Living to 156

For some, the idea of living to 156 is really scary.

Many are not prepared for tomorrow, regret yesterday, and are confused about today - confused or comatose. Comatose in the sense that they have no meaning, no purpose, no direction and no action. The idea of being a part of something bigger, God’s plan for their lives, is both frightening and almost beyond belief.

The reality is that some act as if they believe that God’s plan for their lives stopped at retirement and now it is all about their plans.

It is just not so!

Connecting with a God that cares, prepares, and equips us is outside of their conscious, or even unconscious, thought process. There is also the fear of accountability and the desire to escape to the safety of doing nothing.

This “doing nothing” can take on a lot of characteristics: endless rounds of golf, ceaseless travel, unending searches for the “best” of something, continual quests for the perfect location, constant hunt for the perfect relationship, and always measuring yourself against an ideal that does not exist in reality and that won’t bring fulfillment or happiness.

Note the key characteristics listed above. They all have to do with self and have little to do with others.

shutterstock-376991275.jpg

From a human perspective, there has been significant research about happiness. There is both happiness in the moment, and then there is happiness about your life situation, which really measures the difference between being happy with your life and being satisfied with it.

Eric Barker identified these keys to happiness to the positive benefits of aging. In addition to the five keys listed below, as Christians we put one more at the top of the list:

Carrying out God’s plan for our lives and making a difference for others because of our thankfulness for what He did for us is critical to embrace.

Because Jesus makes the eternal difference in our lives, we are to represent him and make a difference in the lives of others. It is that simple, it is that easy, and it is so difficult for many.

Friends:

Having individuals and/or a group of friends makes all the difference. Within a spiritual community, a minimum of 10 friends seems to be the number that impacts satisfaction and happiness. Jesus created the Church to represent Him to the world and to provide the support we all need. It is here, where two or more are gathered, that critical support is understood and helping others is experienced.

Have Goals:

When you are passionate, focused and directed by God’s calling on your life, the result produced is that you will be more energetic and confident. That energy and confidence will play out with a happier and perhaps even a longer, fulfilled life.

Have A Life Story:

Self talk reinforces life’s values and helps us to learn from life’s experiences. Sharing those stories with others then takes those values to another level for our internal compass as well as helping others to evaluate or develop theirs. Those stories play out during the second and third life stage of living with meaning and purpose for a lifetime. They are the content of Reflective Input to and for others.

Money Isn’t The Answer:

The answer to happiness does not lie with the amount of money you have. It is what you do with the resources you have that matters. However, I have observed that if you have sufficient resources, it buys the time to both reflect and act in ways that can change the world.

Keep Growing:

We are either growing or shrinking. We are either retreating into ourselves or we are reaching out to others. Happiness is a direct reflection of our consistent willingness to move forward, expand our thinking, interests, relationships, and service to others.

So where does living to 156 come into all of this?

It is just a matter of perspective. Do you know anyone who suggested how long they will live? They either focused on that specific number of years based on the longevity of their relatives or for some other reason. My grandfather died at 57. My uncle lived under the cloud of expectations that he too would die in that same general time frame. That thought process impacted much of what he did and how he planned the 4th Quarter of his life. Because God was not done with him yet, he grew another whole company to significant size after age 60 and contributed mightily to the growth of God’s Kingdom well into his 80’s. What more might he have done if he did not respond to that perceived cloud that surrounded him for a number of years.

We often get what we expect. Contemplating a life expectancy of 156 changes the way we think and act about age 65, 75, 85 and even 95! At age 75 I certainly feel and act younger with a vision of 156 years of happiness and productive ministry! Let’s try it and see how it works out. There is more meaning and purpose available to us for a lifetime.

Find it. Use it. Make a difference. You’ll live longer.

Contemplating an active life to 156 is not scary if you embrace it and surround it with the process that influences others and fulfills God’s plan for us.

Because so many Christians understand retirement in such a limiting way, it prevents them from understanding their 4th quarter from God’s perspective. They either are in denial about the stage of life they are in or have not yet adopted the “language of longevity” and understand God’s ongoing call to contribute to the expansion of His Kingdom for a lifetime.

Thanks for coming along on the Journey of a Lifetime. Share it with others in your circle of Social Media contacts and those you influence.

We will continue to explore Trusted Advice along The Way.

Bruce