Intentional Living, Life, Priorities

Priorities: Living Well

Autum's yellow blanket

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

What does it mean to “live well?”

Does it mean taking care of your body—exercising every day, eating right, never eating sugar, getting eight hours of sleep a night and drinking the perfect amount of water for your body?

Does it mean pouring yourself out all the time, even sacrificing things you want or need with the intention of helping others?

Does it mean pursuing that dream job, that perfect home, the nicest car, getting your kids into the best schools?

Brown leaf among rocks

How are we spending our lives?

As I’ve considered what living well is—what it looks like—it kind of comes down to how we spend our lives. Where are we focusing our energies, our time, our love?

Are we intentional in the decisions we make? Purposeful in what we do each day?

We only get one life. We can spend it on frivolity and temporal things. Or we can spend it on building relationships and eternal things.

We can spend our life on satisfying ourselves. Or, we can spend it in pouring into others’ lives, investing in them. Valuing them.

Whether a person has a spouse and children, like me, or whether God has filled their lives with different relationships, we have one life to spend well.

Leafy bench

How we spend our lives is determined by what our priorities are.

In my skin, living well looks like seeking Jesus first, learning to live humble and to give grace to those who are closest to me . . . even when they hurt me. I’m trying to spend my life reflecting Jesus to the world around me. Loving my husband and children in ways they understand love. Sometimes it requires a sacrifice of time, a shift in my priorities to help them excel in their days.

Living well is a pouring out of myself for others. It’s also taking time to be refreshed by the only One who perfectly pours into me. Living well happens as a result of knowing how God wants me to spend my time and then doing those things He shows me.

Rain covered leaf

People live well in different ways. For some, when sickness strikes, they choose to spend their lives encouraging others, rather than wallowing in self-pity for their own condition. They deal with their own pain, the effects of their illness, but they don’t allow it to dictate how they think. They refuse to let the illness define them. They choose life through the words they speak and the things they spend their energy on.

Yellow leaves fallen

We live well when we choose to interweave our lives—our hearts—with others . . . 

. . . when we reflect Jesus in the ways He’s designed us to.

Living well doesn’t mean living perfectly. Holding ourselves up to a standard even God doesn’t require.

Rock arched bridge

Though God calls us to certain occupations and pursuits, He’s looking at our heart attitudes as we pursue these things.

Living well comes from the wellsprings of our hearts. Are we focusing on Jesus first? It’s only as we spend time with Him that we can truly grasp how to best spend our lives.

Sun highlights on bush

When we spend our lives reaching beyond ourselves to fulfill callings God’s placed in us . . .

. . .caring for others in the ways we’re able to . . .

. . . when we seek to do that which God gives us for the day, (which often means putting His plans above our own) . . .

Then, we are choosing to live well.

What about you? How would you define “living well?” What are you doing to live well?

I’m linking up with Kelly Balarie today over at purposefulfaith.com. Feel free to jump on over and read her wise words.

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22 thoughts on “Priorities: Living Well”

    1. One of the things that brings me hope is the truth that God redeems the years the locusts have eaten. Though you carry regrets, He’s also used you in the lives of many, Andrew. You probably won’t see all of the ways this side of heaven. You spend your days well in caring for your dogs, in encouraging so many of those whose lives you touch, and in your determined way of living every day fully.

      And, I liked your last line. It is a good perspective. 🙂

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  1. A good thought provoking question! It must involve God, our Father who so desires our companionship and love~ love we show by obedience, love we show by our caring and kindness to others, love we show by choosing to meet with Him every day sharing our hearts. Living well is loving and leaving our heart door open to learn more about loving always. Andrew always inspires me. Thank you Andrew for life lessons in loving.

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  2. Jeanne,
    oh this was so life-giving today. Thank you! So many rich nuggets. I can’t even tell you how encouraged my heart is after reading. Bless you bless you bless you!! 🙂
    Love,
    Tammy

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  3. In so many ways that you do, Jeanne, I seek to live well. In pursuing God, doing my best to discern the calling He’s set before me and not allowing fear to keep me from it. In loving my family, and trying not to throttle them more than I hug them. 🙂 In cultivating friendship, and fellowship, trying to be that safe place where folks can land and be welcomed in with grace. Some days are lived with more purpose than others, and the others, I’m learning, are designed to just rest and savor what God has given. Thanks for the pause to think on the goodness of this life.

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    1. Tiffany, I like that you brought out spending time with God and knowing the callings He gives us. And then pursuing them without fear getting the upper hand. Yes, that tends to be the challenge for me. I love the aspect of being a safe place for others. And your last thought about some days being designed to rest and savor what God has given? I hadn’t thought about it that way, but I believe you’re spot on. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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    1. I’m with you, Lisa. When I stop to consider if I am living well, how I am spending each day, that’s when I can evaluate if I’m on track or not. And yes, slowing down with the kids is essential. I always appreciate your comments, Lisa!

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  4. Sissy, you are such an amazing writer! I don’t always have time to reply to your blog, but need to tell you that you inspire me to be better in every aspect of my life. A gentle reminder to put priorities in order, (which is not always the case for me) is good for my soul to hear. God is working in my family, and in my heart. Much to think about.
    Love and miss you!

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind words, Lori! 🙂 I’m not always great at keeping my priorities in the right order either. I’m glad each day gives us a chance to press the “Re-do” button. 🙂 Love you back!

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  5. These pictures are gorgeous, Jeanne. I couldn’t agree more about your words on “Living Well”. I think loving our family “in the way they understand love” is second only to loving our Lord.
    Blessings as you continue to live, love and write well ~ Wendy

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    1. Thanks so much for the compliments about my pictures, Wendy. I love yours on your blog too. 🙂 I loved what you said about loving our family in ways they understand being second only to loving the Lord. Great insight there!

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  6. This is a very stimulating post Jeanne, great insights here! “It’s only as we spend time with Him that we can truly grasp how to best spend our lives.” Truer words have never been spoken. We all find ourselves in different life situations but the benefits of a daily communication with God are probably close to the same.
    I was personally challenged by a blog I read earlier this morning encouraging us to continue praying for those in prison around the world because of Christ. Your post now has me wondering what their perspective on living well would be. I’m sure we’d be humbled by their responses.
    You’ve given me much to think about today!

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    1. Gene, I loved what you said about how the benefits of daily communication with God is important no matter what our life situations. The blog you read sounds like a very relevant one. And you have me thinking on your question now (how would those in prison define living well) too. 🙂

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