physical self; enjoying the fruits of living; and overflowing love.

Margin: Margin is giving room to live life with our time and our money.

I don’t know any people who gain joy from beginning work when they wake and maintaining it until they go to sleep. It is a fact that we need some time to stop and let our brain recovery. We use so much energy each day making decisions, thinking, moving, and doing. Our brains need a break so that we can be. We have a vital need to exist as who we are.

In order to do this, we need to have some room between the end of our week and the end of our money. Otherwise, we’ll be chained to work, overtime, and the dollar. We work to earn money to serve us, so that we can live our life. We don’t want to be a slave to our job because we’re overextended. If we’re that extended with credit and debt, we cannot find the ability to enjoy the fruits of our lives because we’ll be so stressed and anxious about our finances.

I am not saying don’t do what you’re called to do, what you enjoy doing, working hard, or earning money to pay the bills. I’m saying leave a little room between the beginning of your paycheck and the end of it. Whatever that looks like to you – saving, giving, spending and all the percentages in between.

This is hard for many of us – most of us really. Statistics show that we’re all going to work to pay the mortgage, the car payment, the credit card bills. We’re overextended and stressed out. We have houses and garages and storage units full of stuff that we don’t use because we can’t access it. “We buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t like.” [1]

The margin that we gain in our finances gives us a better margin in our time. When we don’t have so much to pay, we can work a little less and play a little more.

Physical care of our self – paying attention to what we eat and drink; how much we sleep; and how much we move or exercise.

I don’t know about you, but for years I smoked, sat around, and didn’t pay attention to what I put in my body. I was in terrible shape. But, I thought because I was young and slim, it didn’t matter. Until it mattered.

I quit smoking because I couldn’t breathe. I did a challenge with friends to eat less junk, drink more water, and walk at the same time I quit smoking. I was 36 years old and I could not walk for half an hour straight. It took me about a month to work up to drinking the required amount of water. Because I quit smoking, I began gaining weight which made it worse. Eventually, in self-defense, I had to begin exercising. I couldn’t do a single push up.

About a year and half later, after beginning a physical change, I can tell you it feels amazing to be healthy. I can do about 30 ‘girl’ pushups and several regular pushups. I have walked a 5k. I intend (at some point) to be able to run a mile. I can do other things too that I couldn’t do before – lifting and bending, etc.

I haven’t lost any weight but I am better physically. I feel like I have achieved many hard things. Why does it matter? Does God even care about these things?

Yes. Yes. Yes. He cares because your body is where the Holy Spirit resides. It’s a temple and it matters. Also, God has given us each a job to do and when He’s ready, you should be ready too. You can’t walk a mile as a youth leader who influences kids to be better if you can’t walk a mile. You can’t run and play with your family if you can’t run and play. There are so many ways that we can physically make a difference in the world for the Kingdom and if we can’t use our physical self to do it, what can we use?

We sleep better when we’re in good health. We spend less money on medicines and physicians when we’re in good health. All of these make for better mental health too. So, it’s a win-win-win situation to be in good health. Just search up the benefits of exercise and drinking water. Search up what the Bible says about our physical being.  

Your body is your gift. Take care of it.

Enjoyment – of people, food, events, music, family, events, and hobbies.

Living a good life means having fun. Jesus was always going to hang out with people. He was always going to someone’s house and dining. He had his friends with him all the time. He had twelve friends who he hung out with a lot and he had three of those who he was besties with.

I know that was a little weird – nobody really thinks of the disciples as besties, but they were. It’s how it was.

What do you like to do? Who do you like to do those things with? What events make you happy? Do those things.

When we’re in an abusive relationship, we’re isolated from the people we love and from doing the things that we love to do. We often don’t have a job because of missing work or being distracted too much. These mean that we’re dependent on our abuser for a lot of things. We’re too anxious to enjoy much also.

Then we break free, we have to start over. It’s hard to make friends and have money to start a hobby. Maybe our abuse has changed us and we don’t enjoy the same things any more. Now is the time to look around and see what we enjoy doing. Then just do it.

Love – allow only the people and things in your life that are life-giving and non-toxic.

We cannot allow people in our life who are toxic and seep poison into our mental health. Those people who complain all the time, throw a wet blanket over our dreams, who demean who we are and what we look like. Those people who start those negative thought circles about who we are, how we look, what we do, and our station in life. Those people cannot be permitted to take up the little time and energy that we actually have remaining after a long day or week.

We cannot continue to allow people to treat us poorly for any reason. We teach people how to treat us by what we allow them to do to us. If you allow a thing once, you will allow it again and again. This applies to everyone in your life. It starts with you.

You must value yourself in order to recognize when other people do not. God says you are beautiful, valuable, loved, chosen. He does not lie and he does not make mistakes. You are not a mistake and you are not worthless. Once you believe who God says you are, you will be able to require others treat you as you should be treated.

How do we know who God says we are? We read the Bible, spend time with Him. That seems boring. It’s not. Plus, if Jesus did it, I think we should too. If you want to hear “I love you, beautiful, beloved daughter.” Every single day, read the Bible and spend time contemplating God daily. Over time, you will be filled with the knowledge of who God says you are and will overflow all the wonderful into the world around you.

When we’ve cut out all that negativity, we have to fill it with some good stuff or it will just be filled up with more junk that we don’t need. What better way to live a good life than with the creator of the universe who loves you more and knows you better than any other person on this earth? I can’t think of one.

This is the good life – to be filled with love, overflow love, be healthy in our physical form, enjoying life and living it. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?

[1] Dave  Ramsey

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