Love is an Action: the Not-So-Secret Secret to Leading a Meaningful Life
Mahatma Gandhi once said, ‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.’
Human beings are special. We are unique, and we are different from all other living creatures. We are the climax and crown of God’s creative work, and we are wonderfully made social beings. God created us to be in relationship with him and with others. As such, we need connection, and we have great capacity to love others.
It’s well-documented that those who live meaningful lives, characterised by purpose and service, have stronger personal relationships, fewer physical health problems and improved mental health. Living a meaningful life goes beyond our own personal desires or self-interests and extends to identifying our God-given gifts and using them to show love to others.
Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Professor Emerita of Psychological and Brain Sciences, writes: ‘It does feel good to obtain reinforcement in the form of personal rewards, but your overall well being is more enhanced when you do something for someone else.’
Students at Living Faith engage in an abundance of formal and informal activities that help to appreciate the value of leading a meaningful life. These activities are characterised by a sense of purpose and service, by showing love to others. They range from engaging in service-learning projects through to the simple act of sharing with peers. They also range from developing servant leadership qualities through to extending forgiveness regardless of whether or not the other person is sorry. These activities are underpinned by our school values: compassion, doing your best, forgiveness, respect, responsibility and teamwork.
We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19
Knowing we are unconditionally loved by God is the first step in leading a meaningful life. Reflecting God’s love in our relationships with others is the second step.
Love is a choice. And love is an action.
So, what are some simple ways we can action love in our daily lives? Here are just a few ideas.
- Contact someone you can’t be with to see how they are.
- Ask a friend how they’ve been feeling recently.
- Tell someone how they’ve made a difference in your life.
- Be gentle with someone you tend to criticise.
- Focus on being kind rather than being right.
- Forgive someone who hurt you in the past.
- Look for something to be thankful for, where you least expect it.
- Leave a positive message for someone to find.
- Make a gift for someone who’s feeling lonely.
- Congratulate someone for an action that usually goes unnoticed.
- Smile at a stranger.
- Listen wholeheartedly and without judgement.
Even if some of the ideas above feel hard at first, they serve as great topics for discussion over a family meal. After all, nurturing within children the ambition to love when it’s easy and to love when it’s difficult can come about through the simplest of family conversations.
This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 2 Corinthians 9:12