Staying Fully Alive Until You Die

coffee18.jpgIt seems like some people manage to die long before they stop breathing.

 
Maybe you’ve seen these people:
 

  • The mother or dad who shuts down as soon as the kids get through high school.  Each evening is spent in a recliner watching the television drone on and on.  Little or no conversation.  Routine becomes a rut.
  • The husband and wife who stop investing in their marriage. 
  • The minister who no longer reads, thinks, or dreams.  This person seems to be on automatic.  Any kind of passion or fire is long ago a thing of the past.
  • The man or woman who refuses to try something new, go someplace different, or risk in any way.  Any curiosity about life seems to have ended.
  • The university student who has his mind made up and refuses to think or consider the possibility that another might be able to teach him something.
  • The 40-year-old who talks about being "old."  He or she speaks about life as if the best days have already happened.

Contrast this with people who manage to stay fresh and alive all of their lives. 

 
Some of you who regularly read this blog know that I have posted about this before.  This time, however, I want to ask you to consider responding to one of these questions:

 
What message do we send others when we simply exist?  How does this impact our children and others around us?

 
What have you noticed in people who remain fully alive on this earth versus those who simply exist?  What do you see in one that seems to be absent in the other?  

 
What should a person do intentionally to remain fully alive?  

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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20 thoughts on “Staying Fully Alive Until You Die

  1. This is a great read and something I think about often.  When individuals become complacent with their lives, it says to the younger generations to have all of the fun they can right now.  God has created such an awesome planet and there are many sights to see.  God has given us more enjoyable things to do than we could ever imagine in life.  God created us as humans to enjoy the blessings he has given us, so we should start taking advantage of that immediately.   

  2. Jim, now in my mid-40s, to me this post was especially interesting.  I look forward to other comments. 
    Some responses are in the no-brainer category.  You mentioned TV.  Of course, while people sit in front of it they aren’t exercising.  Body and spirit are connected.  We don’t have bodies; we are bodies.  One mistake I haven’t made is that I haven’t given up on the discipline of physical exercise.  And it’s amazing how a routine like that makes you more careful about what you eat.  The one promotes the other.
    I’ve noticed that, among the people who are older than me, the ones who seem to be going downhill are often the ones who assume they shouldn’t have to try anymore.  They’re entitled to coast.  The ones who stay vibrant in mind and body assume that they will have to invest themselves, and work at it a little bit.
    At 75, my father is nearly 30 years into his second career.  He’s been a certified master locksmith for a long time now.  But he still goes to the regional meetings and schools, taking classes usually taught by someone half his age, that turn out to be refresher courses for my dad.  No one tells him to do this.  He just knows that going and being with other locksmiths, seeing the exhibits, etc. is good for him.  People say of him, "He seems a lot younger than 75."

  3. I decided a month ago.. That no more lazy living.. no more living for
    the future.. no more living like i have 80 years more to do whatever i
    want to… I want to live like I will die tonight.. I want to be
    passionate for christ.. that i wont just exist… but live to entertain
    God every second of my life

  4. Good thoughts. I might add two more. To be fully alive is to have a sense of wonder, an eagerness to learn and experience life in all of its mystery and majesty. And to give and receive just enough grace to accept my own unique place in the grand scheme of things. All the rest is just icing on the cake. 

  5. Great post, I try to engage in new hobbies and challenges in life. www.matthewsblog.waynesborochurchofchrist.org 

  6. Having two (almost three) small children, I’m regularly reminded of Jesus’ command to become like them. Talk about living life! Small children have no concept of time (other than on long road trips), are not bound by self-appointed "priorities," and USUALLY make the best with what they have. At some point we start watching our clocks instead of our loved ones, we start placing the pursuit of things above being with people, and we’re never satisfied with what we have. I believe these things are a piece of what it means to be full alive.

  7. I think one thing characterizes someone who remains alive as they age – staying a learner. I love Frank’s example of his dad still attending locksmith conventions, even though he probably knows more about opening locks than some of the presenters.
    What keeps us alive, I think, is a continuing curiosity. The curiousity is not so we can acquire more information (heck, that just makes us good at Jeapordy), but in order to learn about people. It is tempting to put new people in our lives in already-established categories ("Oh, this person is like that other jerk-ish person I knew when I was younger") and never dig in to get to know them for who they are.

  8. Chris–A great comment!  I like what you say about the message send to younger people when they witness someone who is complacent about life. 

  9. Frank,I appreciate your comments regarding your dad.  What a wonderful example of someone who has continued to grow and develop. 

  10. Joanna– I like what you said in the start of your comment.  "No more lazy living."  I like that phrase.  Thanks.

  11. Drew– Your additions are excellent and very fitting.  Thanks!"A sense of wonder"— Does that ever impact a person’s outlook!

  12. Michelle,I like your contrast between maintaining a curiosity just to learn more information and a curiosity about people.Thanks,

  13. Jim,A time in life when it becomes easiest to "coast" is the perfect time for us to increase our self-challenges.  We’ve got to raise the bar on what we expect of ourselves and dream big dreams – all for God’s glory. Thanks for sharing your insights! Keith L 

  14. L.L.You say a lot in two short sentences. :)I suspect you are right.  I suspect that fear may very well push a person to such a place.  Hmm.  I wonder what fears are this powerful. 

  15. Hi Keith,I like what you said.  A time in life when it becomes easiest to "coast" is the perfect time for us to increase our self-challenges.Maybe all of us need to be sensitive to doing just what you said.  When it seems easiest to coast, maybe that is just the point where I need to get very intentional about stepping into a few areas that are challenging for me. 

  16. How to remain fully alive? For me it’s not losing sight of reality. We’re part of a big story, a dramatic story. We’re PART of the story. It’s easy to forget how we fit into God’s big picture in terms of His redemption of the whole cosmos.  Everything can be done with gusto. But there’s much to risk and lots of pain which makes sticking my head in the sand a constant temptation. To be fully alive is to understand what’s real and to remain alive is to overcome the fear that comes with reality (as opposed to escaping into any one of a number of matrixes).