Instill Life Into Your Day
Updated: Jan 23, 2018
Every day we choose life or death on a regular basis
Every single person on earth inherently carries the force of life inside of him. This force fuels him, protects him and prevents him from becoming stagnant, generating constant growth and change in his mind and body. In addition, everyone carries inherent death within them as well. In other words, our virile, vibrant bodies are gradually advancing toward an inevitable decline that leads to the cessation of everything physical - that is, death.
But did you know that life and death is also present in our everyday activities? In every thing we say and do? Each day we are making choices that accomplish either one thing or another: they cultivate life or propagate death. These actions can be classified into life-producing or death-inducing categories. To put it simply, anything that pertains to life will have a productive quality to it. Anything that pertains to death with have a destructive nature in it. Life builds, while death destroys. Life adds to, but death subtracts from. Just like the add and subtract symbols themselves, life is a positive (+) while death is a negative (−).
These descriptions of Life and Death are very simple, and yet profound if you really think about them. Every day we are contributing to life or death! Examples?
Waking up and Showering = LIFE PRODUCING - Productive/Building/Adding To
Cleaning House = LIFE PRODUCING - Productive/Building/Adding To
Going to Work = LIFE PRODUCING - Productive/Building/Adding To
Showing Kindness = LIFE PRODUCING - Productive/Building/Adding To
Serving Others = LIFE PRODUCING - Productive/Building/Adding To
Cooking a Meal = LIFE PRODUCING - Productive/Building/Adding To
Taking a Class = LIFE PRODUCING - Productive/Building/Adding To
Worshipping, Praying = LIFE PRODUCING - Productive/Building/Adding To
Isolating Oneself = DEATH INDUCING - Destructive/Destroying/Subtracting From
Lack of Hygiene = DEATH INDUCING - Destructive/Destroying/Subtracting From
Disorder (in Home, e.g.) = DEATH INDUCING - Destructive/Destroying/Subtracting From
Addictive Behaviors = DEATH INDUCING - Destructive/Destroying/Subtracting From
Negative Judgments = DEATH INDUCING - Destructive/Destroying/Subtracting From
Self Pity = DEATH INDUCING - Destructive/Destroying/Subtracting From
Consistent Anger = DEATH INDUCING - Destructive/Destroying/Subtracting From
Ruled by Anxiety = DEATH INDUCING - Destructive/Destroying/Subtracting From
These are just a few of a thousand actions that can be grouped into life producing or death inducing categories. Some of these activities appear mundane, but don't let their pedestrian nature diminish the importance they hold in your life. All it takes to value the commonplace is to no longer have it. People who have suffered tragic accidents or debilitating disease will sometimes find themselves weak, bedridden, or confined to a wheelchair. Sickness is a younger cousin of death and can rob us of our ability to execute even the most simple of tasks. When we are no longer capable of performing those drudging chores, our attitude changes drastically toward them and we pine for the days when we were healthy enough just to maintain our house. All of a sudden, those formerly dreaded activities have become cherished like never before. As the song goes, "Don't it always seem to go, that we don't know what we've got till it's gone?" Remember this: Anything productive has value and adds life, no matter how banal its function may be.
Did you know that your communication can also be life producing or death inducing? Anytime you make an affirming statement directly to or about someone, you are actually speaking life over them. There is a spiritual element to it. Even if you're not speaking directly to this person, you are depositing encouraging words into the atmosphere that cultivate vigor and strength ... all qualities that promote the extension and enhancement of life itself. The physical and spiritual are inextricably linked. Conversely, anytime you make a derogatory statement about someone, you are speaking death over them. You may find this concept a little extreme - a bit over the top. You may think, "This is too black and white. I am certainly not wishing death upon people!"
But it isn't about deliberately wishing life or death upon others. This is not something we consciously do. Even though our actions are subtle, they are still powerful. In addition to having a psychological effect, our words function on an intangible level. The consequences of our conversation may be gradual and take years to manifest, but they do have an effect. And because they are spiritual, they may end up blessing us or haunting us in illusive ways.
How about the cranky old man that doesn't want anything to do with his neighbors? There are likely many reasons for his miserable state. Is it possible that he has gradually been reaping the death he has spoken over his own family, himself and others throughout his life? No one visits, no one checks in on him. His words have isolated him. How about the cynical middle aged woman who has no ability or desire to acknowledge a God of miracles, and scoffs at anyone who does? Her life's journey has been a difficult one, causing her foundational perspective to be hopelessly pessimistic. She could be on her third or fourth marriage. Her cynicism is off-putting, but she's blind to the extent of it. Another example is the man whose mother was always selfish and immature, neglecting her children's needs while fulfilling her own. He begins to sub-consciously despise women. Now he treats his own wife like an object, verbally abusing her in order to assuage his own insecurities. In addition, he is unfaithful to her as he has never understood how to value her. After their divorce, she ends up anxious and dysfunctional.
You can cue the dramatic score here! Because it's true. How you think, speak and act really does generate life or death in you and other's lives!
It is so vital that we monitor our communication with (and about) those around us, especially our family. Children can grow up deeply wounded and dysfunctional if we as parents do not consistently praise them and remind them of what is so amazing about them. (We need to do this regularly throughout our children's lives, but especially in their formative years!) We must also watch our actions along with our words. Do we create a peaceful environment for our little ones? In addition to words, our own emotional state plays a role in our children's psychological health as well.
And unless they are in on the humor, spouses and children can feel bruised and betrayed when we crack seemingly innocuous jokes about them at their expense. We must consider the sensitivity of those we love. Their level of tolerance may be very different from ours. We may not see the harm in our passing remarks, but they do. Disguising our subtle insults with humor does not diminish the destructive nature of them. We never know the insecurities we may be triggering. Even worse if we communicate our disapproval directly to our spouse and children on a regular basis. This goes for all situations. Employees can be demoralized if they rarely hear gratification and encouragement from their bosses. Athletes need inspiration from their coaches, and students need approval from their teachers. Friends and family need praise from one another.
The list goes on and on.
Many world religions speak about the fact that what we say and do will come back around (producing life (productivity) or death (destruction). Hindus believe reincarnation will reveal how we lived our last life. Buddhists believe in karma. The Bible itself informs that we reap what we sow, exhorting us to choose life in all we do and say, preferring one another, and doing unto others as we would have them do to us.
Communication is a powerful thing. The Bible also states, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue." Proverbs 18:21 This confirms that what we speak has inherent impact - spiritual power within each word to build up or tear down, produce or destroy, add or subtract. Words of life beget life. Words of death beget death.
The"Sticks and Stones"poem is simply not true. Words do hurt ... words can destroy. But when they are favorable, they can also propagate a strong sense of self in ourselves and others, depositing LIFE! No matter how we are wired, how we were raised, whether we are presently experiencing a good or bad situation - none of these circumstances matter in the final analysis. What does matter are the choices we make today. The past is behind us and the future is not yet. No matter what our lot is in life, we are each responsible for our own actions and how we treat others. Today is a new day, and change begins now. Even if we fail, we can continually make course adjustments as we move onward and upward.
The Bible gives us another admonition to make the right choice:
"I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live." Deuteronomy 30:19
Do not underestimate the power of emotions, actions, and words! From now on, propagate life in all you say and do. Determine to spend your life living instead of dying. Because in the end, it really is a matter of life or death!