While life can seem really lonely, isolating, and meaningless sometimes, it can be comforting to know that we are all wrestling to come to terms with the same core issues.
1. Life is tough.
As M. Scott Peck so accurately said in his book The Road Less Traveled, “Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult—once we truly understand and accept it—then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”
2. Life is beautiful.
There is so much to delight in and be grateful for in this life. There are more blessings than we can ever count. More joy than than can ever be experienced. More love than can ever be known.
3. Life is paradox.
Life pales in comparison to our dreams AND life surpasses our dreams. The beauty and fulfillment that our hearts can picture can never be fully realized AND we experience glimpses and fragments of those dreams being fulfilled. At its truest and deepest levels, life is a Both/And proposition.
4. Life is unpredictable.
To overcome the anxiety and avoid the pain of life’s unmanageability, we attempt to construct existences that are secure, safe, unsurprising, and pleasant—with just enough scripted excitement to keep us interested. But no matter how hard we try, life will surprise us. Sometimes with joy. Sometimes with heartache.
5. Life always wins.
Our efforts to manufacture and maintain the status quo are futile. Like a child building sandcastles on the beach, in the end, the tide comes, the wind blows, and time reclaims control.
6. Life is dynamic.
Nothing is static. The most basic elements of time and space are constantly moving and changing. Evolving change is constant. Insanity is trying to maintain the status quo in an ever-changing existence.
7. Life is process.
Our freedom comes when we learn to accept that life is not a product to manufacture but an existence to fully embody, embrace, and experience.
8. Life is play.
We are made to create, express, love, celebrate, grieve, laugh, cry, dance, nap, paint, write, be frustrated, compete, achieve, fail, succeed . . . the list goes on and on.
9. Life is meaningful.
Our greatest freedom and responsibility is to make life meaningful. The primary way we make meaning, interpret meaning and express meaning is through story.
10. Life is relational.
Our meaning and purpose is only found through relationship. We are made for relationship in three interdependent areas: with ourselves, with others, and God/Creation.
If you need help more deeply engaging the truths of your life, Sage Hill is here to help you live fully. Whether through counseling, consulting, training, or resources, our mission is to help people see who they are made to be so they can do what they made to do.
Stephen James, MA, LPC-MHSP, NCC, is the Executive Director of Sage Hill Counseling in Nashville, TN. He is also a best-selling author of five books, including Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys. He is active in training other mental health professionals as well as to speaking to audiences around the country on the topics of living fully, servant leadership, family relationships, and spiritual authenticity.