Living life and arriving safely at death

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Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Mark Batterson

“Be careful.”

“Stay safe.”

I say these phrases a lot. It’s habit. And I don’t really think that’s a bad thing. Safety is important – especially when it comes to our children. Unfortunately, we’ve become so concerned about safety that we act like it’s the only reason to live. We act like safety is the purpose of life. At least, I have acted like that from time to time. Mark Batterson has helped change my perspective about safety and the purpose of life.

His book, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, is one of the books that changed my life when I first read it. It’s a relatively short read, but it’s packed with some powerful words. One of the quotes that hit me square between the eyes is this one:

Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death.

It’s the first point in his Lion Chaser Manifesto. If we live our lives concerned with safely arriving at the end of life, we set ourselves up for a life guided by fear. And a life dominated by fear leads to a lot of regrets. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to look back and wonder what might have been.

We’re not going to change the world by sitting idly by. We’re not going to change the world by allowing safety to be our only guiding force. If we’re going to change the world, we’re going to have to take risks. We might even have to live dangerously on occasion.

Yes, safety is something to consider. But it cannot be the driving force of our lives. It cannot be the purpose of our lives. Because when we use safety as our guiding force, we allow fear to creep in. We allow fear to control us.

And we all know that LOVE drives out fear.

When we live our lives full of fear, we miss out on the great adventure we were created to live. We live a less-than-full life. That not only impacts our lives, but the lives of the world around us.

No more fear. Live dangerously.

So live dangerously, my friends. Take a risk. It might be something as simple as walking next door and getting to know you neighbor. Or it might mean flying halfway around the world to stand in the gap for the voiceless, powerless, and oppressed. It might mean opening your home to a family of refugees. I don’t know where your journey will take you. But we cannot allow the idol of safety paralyze us. There is too much work to do. We have too much life to live.

So get up. Get moving. And change the world. That’s what love compels us to do.

That’s what we were made for. It’s what it means to live. And it behooves us to live.


If you’re interested in more about the Lion Chaser Manifesto, I recommend you check out these books. Let me warn you: they might change your life.

in-a-pit-with-a-lion-on-a-snowy-day chase-the-lion

 

Unpacking our Family Motto

Todd Family Crest

Todd Family Motto: It behooves us to live!

Does your family have a motto?

I recently asked this on social media and here are some of the responses I received:

Those are some pretty good responses. If your family doesn’t have a motto, you might consider stealing borrowing one of these. Family mottos are kind of like mission statements. They can be a guiding force, helping to direct your family along the way. Even the House of El has a family motto (“Stronger Together,” according to the Supergirl TV series).

Apparently, the Todd family has had a motto for decades. Maybe even for centuries. I don’t really know how long it has been the Todd Family Motto or if it even has a direct connection with my family. Either way, I’ve come to claim it as our own.

“It behooves us to live.”

Sounds familiar. Right? I mean, you see it right up there in the header.

It behooves us to live

It’s only five words long. But those five words say a lot, don’t they? With so much packed into so few words, I plan on spending some time unpacking the message of our family motto. This statement isn’t just our family motto. It has also become the underlying force behind this site. In many ways, it’s become this blog’s mission statement.

So here’s the deal: once a week for the next few weeks (or maybe the whole year – I haven’t decided yet), I’m going to share thoughts about what “It behooves us to live!” means in our everyday lives. It might be a quote. It might be a word or a definition or even a long essay or a short video. I’m not entirely sure how it will manifest itself as the weeks unfold. But it will be a journey. An encouraging, inspiring, and challenging journey. And there might be a little bit of fun thrown in from time to time, too.

Who knows? Maybe you have something to say about our family motto. What does “It behooves us to live!” mean to you? Maybe you’d like to share your thoughts in a guest post? I’m certainly open to that. Shoot me an email and let’s get to work!

For today, I leave you with the same question I asked at the beginning of this post. Do you have a family motto? If so, what is it? Please share it in the comments below!

