So, are you alive?
That’s a silly question, right? Because clearly you wouldn’t be able to listen to this podcast if you weren’t alive. Your heart is beating; your lungs are drawing in breath. You are alive. You are living.
So, maybe I should ask, are you living in aliveness? Because that’s different, right?
Words we might recognize as Aliveness are awareness, mindfulness, receptiveness, alertness, attentiveness, preparedness, readiness.
The reason I bring attention to the definition of Aliveness is because we can certainly be alive and not have awareness, or mindfulness. We can be alive and not be alert or attentive; or prepared or ready.
In fact, we can be alive and also be absentminded, oblivious, unaware, careless, preoccupied, giving inattention to the details of our lives - all of which are the opposite of Aliveness.
I can’t think of anything more devastating than the reality of living this life here on earth and still not truly living; not living in aliveness.
In fact, there was a time when I didn’t think I would ever feel that definition of aliveness again. And if I was not truly living, then I didn’t think I had anything more to live for. I hope that doesn’t bother you to hear that. I’m just being honest. Fortunately, my God didn’t allow me to wallow in that pity-party for long. He quickly showed me that the trauma I experienced through my husband’s death, and in fact ALL of my life’s experiences, were exactly what ushered me into aliveness.
Friend, have the things you’ve come up against, the pain and sorrow, the heart break and devastation, have they made you numb? Kept you from even being aware of your own wonderfulness, and the uniqueness in which you meant to live here on earth? Have the hardships pushed you into the corner where you’ve sat absentminded of your aliveness, oblivious and unaware of the possibilities of newness and redemption and hope? If you can identify with any of this, hear your Heavenly Father calling you out of this darkness and into the Light of Aliveness.
So, how can you know if you’re living in Aliveness? Well, I thought we’d just look at these words defining Aliveness and we can just take a little assessment. The first three (awareness, mindfulness, and receptiveness) all are a state of being aware.
The second two, alertness and attentiveness, are a state of being ready to act when the need arises. So, it’s being aware and being ready. Well, being aware of what?
Purpose. It’s being aware, being mindful, being receptive to the way that you were uniquely designed - that is your exact personality (whether that’s full of fun quirks or you’re a natural born leader and influencer; whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, with your big, loud personality, or your quiet, reserved demeanor) your exact personality, combined with your natural gifts and talents, coupled with your intelligence and all of life’s experiences - all of this makes up your purpose. Do you love to paint? Do you love to write - maybe poems or short stories or songs? Do you get totally energized by organizing people for a cause? Are you passionate about cooking? Are you good at technology? Does spatial awareness come easily to you? Aliveness is being aware of exactly how God made you and WHO He made you to be. There is a reason you are exactly the way you are! Everything about you is on purpose for a purpose.
Becoming aware is why I’m so clear as to what I’m supposed to do for the rest of my life on this earth. I know without a shadow of a doubt that my purpose is to use how I’ve been uniquely designed, what I know, where I’ve been, and what I’ve experienced to help bring healing and hope to someone else who struggling or feels broken. I’ve been made for this. Shaped for this. And I’m truly living in aliveness.
You’ve heard someone say, I’m sure, “that just makes me come alive.” What do you suppose they mean? My gut tells me that it’s an exhilarating feeling of passion coupled with purpose that comes when we’re doing what we love and were made to do.
Can you stop just a minute and think about yourself, your personality, your life, your life’s experiences, your natural gifts and talents; the fullness of what makes you uniquely you? What makes you come alive? What brings you joy? What makes you feel energized? What are you passionate about? Your purpose is found in the culmination of all of these.
If you have the time and are in a place to do so, I’d encourage you to stop this recording right now and answer those questions. Ask your Heavenly Father to reveal His purpose for your life; ask Him to bring you into full Aliveness.
So, we said aliveness is being aware and being ready. Ready with alertness and attentiveness. So, if you’ve explored what makes you come alive, what you were created to do here on this earth, what your purpose is, then being in a state of aliveness means that you give that thing your attention so as to be ready. In Second Timothy 4:2, the Apostle Paul is telling his protégé, Timothy, to be ready to do what he’s been called to do, his purpose, at any time - in season or out of season he says. Be ready. Be alert and attentive. God will use you, your story, your gifts and talents, your passions, that which makes you come alive, for a very important, very specific, very necessary assignment here on earth. And do not brush aside the truth that every little thing you’ve come up against, every little thing you’ve experienced, every uphill battle, how you’ve pushed through, how you’ve refused to give up, everything you’ve done or has been done to you has brought you to the place you are today and is an integral part of your life’s purpose. Every little thing. It doesn’t disqualify you, but qualifies you in your purpose.
Now, maybe when I asked if you were living in aliveness, you automatically thought of spark, and joy, and passion. But did you know that living in aliveness is experiencing all that life has to offer you? Yes, it certainly is spark and joy and passion, excitement and energy. But we are setting ourselves up for disappointment if we only accept the positive emotions and experiences and not the negative. Remember, some of the hard things you’ve experienced in life are some of the very things that make you uniquely suited for your specific purpose. Living in aliveness means that we’re living in and experiencing everything this human life offers. Being willing to be intimately acquainted with all of the emotions we’ve been created to feel is the full human experience. Discomfort, sadness, grief, heart break, disappointment - if you’re willing to experience everything, that is the fullness of being alive. Aliveness.
God created you with all the emotions. There’s a reason for that.
So, the goal is to experience everything this human life offers, without falling into a pit of depression, or hopelessness. You can feel alive even in sadness.
And how do we do that?
Listen to what Apostle Paul said about himself and those who were living out their purpose alongside him: “Our work as God’s servants gets validated—or not—in the details. People are watching us as we stay at our post, alertly, unswervingly . . . in hard times, tough times, bad times; when we’re beaten up, jailed, and mobbed; working hard, working late, working without eating; with pure heart, clear head, steady hand; in gentleness, holiness, and honest love; when we’re telling the truth, and when God’s showing his power; when we’re doing our best setting things right; when we’re praised, and when we’re blamed; slandered, and honored; true to our word, though distrusted; ignored by the world, but recognized by God; terrifically alive, though rumored to be dead; beaten within an inch of our lives, but refusing to die; immersed in tears, sorrowful, yet always filled with deep joy. Second Corinthians 6:1 though 10, The Message Bible.
Did you see that? All these experiences, all the emotions that go along with them, “yet always filled with deep joy.” It’s really interesting here that The Apostle Paul uses the word joy, that in the Greek, literally means to be glad or happy. As Christians, sorrow and happiness can coexist in our experiences at the same time. Life is full of good things and bad things. And joy and sorrow are able to happen simultaneously in our lives. That’s normal Christian living.
And it is true that you cannot know what happiness is if you do not also experience sadness. The contrast is the difference in living instead of just existing.
And accepting, and even embracing the fullness of human emotion is living in aliveness.
So, I’ll go back to where I started. And that’s asking you, friend, are you living in aliveness? When you look at your life, are you able to easily identify your unique gifts and talents - those things that set you apart, those things that come naturally to you, those things that make you special? If you can’t easily see them, perhaps you’ll take some time to ask the Lord to show you. He’s made each one of us unique and special, with special abilities to use for a specific purpose. That includes you! You just need to allow yourself to become aware and mindful and receptive to those unique things. That’s the first part of aliveness. And then the second part is to become alert and attentive to what He’s purposed for you to do. The culmination of all that you are and all of your life’s experiences will point you straight to your life’s purpose. This is where you’ll find aliveness. Not just being alive; not just existing in this world but coming alive. Exactly as God has created you to be - living in full, passionate aliveness.