Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Living the Sweet Life: Lucado, Part 2

How do we get out of being bored, stressed-out overworked drudges? This is the subject of Max Lucado’s new book Cure for the Common Life. We can live in the “sweet spot,” which Lucado explains is the convergence of three areas of life: the everyday life, the purpose of glorifying God, and the assessment of your strengths. “Here is the big idea,” he says: “Use your uniqueness (what you do) to make a big deal out of God (why you do it) every day of your life (where you do it) (7).

The major theme of the book is that God knew exactly what he wanted you to do when he made you, back before you were born, and he gave you the equipment you would need to do it. “You were born prepacked,” he says. “God looked at your entire life, determined your assignment, and gave you the tools to do the job” (13). The trick is to “unpack your bag,” which is uniquely yours, and see what is there; then do the job.

Lucado quotes Soren Kierkegaard, who wrote, “At each man’s birth there comes into being an eternal vocation for him, expressly for him. To be true to himself in relation to this eternal vocation is the highest thing a man can practice” (18). Kierkegaard was one of the foremost philosophers of existentialism, the philosophy concerned with meaning and purpose in life. According to the more positive existentialists, I always tell my literature students, man (and woman—I’m not trying to be exclusive here) is responsible for searching for meaning in life—for deliberately pursuing meaning so that life will be full and rich.

So this understanding that Lucado explains is important. Lucado does not write for theologians and philosophers; he writes for everyday ordinary people like me, in our language. He says, “When you live out of the bag God gave, you discover an uncommon joy” (19). He means essentially the same thing as Kierkegaard, just in more ordinary words, just as true.

I was telling my brother Jim about this the other day. He is a pilot who loves his work. He said he understands exactly what Lucado means. He said, “I still can’t believe I actually get paid to do what I love to do!”

On Lucado’s web site, you will find a free “webinar” based on his book Cure for the Common Life. He explains how to find that “sweet spot.” Look it up!

Lucado, Max. Cure for the Common Life: Living in Your Sweet Spot. Nashville: W Publishing Group of Nelson, 2005.

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