Life is its natural state of being. Some flowers are in full bloom and some a wilting and waiting for death.
At any given time, depending on your perspective and the narrative through which you filter life's events and trends, things are either going in the right direction or plunging into the depths of doom. Our instincts for self preservation are riding on desperation or momentum. We dearly desire to stay alive in something more meaningful than hollow existence. That can be a jive or we can thrive.
"Jive" can be the music of swing or the language of nonsense. It is an apt description of how many deal with challenges, dangers, and complexities in a chaotic world.
Like the dips, sways, and slides of a "Dancing with the Stars" episode or the meaningless chatter that fills in the blanks, we are caught up in malaise of shifting realities and inconsistent commentary.
We're standing on the beach during a particularly windy change of tide and it is hard to maintain a foothold.
And yet, some people thrive. It has been historically true and is true today.
We can thrive through the social, political, and economic jive.
First, we must stop listening to the jive of doomsayers and tune in to a different voice - the voice of the THRIVE.
Think on these things," the Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians, things that promote life, health, well-being, and wholeness. "These things" are the things that keep us truly alive.
This voice declares that to thrive, one must make six decisions:
1 - The T is for a commitment to TAP into everything that is positive, opportunistic, wholesome, encouraging, and substantive in the moment. Whatever music the band is playing, dance to the most positive rhythms and melodies that are interwoven into the composition of current events. Great ideas are still emerging; great art is being composed; great products are being manufactured; great lives are emerging. You can be a part of the greatness all around. That which others might mean for evil, Joseph of old learned, God might mean for good. TAP into the positive.
2 - The H is for HOLD and the commitment is to HOLD onto ones noblest, purist, and best values. Think on "whatsoever things are" worthy of your thoughts and maintain your commitments in spite of the obstacles. Too often, we sacrifice what is value on the altar of hardship for the sake of expediency. When we do so, we may survive, but we do not thrive. Your arrival at greatness surpasses survival of difficulty. Hold onto truth, goodwill, compassion, love, integrity, and your core mission in life. Hold on to your values. People who emerge from storms with their values intact build a foundation for lasting success and significance.
3 - The R is for RELEASE. Make a commitment to RELEASE the fear in your life into a vast sea of faith. Just let it go. Do not allow it to overcome, hinder, intimidate, or define you. Find what part of your personality is clinging to fear and release your grip. This is easier said than done because fear becomes ingrained. Start by disallowing any new fears to creep in no matter how reputable or respected their sources. "Fear not." Become a person of hope in the midst of the only context where hope is relevant - difficulty.
4 - The next commitment starts with the letter I and it is INVESTMENT. Invest your resources. Some will say that this is not the time to make investments. It may not be the time for foolish or frivolous investments, but it is the time to invest in yourself, your dreams, and your future. Discover the resources of time, money, energy, and influence that you possess which are available to you and, perhaps of greater value now than they were in boom times. INVEST your resources. Give yourself away. Make it a commitment.
5 - The V is for VISUALIZE. Make a commitment to visualize better times - but beyond that, a positive and glorious outcome to your efforts. Take the risk to see, hear, taste, and imagine a future that exists now only in your dreams. Be a visionary and shape that which is to come in your life and your world. This is called faith and it is a God thing. "For that which is seen is temporal, but that which is unseen is eternal."
6 - The E in THRIVE is for EFFORT. Don't kid yourself; there is some work to be done and you must do it if you will thrive in a time when others merely survive and many do not even do that. Discouragement, despondency, hopelessness, and cynicism will sap your faith and, in turn, your strength. You may not feel like putting forth the effort. Do it anyway. Sometimes you are merely choice or an activity away from a breakthrough when you quit. Don't quit. Keep on keeping on.
"Change and decay in all about I see. Oh Thou, who changest not, abide with me."
Whether or not the circumstances of your life change, you can change, and in that change, you can THRIVE.