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“It’s not gonna matter…”

"It's not gonna matter if you have a few scars. It will matter if you didn't live." Rich Mullins

Christy and I saw Ragamuffin, the movie based on the life of Rich Mullins, this past weekend. Quite a bit of it is still rattling around in my brain. This quote was used in the film and it hasn’t left me since I heard it. It sounds like a challenge. A challenge to accept the gift that God has given us and live life in relentless pursuit of God.

Challenge accepted?

“So go out and live real good and I promise you’ll get beat up real bad. But, in a little while after you’re dead, you’ll be rotted away anyway. It’s not gonna matter if you have a few scars. It will matter if you didn’t live.”

Rich Mullins
Lufkin, Texas
July 19, 1997

 

Live life this Thanksgiving!

Big Crazy Family Picture

Thanksgiving is almost upon us. I’m looking forward to the turkey and the cheesy veggie casserole that used to be a staple at Grandmama’s family dinners, and the mashed potatoes and the desserts. I’m also looking forward to spending time with my family.

I hope you are, too!

In the spirit of the season and with the Todd family motto, “It behooves us to live!” in mind,  I hope you make the most of every opportunity you have during this extended weekend.

Love. Laugh. Cry. Do something spontaneous. Make a memory with your spouse, your children, your parents, your friends, or some other significant other. Give generously. Surprise someone. Write a poem. Try a new recipe. Sing at the top of your lungs. Play. Pray. Dance.

As an expression of your thankfulness, do whatever you can to suck the marrow out of life and live it to the fullest.

Happy Thanksgiving.

In a good place

In addition to our brief taste of Heaven during Homecoming at Milligan, I came to a realization about life in the Todd house. I know I’ve known this for quite some time but I was finally able to admit it to myself and say it with some confidence.

We’re in a good place.

The big kids have adapted well to all areas of middle school life. Mihret is loving Kindergarten and has special services available to her that would not have been as easily accessible if we still lived in Cowan.

We’re in a good place.

Christy is working at her dream job; providing Special Education services in a Christian school environment. I’m really liking the direction our company is taking. I get the opportunity to help blaze a new trail as we strive to remain leaders in our industry.

We’re in a good place.

Show Hope Celebration

For the last 10+ years, or hearts have been drawn towards new church work. That’s why I enrolled at ESR ECS to begin with. That’s why we became so invested in Sonlife/Southside/Summit Church. That also makes me wonder why I wound up pastoring a church that was more than 110 years old. But that’s a moot point for the purposes of this conversation. It’s probably worth addressing at some point. But not now. It was what it was.

Because of the soft spot in our hearts for new church startups, we knew the moment our pastor announced the vision that we would be participants in the establishment of a new satellite campus of our church. After a year or so of being pretty gun shy about committing to any type of ministry involvement other than the occasional preaching gig, it has been exciting to participate in this new effort and to watch people come to Jesus for the first time.

We’re in a good place.

Don’t get me wrong. We’ve had our share of uncertainty, worry, and heartache since moving here. But even with the difficulties that come with life, we have a strong Life Group and a growing group of friends to lean on. I’m glad we’re somewhere we can share our journey with others who rejoice when we rejoice and hurt when we hurt. I firmly believe that God has just begun to write the opening paragraphs of our next chapter here. And I think I can safely say that it’s going to be a roller coaster ride. I’m looking forward to what’s next.

Because we’re in a good place.

O is for Outstanding!

O is for Outstanding A to Z Challenge 2013

Words can bring death or life!

Proverbs 18:21a

You know the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” I get the point behind the phrase. But it’s dead wrong. The words I speak as a husband, dad, friend, son, brother, uncle, co-worker, neighbor…they carry immense power.

Today, I’m choosing to speak words of life over death. Words like:

outstanding

amazing

wonderful

awesome

stupendous

fabulous

fantastic

lovely

beautiful

awe-inspiring

well done

good job

I’m proud of you

I love you

Care to join me? What words are you adding to your vocabulary today?

I think we’ll find our own attitudes a little brighter if we choose to allow life to pour out of our mouths instead of words that hurt, mock, and destroy. Let’s choose to be life-givers with the words we say today.

We just might find the world a little bit brighter, a little bit more joyful, a little more full of life.