Everything I buy has an owner’s manual. Each manual tells me how to set up the appliance, how to operate it at some basic level, how to use the item at some advanced degree, and how to troubleshoot the appliance when it isn’t working well. Everything I have ever purchased or used came with an owner’s manual, except for one thing—my own life.
I don’t have an owner’s manual telling me how to set up my life, how to operate at a basic level, or how to use any advanced functions for living well. There isn’t any manual my parents received when I was born that would tell me how to deal with all the good and bad of life. Nothing came along with my birth certificate telling me how to troubleshoot what would happen along the way. Nothing gave me instructions for living well—wholly—during my proposed life expectancy.
Often, I have figured out how to live well by watching others, immersing myself in formal education, reading mounds of books, or by just walking through all the personal experiences that came my way over time. Learning how to live well—to operate at some modicum of success—has come by trial and error and learning something from my mistakes, but not always from setting life purposes or plans in advance. I have to admit that in the first thirty years of my life, I spent a good deal of time trying to figure out how to live well.
But about 25 years ago, I began taking seriously that I had all the tools available to begin sorting out my life in advance, for making some decisions that would lead to living wholly in many venues in the here and now. My own personal work would eventually place me in front of thousands of people who were also looking for the ingredients that would help them live well. People tell me consistently that they are seeking physical health, successful relationships, meaningful work, and enjoyable leisure among many other areas. They are, in effect, trying to find some meaning and purpose for life. How they perceive these areas of life motive them to make the choices they do; to undertake the adventures they believe will bring some level of joy in life.
The problem is, too many of us do not make the choices that point toward living well. We just simply float through life. And there are moments that come in life—involuntarily—that jolt us into examining or facing life’s tough questions. These involuntary moments may be the loss of a job, health problem, broken relationships, spiritual experience; the death of a loved one or our own suffering. These often force us to face life and ask questions that will demand some answers. And since none of us comes with an owner’s manual at birth we are left to troubleshoot or find answers for these dilemmas in the experiences of others, personal reflection, or just taking whatever comes our way and living through it.
My intent through this blog and future posts is to help anyone interested and willing to take some time to read them and work on the provided activities to build a successful life with some goals and clear paths that will help them to live well. I personally have read hundreds of books both ancient and modern, taught these lessons to thousands of people, but also lived with those moments in life that sometimes jolt us, like cancer and sudden injuries. All these experiences have helped me forge an owner’s manual that I would like to share with you in the posts ahead.
So my encouragement—get a journal for recording your answers to questions I will ask in future posts and begin writing your own manual for living well. There a lot of opinion types of blogs on all kinds of subjects. That is not my intent in this blog. In all the blogs you will find helpful insights and a series of questions that if you answer will help you build a life that is whole and meaningful.
This blog may or may not be right for you. If not, thanks for reading my first post. But if it feels right, I invite you to craft your own owner’s manual over the coming year. Blessings as you choose in 2010 to become what God intended you to be. And thanks for letting me help you live well NOW and for the rest of your life.
Grace and peace.