Most of us have descended into the unlife at one time or another. . If the four Ds describe you, then the way to a passionate, fulfilling life is through the antidote of the four Gs.
1. Get Grounded
Getting grounded is the foundation for getting a life. This includes everything from recognizing one’s worth to feeling confident and secure. Individuals with a solid identity can’t be shaken or devastated just because they don’t have someone to date. They know who they are and don’t need another human to make them feel complete. The dominant view in our society is that human worth, value, and happiness are obtained through tangible achievement and performance. In other words, if you have money, popularity, prestige, good looks, and intelligence, then you have worth. The message is, “The more you have, the greater your self-esteem.” This formula can literally ruin your life.
Self-worth is not something you go out and get. It’s something you already have. Getting grounded means embracing the fact that you are created in the image of God and have worth and value simply because you were born. Worth, based on being made in the image of God, does not fluctuate; it does not change regardless of your personality, performance, or possessions because it’s based on the immutable character of God.
2. Get Grouped
Psychologists say that one of our deepest needs is to be connected with others in a meaningful way. You were created by God with the desire to be in relationships with other people, and when this God-given desire goes unmet, you will suffer. You will experience an emptiness and longing that can only be filled when you are associated with others. Getting grouped is all about developing healthy relationships. It is being involved with others beyond superficiality. We don’t think it is a coincidence that the men and women who are passionate about life are always involved in some sort of group. It may be a service group, Bible study, or some sort of sports team, but the bottom line is that they are connected with others on a deep level. You are not an island or a Lone Ranger. You were designed to be with others!
Are you committed to a local church? Are you part of an accountability group or support group? Are you a member of a sports team? Do you participate in community service projects? Do you have people in your life who encourage you and, when necessary, graciously confront you? Do you have friends who listen to each other and can, over time, reveal their deepest concerns? If not, take this step today. Get plugged in with people in your church, college, workplace, or community, and this will help propel you out of the unlife into having a vibrant life.
3. Get Giving
Most people who are depressed, detached, or desperate usually don’t even consider this next big G. Think about it—when you’re feeling this way, your tendency is to focus only on your own needs and wants. In this age of self-indulgence, it seems radical to tell people to focus on someone other than themselves. The truth is, the key to a life of misery and loneliness is seeking only to please yourself.
Giving is about meeting the needs of others on a practical level. Do you ask, “What can I give to this relation-ship?” and not just, “What can I get from it?” People who are grounded and grouped are also seeking to serve and meet the needs of others. They get outside of themselves, take interest in others, and lead a rich life in the process.
4. Get Growing
In all aspects of life, things can be stagnant or growing. If you are not growing, expanding, or improving your life, you may be stagnant. You would think that almost everyone wants to be fully alive and passionate about life, but some people are little more than walking corpses because they have stopped growing. Growing requires the willingness to learn, improve, explore, dis-cover, and sometimes to reach out and “boldly go where you haven’t gone before.” How do you grow? It’s simple. Ask yourself, “What do I have a passion for?” or “What are my skills and gifts? What am I interested in doing with my life?” For many of you, this is no problem because you are already involved in various activities that meet this requirement. However, if you are not, then plug in to some endeavor: art, drama, music, sports, volunteer work, or something else that you are interested in. Certainly, one of your most important areas for growth involves spiritual maturity—study, prayer, and church group affiliation for starters.
You may be thinking, Wow. This sounds risky. What if I fail?So what? Even failure is a learning, growing experience. Success comes from good judgment, good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from making mistakes. The key to growing is risk.