10 Ways to Reimagine Life in 2015
by Mark Votava
1. Listen to God through the world of our everyday experience.
The way of bringing dignity to others in their humanity is about listening. Listening is the opposite of arrogance. Listening provides us with an openness, awareness and receptivity to life.
God is living, moving and working in our everyday context in life. God is present in the world. We need to become aware of this learning how to listen, becoming more gentle and graceful.
2. Watch less TV and movies and learn to enjoy reading.
Awhile back, I noticed how much time I was spending watching TV and movies. This provoked laziness, apathy and frustration in me. I started to find a way to give some of this up so that I could find the time to read more. Reading has been so helpful for me to reimagine life as I seek to be my true self in the midst of it all.
When we become lifelong learners and learn to read good books that shape the imagination, there is a freedom that is nurtured within us. We become more peaceful, more restful and more graceful.
3. See the sacredness of all of life through silence and solitude.
Silence and solitude is very vulnerable. We cannot control it, but only enter into it with humility and openness. As we do this, we will start to see and experience life beyond the duality of the sacred/secular. All of life will become sacred.
When we loss the sense of the sacredness of life, we slowly die a miserable death. Life losses meaning. We are blinded to God’s presence within us and around us in the world we live in. We were not meant to live in this way without any connection to authenticity.
4. Stop defining the church as a building and learn to be the church with others in the place you live.
Redefining the church as a compassionate community rooted in a particular place is what we are called to. Becoming a rooted community of grace, love and humility in the midst of everyday life together is so important today. The church needs to practice proximity to one another so we can become an expression of love as a collective body in the world.
This will shape us more than anything else. The place we live becomes the medium of transformation in everyday life. God has given us the world to live in with bodies to practice love toward others. Place is important because it allows the church to practice the ways of love, grace and humility in the world.
5. Practice hospitality and open your home, life and mind to the poor.
We can reimagine our lives by learning to see Christ in the poor among us. Hospitality opens our lives to the other. Hospitality teaches us of love. Hospitality makes us more like Jesus in the world of exclusion and violence.
When we open our homes to the poor, our lives become about love, solidarity and hope. When we open our minds to the poor we become less judgmental and more compassionate. When we open our lives to the poor, we feel more human inside as we are discovering our true self.
6. Learn from someone who you think is very different from you.
The tendency is to think that we are so different from everyone else, but this is not true. Find the similarities with others, not the differences. We have so much in common that we could value and learn from. We all are a part of the human family together.
Learning from others is a great posture of peace and hope in the world. We need to have the humility to see that others have a lot to offer us. We are incomplete without each other. God made us for community, learning, listening and love.
7. Put all of our focus into being an expression of love.
Nothing mattes in life except love. Love makes the world works. Without love all we have is hatred and war among us. Jesus came to teach us a better way of love.
Becoming an expression of love is all that matters. Love is authentic. Love is compassionate. Love is the fulfillment of God’s desire for the world.
8. Stop talking about the gospel and start to embody it through your life.
Embodiment requires so much more than anything words can communicate. Our whole lives can become an embodiment of love, compassion and humility. This is what God’s Spirit is leading us to every day.
Embodiment cannot be argued with. It is the most powerful thing we can do. It is authentic and cultivates our true self in the world. And the greatest gift we can give to the world is our embodied true self fully alive.
9. Value community more than American individualism.
We were created for community, for connection, for compassion and love. This is the purpose of our lives. Without this nothing matters and all we have is the American narrative of individualism, bitterness, competition and hostility.
This is no way to live as God has provided for us a better way of peace, compassion and love. Jesus taught us to live caring for one another. Jesus taught us a good way of life that would bring connection through reconciliation with each other.
10. Value simplicity over consumerism.
Jesus practiced simplicity throughout his life. He did not care about money. We are called to follow him in this.
Simplicity brings us freedom. Simplicity frees us to love. Simplicity is redemptive and brings us a way of sharing life together with others more freely.
Which of these ways of reimagining life do you resonate with?