Living a Phenomenelle Life ...
... in a time where everyone is striving for “perfection”.
What does it mean to live a phenomenal life?
First off, let me tell you -- there's no set way to live a phenomenal life. Right now, we're currently living in a time where it seems everyone is striving for "perfection", or at least what looks like perfection. We're bombarded daily with photos, videos, and snaps of what people portray as a perfect life. We have what seems like unlimited access to other people's lives online. While we're busy staring at someone else's life through a screen, or even at what we portray online to others, do we stop to assess our real lives once we put our phone down?
Let me start by saying that there is no such thing as a perfect life (all views are my own). While social media has the power to connect people across the world and stimulate conversation across borders, it can also be a toxic environment, one that starts to make you assess yourself and your life, and not always in the most positive way.
Social media is filled with highlight reels, but let's take a look at our lives offline.
Last week, I featured on The M Word podcast where I spoke about what it means to live a phenomenal life. If you haven't had the chance to listen, check out Episode 3: Living a Phenomenelle Life on Apple or Spotify.
After listening to the episode, I wanted to emphasise some of the points I made about what it means to live a phenomenal life:
1. Living a phenomenal life means living YOUR life. YOURS. Not someone else’s.
You weren't born attached at the hip to someone else, and when it's time to leave earth, you won't be going with anyone else. So, you need to utilise this precious time you have been given and stop living life peering through someone else's lenses. Living a phenomenal life means taking control of the life you have been given. It means living life in a way that is complementary to who you are as an individual. It means that you know that we're all called to be and do different things in life. Once you accept that and walk boldly in your purpose, you won't be so keen to envy someone else's life because you accept that we've all been given different playing cards in life.
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."
Before you were born, you were already set apart by the Lord, so why are you trying to attach yourself to someone else's identity? Don't disqualify yourself or do yourself a disservice. There's nothing wrong with healthy admiration of someone else's life, as long as you remember that your life is also worth admiring, and worth living your way.
2. Living a phenomenal life doesn't mean you are perfect or your life is.
Whose life is perfect? Not mine, that's for sure. I've come to accept my life the way it is, every good, great and not so great thing about it. Every single experience and emotion I've encountered, has contributed to the woman I am today. When I take a good look at my life and the way it's turned out, I'm happy with the years I've been blessed with. Life isn't perfect and we're not perfect. That's not to say that humans aren't amazing, marvellous creations, but it's just accepting that we as human beings are flawed;
"Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins."
but remember that
"The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning."
So with every morning you are blessed with, remember that the perfect life doesn't really exist, but you can live your life in a way that means it's perfect for you.
3. Strive for progress.
"Progress will keep you moving; Perfection will slow you down". This is something I've really understood to be true in my life. There's no such thing as the perfect moment. We're given 86,400 seconds in the day, so why do we stress about finding the perfect moment to start or do something? Where does that even come from? If you keep waiting for the "perfect" moment, you'll never start. Something will always get in the way of that "perfect" moment, meaning your standards of "perfection" will constantly evolve, and if its constantly evolving then how can you decide when it's perfect?
But progress ... progress is something to strive for. Progress is "forward or onward movement toward a destination". If you're waiting for something to be perfect, you're literally at a standstill. But if you allow yourself to progress with something, then it means you're moving and taking steps to where you want to be or achieve what you want to achieve.
If you're someone who finds it hard to start things, take the pressure off yourself and what you've associated with what you're trying to achieve. While you're waiting for things to be perfect, you're actually slowing yourself down and keeping yourself further from your goals and aspirations. So don't let perfection get in the way and start by making small steps of progress.
As Dory says, just keep swimming!
"12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us."
4. Be consistent and disciplined.
If you want to see results in anything you're working towards, you have to remain consistent and disciplined. Forget about being motivated! Motivation comes and goes. Today you're motivated to go to the gym, and tomorrow you're not. Today you're motivated to study and write that essay and an hour later you're ready to stop writing (we've all been there!). To be disciplined is to exercise a form of self-control or way of working. To be consistent is to do something the same way over and over again. So if you exercise self-control in an activity that you perform over and over again, you're bound to see results.
"Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified."
1 Corinthians 9:27
5. Move at the pace God is telling you to - don't look to the world for standards of living.
Sometimes it seems like we're all trying to achieve a gold star in life. In school, we were given criteria to achieve A*'s and A's, 1st classes and 2:1's, distinctions and merits and 9's and 8's.
School may be over for some of us, but it seems as if we've transferred that criteria over to life.
Our generation has become obsessed with keeping up with the Joneses and documenting every aspect of our lives. But in doing that we sometimes fail to acknowledge God and HIS will for our life. We see other people making boss moves in their lives and try to adopt the same formula for our own lives, but you've not even stopped to think about whether what that person is doing is even right for you.
"In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps."
"Abba, Father", he said "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."
Move at the pace God is telling you to. Don’t be focused on what others are doing. While you may focus on planning your life, be comforted by the fact that God's will for your life is greater than you could ever imagine for yourself.
6. Have a vision for your life.
Vision is the art of seeing; it's creating and planning your future. Vision is sowing seeds in your mind for your life. Once you sow that seed, you now need to start watering it. Once you have that vision, you need to execute and implement it.
How many new year's resolutions or covenants have you made in your life that have stayed unfulfilled? I'm guilty of this, but thankfully, because I have a vision for my life, I have a reminder of what I need to work towards.
"Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it."
If you can take time to write down your visions for your life and start working on them, in time, you'll see that you're achieving the things that were once written down as New Year's resolutions.
**Remember that as you go about working towards fulfilling your life vision, don’t put pressure on yourself or compare what you're doing to others. It's the vision for your life, not theirs!
7. Don't allow fear to stop you from walking in your purpose or calling.
Fear can be crippling and destabilizing. A lot of us worry that we won't reach our potential in life and that's because we let fear creep in and prevent us from moving towards where we would like to be. Fear is not of God. Fear is a crucifying spirit. If you let it take over it can rob you of your joys in life. We put pressure on ourselves because of the idealised "perfect" version of ourselves and the lives we've created in our minds.
Sometimes we let irrational fears take control but I always find peace in this scripture:
"For God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of love, power and of a sound mind."
2 Timothy 1:7
8. Comparison robs you of your individuality. Embrace who you are.
Have you ever had something stolen from you? It's a major violation for someone to come into your personal space or environment and take something that belongs to you. It's wrong and we don't condone stealing, but when we compare ourselves to other people, what we're doing is leaving a door wide open to allow ourselves to be robbed. We're robbing ourselves of our individuality and uniqueness. We're no longer a victim but a perpetrator. We betray ourselves by comparing ourselves to others. Remember I said earlier that healthy admiration is okay as long as you remember that your life is also worth admiring.
There comes a point when comparing yourself to other people becomes mentally exhausting and damaging. You don't need to try and be someone else. There's only one YOU out there. Embrace who you are, your quirks, and your flaws too. It adds to the beauty of who you are. There are blessings over your name and life that no one can take because they're God-ordained.
God wants us to shine:
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
Matthew 5:14 -15
So I want to leave you with these final thoughts -
A phenomenal life is living a life that compliments who you are as an individual.
There's no such thing as the perfect life.
Be your own cheerleader in life! Encourage, uplift and support yourself.
You can be a work in progress and a masterpiece.
You won't always be motivated. Learn to be disciplined.
Living a phenomenal life is recognising the beauty in your life and tending to it.
We betray ourselves when we try to be like someone else.
You were created with purpose and intention and your life needs to be lived by you and for you.
Sending love and positivity your way