Many a time we find ourselves making resolutions to live, lead, and maintain a more productive and purpose-driven life. A life that brings honor, pride, and respect from and to humankind and the Creator. Human life, like that of all mortals, is short and finite. Therefore, it is only natural that we, as human beings, device ways to increase the quality of life we have. What defines a high-quality life? What are the parameters? A high-quality life is one that is purpose-driven, productive, and benefits both the subject person and those around them.
Human life, as it is, revolves around many aspects, which can be narrowed down substantially to three distinct categories, all based on the interactions we have. These are social, spiritual, and physical. There are several categories in which aspects of life can be organized into, but today, we shall focus only on the types mentioned above. Human beings interact with fellow humans, God, and with their bodies. These interactions are what constitute life itself. The vitality of a human being is concretely the interactions he/she has, and how best he/she performs these interactions is what defines the quality of human life.
The spiritual aspect of human life constitutes man’s interaction with God. Human beings, as creatures, have an inherent need to show reverence to a being that is much more superior to them. It, therefore, becomes necessary for them to find a supreme being to whom we can accredit that which they cannot explain or understand. Thus, the aspect of religion comes into focus. Faith allows man to channel this admiration and adoration towards a superior being. Numerous religions currently exist. For Christians, there is Christianity. They interact with God through reading and meditating on the Bible, offering prayers, and other acts of worship to Yahweh in a regular manner.
Christians are called upon to be a godly people who think, feel, and act in tandem with the principles and values of heaven. We are to lead a life that reflects and exudes the character of the person of Christ. We are to fully adopt the discipline of Jesus Christ in our lives, as we aim for eternal life with the second advent of Jesus Christ. That is essentially the back born of the spiritual aspect of the Christian life. It includes reading the Bible, the word of God, regularly, and praying often. This is how interaction with God happens. We read His word, worship Him, and present our petitions to Him, and in return, He answers them according to His will.
The other category of human interactions is social. This entails our interactions with fellow human beings. A purpose-driven life in regards to this sphere would involve the intentional creating of relationships with fellow human beings. Here, I do not only allude to romantic relationships. To achieve a high quality of life, then we must pursue high-quality friendships. There is always room for improvement. We can learn how to communicate better, listen better, speak better, and become better friends. This becomes even more vital during times like these when physical human interactions have been brought to a halt. Not to despair, though, technology has made life easier and more efficient. Check up on your friends more often. It does not cost much. Call them more often. Ask them how their day was, and actively listen to them speak.
This not only edifies your friendship but also sharpens your interpersonal skills. You become better at listening, and you develop deeper friendships. Your personal virtues come out to play, leading to an almost high-quality life. You also unknowingly promote perfect peace of mind when you are at peace with yourself, and when you are having blossoming friendships and social interactions. Purpose-driven friendships are built on trust, loyalty, love, and forbearance. These pillars are vital if a bond is to blossom. There should be room for making mistakes, where correction is done in a loving manner, and weaknesses are endured. If a friend wrongs you, there should be enough trust to believe that wrongs will not be repeated. Good friendships are not where we go to have fun, but are where we go to heal and learn. The kind of friends you attract is going to bring to the forefront the things you need to learn the most, or heal from or the thing that’s going to help you grow. Admit it when you are wrong and shut up when you are right. This is the simplest way to improve the quality of your social interactions drastically.
The final and equally important category is the physical, which encompasses the interactions we have with our bodies. What we eat, and our eating patterns, how we clean up, sleep, and our sleeping habits and exercises we perform to improve our body physique. According to the Bible, our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit. We are, therefore, merely stewards and are supposed to take care of that which is not ours. We are to be more keen and deliberate in the choice of foods we consume. To lead a purposeful life, we are to learn how to prepare and eat healthy foods. Experts on nutrition have written extensively on the subject of nutrition, and it remains our duty to learn from their wisdom. Our eating patterns, too, should be designed in a way that ensures vital nutrients are absorbed from the foods we eat. There is a litany of lifestyle diseases that have arisen from poor feeding, and for us to avoid and mitigate the risks involved, eating proper meals becomes a necessity.
Physical exercises and activities we do to improve our body shape and form also matter if we are to achieve a higher quality of life. We must pay attention to our bodies when they communicate. Yes, they do talk, and we should listen. There are numerous work out routines that have been developed to ensure our bodies are in good shape and form. We must adopt a workout schedule that best helps us remain good stewards of our bodies.
How often do you hit the shower? How many times do you take a bath in a day? Well, it should be regular and thorough. For me, significant decisions are made during my showers or baths. Cleanliness is next to godliness. So, go to that bathroom often. Take care of your body. For men, and I always say this, take cold showers in the morning. A cold shower boosts your testosterone hormone levels and gives you that aggressiveness you need to face the day’s challenges. This primal instinct is needful in a man. It is what makes a man attractive. Women need us to be aggressive. It is natural.
Sleep is another intrinsic aspect of the physical sphere of purposeful living. Dr. Eric Amunga, a Mandela Washington Fellow and expert on Men’s Health & Lifestyle Medicine, had this to say on sleep:
“You should sleep for 8 hours. There are two phases of sleep; the Non-Random Eye Movement (NREM), and the Random Eye Movement (REM). NREM is the deepest and dominates the first 5 hours of your sleep while REM dominates the last 3 hours. We dream during the REM. NREM is synchronized and slower. External signals from your environment and internal signals such as emotions are completely shut from communicating with your brain. Here the brain is sanitizing itself. REM is chaotic, lighter, and not synchronized. Here the brain is open to internal communication such as emotions, motivations, and memories, but closed to the external environment. The brain is recalibrating and remodeling your world. This is how you dream.”
From the doctor’s submissions, we can see how important sleep is. It is a body process. Be selfish with your sleep time. This means we should be intentional in locking out distractions that may affect our sleeping patterns.
To achieve and lead a purpose-driven life, one must strike a critical balance between the three categories. This, my friends, is not an easy task. It is a hard and treacherous path, but we must always strive to move one step closer to it. There will be a swathe of discouragements and a host of people pulling and shouting you down, but you must focus on your journey. Withstand the thorns you find on your path. At this point, I will quote one of my favorite writer’s letters to a student of his.
“You are under no obligation to remain the same person you were a year ago, a month ago, or even a day ago. You are here to create yourself and keep on recreating yourself, continuously.” – Feynman, April 1961 (Perfectly Reasonable Deviations from the Beaten Track, p.120)
I John 2:6,
2 Cor 10:5,
1 Pet 3:1-4.