When I walk into the one of the few regular bookstores still standing, I am arrested by the large self-improvement sections dominating the non-fiction landscape. From physical health (do we need one more diet and exercise book?) to emotional-relational well-being (do these authors all recycle the same principles?) to sexual satisfaction and business success (you get have it all!), we are awash in advice.
Yet. A variety of surveys reveal deep dissatisfaction with everyday work, unhappy marriages and disillusionment with civic, political and religious institutions. We have more data and information, more resources and support groups, more ways of improving ourselves…yet we still find high addiction and divorce rates, static church attendance and deep anger at the political process.
Answers to these challenges begins with vision. What does it mean for a person, a community, a nation to flourish? What does health look like? We need some understanding of the outcomes of our actions to shape our attitudes and behaviors.
As we begin a new year, the January essays on this site will offer insights into, “A Flourishing Life.” We will explore five dimensions of human wholeness that encompass the spiritual, personal, relational, vocational and occupational facets of everyday life. If you are ready for serious assessment and change, go to www.discipleshipdynamics.com and take the first biblically grounded and empirically validates whole life assessment and begin your new future today!
Flourishing begins with faith
If you are determined to reject the notion of a divine being, please stop reading. All the insights that follow rest on the foundation of humility arising from genuine belief in an Infinite-Personal God who created us with purpose and cares deeply about our daily lives. This God is fully known in Jesus Christ and longs for intimacy with us.
The First Dimension of wholeness begins with our spirituality. This is not a vague notion of “the force” or the illusory and impersonal world new ages concepts. The spiritual life begins and ends with humble submission to the Creator and Redeemer who designed us and desires to dwell in and with us.
Jesus said that all the Scriptures are summed up in one Great Commandment: to love God with all our being…and love our neighbor as ourselves. If we love God, we will participate in the pathways he has designed for intimacy and integrity, healthy and holiness. Prayer and Bible reading, church attendance and times of solitude are not ends in themselves, but divine resources for flourishing! Sharing our faith is the overflow of enjoying God, not an obligation to impose religious strictures.
As we begin this flourishing journey, let’s start this new year with simple disciplines that increase our awareness of Christ’s presence and awaken us to the Holy Spirit’s guidance each moment of our busy day. Start with small steps: a few moments of prayer, with gratitude and requests, praises and longings for others. Open the Bible in the Book of Psalms and read one each day, finding a verse to sustain you. Gather with other believers for mutual support. Find some moments of solitude. Let someone know you are a follower of Jesus and invite them to join your quest for growth.
All other Dimensions of wholeness flow from this foundation of receiving and releasing God’s love. Our humility will open doors of destiny as we listen to God each day.