Stop just surviving and start living

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For years now, I’ve been listening to the same Christian radio station. The music has encouraged me time after time. I turn the radio on in the car, in the kitchen and listen to it probably a few hours each day. My kids hear it as well. They love the music. I don’t realize how much they are listening until I hear them singing along or saying things they hear from the station. Three mornings a week on our way to preschool, my son and I hear a segment from comedian and speaker, Ken Davis. He uses humor to teach spiritual lessons and ends each segment with the tagline: “Lighten up and live.”

Last week, my son and I were grocery shopping together. Grocery shopping with a 4-year-old is a challenge in and of itself, but I was also feeling out of sorts and down in the dumps for a wide variety of reasons. I was struggling. In fact, while my son was at preschool that morning, I spent some time talking with my husband and weeping over how I was feeling. While I felt better after my conversation with my husband, I still was in a long-time funk. I had just grabbed a package of napkins from the shelf when my son piped up with, “Lighten up and live.” I stopped in my tracks and giggled with him that he said something I didn’t even know he had been paying attention to. So, of course, he had to repeat it a few times over the next couple of aisles as we filed our cart with toilet paper, cereal and applesauce.

As we moved through the store, I started thinking about that phrase (especially since I kept hearing it!). Lighten up and live. I thought back through the last few months and maybe even year as I’ve been surviving but not necessarily living. We all have phases of life like that where strife after strife piles upon us and just getting through the days is the best we can do. Is it so simple as to lighten up and live? Can we just walk lighter on faith off of the sidelines of life and into living life with purpose? I think so.

I also know, though, that I can’t do that alone. I don’t have it in me during these times when I’ve struggled and am battle weary to move off the sidelines. I need heavenly help to keep me going forward and into life. I need God’s help to really live and not just survive and get by. I can get off the sidelines and move forward. I can let God heal my spirit and enjoy life. Difficult circumstances and situations may not change, but neither does God and his faithfulness. When we feel most downtrodden, we can call on Him and know He will answer. He will hold us close when we need it and give us a push off the sidelines into the fray when we need that. Maybe we all need to learn to lighten up and live – really live!

Stacey A. Shannon is a freelance journalist and editor who lives in Indiana with her two young children and husband. She has a passion for shining God’s light into the world through the written word. Connect with her at www.facebook.com/writtencreations.

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