Live One Life

A Manifesto

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“So to live one life, defined as ‘interweaving the various parts of life into a harmonious single narrative’, is going to take work.”

Where We Want to Be

I know what it is like to be pulled in many directions. I don’t like it. It doesn’t feel good. It makes me feel split, and pushes me to cry out for solace! The public me versus the private me. The professional me versus the recreational me. My emotional self versus my intellectual self. The combinations seem endless. What I want, what I believe we all want, is the peace that comes from having harmony among the different parts of our lives. Harmony. That’s the word that continues to call to me. I want harmony. Don’t we all?

Instead of harmony, most of us settle for organized chaos and call it harmony. After all, for many of us, it appears to be the best we can expect. Balancing health with our appetites. Balancing consumption with our desire for security financially. Being charitable, generous, and frugal, all at the same time. Being parent and spouse, and doing both well. Living as a faithful employee and a burgeoning entrepreneur. We manage. Sometimes we absolutely fall short of the goal. We work it out. But in the back of our minds, we’re always longing for better. We believe that somehow there is supposed to be more harmony in our lives. Well, there is supposed to be more. Harmony is possible. But we’ve got to be willing to do the work to achieve harmony, and sometimes the work towards harmony is difficult.

Live One Life

One of the definitions of harmony, according to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary is, “an interweaving of different accounts into a single narrative.” How appropriate is that definition for where we desire our lives to be. I, we, want all the different parts (accounts) of my life to come together into a single narrative. I want to live one life, instead of all these separate lives that seem to have their own direction. Some would say that the varied, staccato parts of our lives do create a single narrative. After all, this logic would state, it is “our” life. True. Another definition of harmony, however, gives us a deeper understanding of what it means to live one life of harmony. A second definition of harmony is a “pleasing or congruent arrangement of parts.” So although my/your wild, harried, crazy life can be considered a single narrative, can it be considered (by you or others) either pleasing or congruent? If not, and if you desire to live one life, then it is time to commit to doing the work.

Commit to Do the Work

So to live one life, defined as “interweaving the various parts of life into a harmonious single narrative”, is going to take work. Harmony doesn’t just happen. Balance isn’t an accident. To live one life, we’ve got to decide to live for something other than the moment, while recognizing the importance of the moment in which we’re living. Living one life is greater than being a parent, employee, Christian, philanthropist, writer, spouse, or citizen, just like a puzzle is more than the individual parts in the box. Living one life is the sum of all those things when they come together in harmony. It will take work to see the picture. It is a composition that will take time to design. We must step back from the minutiae of all the different roles we play in life, in order to see the picture that all the roles create when they’re put in their proper place. Living one life is bigger than a mission statement, a vision board, or a slogan. It is the intentional, constant organizing and adjusting of our inner and outer, public and private, professional and personal selves. If we are willing to do the work, we can have the harmony that we desire in our lives.

What To Do When You Hit The Wall

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I have been involved in something called the My 500 Words Challenge for the last 18 days. The challenge, begun by Jeff Goins, has been to write at least 500 words every day for 31 days. The premise behind the challenge is to making writing a habit for those who desire to or love to write. I have had the desire to write a book for a number of years. In fact, I have at least two active book ideas that I am “working” on right now. The problem has not been with the idea to write a book, but with the actual “writing” of the book. This is where the My 500 Word challenge comes in. Every published author that I have spoken to has reiterated the importance of writing every day as a habit key to their success. So I embarked on this challenge just under three weeks ago in an effort to develop a habit needed to fulfill my goal. And then…I hit the wall.

How to See Life as a Puzzle and Get it Done

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I can remember trying to put puzzles together as a child. I started with the small six or seven piece puzzles and progressed to the more challenging ones. There was a season when, along with my mother, I was helping put together puzzles with hundreds or thousands of pieces. These puzzles had elaborate portraits of exotic places or delightful things on the box top. Putting the puzzles together was sometimes very frustrating, and I must admit that there were times when I wanted to give up. Honestly, I did give up on a puzzle or two, and left my mother to complete them by herself. The older I have gotten the more I realize the similarities between life and puzzles.

One Thing Guaranteed to Increase Your Success Rate

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The one thing that I believe all pastors and ministry leaders have in common is the desire to be effective in both life and ministry. Whenever I have an opportunity to talk to pastors, ministry leaders, or potential church planters, I share that I have discovered one thing that can increase their rate of success in these areas. There is a widely discussed, but underutilized thing that can immediately benefit every pastor, parishioner, parent, and leader.