I want to live a beautiful life and I imagine you do too. I am not talking about beautiful in terms of Insta-worthy, but rather, deep in my heart. I desire peace, joy, complete confidence in Christ, and an abundance of love. Ultimately, I am talking about cultivating a beautiful interior life. But when life is so noisy and full of bad news, how do we find this kind of joy?
Ephesians 4:22-24 sheds insight on how to do this: “Put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.”
Instead of adding on a new to-do list, it’s time to put away the things that are corrupt and harmful, and in doing so, we will find a much easier path to renewing our minds in the abundant love of God. Here are some everyday life areas we can examine to live more intentionally:
Many people are extremely health conscious. Being asked if you have any medical eating restrictions or allergies is incredibly common. Many people utilize their social media platforms as personal blogs to document their own health and fitness journeys. People today care a lot about health.
While taking care of our bodily health is important, we also need to tend to our spiritual health. If we want to enhance our interior life, we need to eradicate the muck and “junk food” that hurts our souls. This can be anything from books, movies, and music, to accounts we follow on social media.
What we consume, just like with our food, impacts us. Modernity loves overstuffing us with misandrous, promiscuous, anti-marriage content. We are not immune.
Honestly examine the things you are plugged into, and if they are not helping your sanctity, but encouraging negative thoughts, or prohibiting silence in your life, it’s time to remove them from your life.
Jordan Peterson once said to make friends with people who want the best for you, and I couldn’t agree more. Make friends with people who desire your salvation and want to see you grow in holiness. True friendships are founded on pursuing virtue.
Don’t be afraid to set healthy boundaries and be brutally honest with yourself. For example, you can ask yourself these questions: Are my friendships founded on vice (gossip, drinking, etc.)? Or are we both pursuing salvation? Do I leave my companions with a deeper desire to pursue the good, or do I come away as less than who I am called to be?
It’s easy to hang out with people just for the sake of company, but in doing so we might fill our time with people who do not desire the good for us, or have little interest in pursuing virtue. We are frail and fall over a lot, so it’s important to seek healthy relationships. In making friends with those who desire the best for us, we will find that we have friends who want us to be saints, challenge us, and delight in us as we delight, challenge, and desire the good for them.
Language: Your words matter.
According to St. Thomas Aquinas, language is an external tool meant to communicate truth, and as such it is governed by modesty. Our language is governed by modesty because it is “the virtue that moderates all the internal and external movements and appearance of a person according to his or her endowments, possessions, and station in life.”
Language is a beautiful and noble tool. Just like any tool, it can be misused and even abused. Language is not about manifesting our each and every emotion through self-consumed diatribes, expletives, complaints, and so forth, as society might have us believe. Rather, language is meant to communicate. If we are deliberate in our speech, we can find immense healing interiorly because words matter. Words have so much power, and the words we use greatly shape our lives.
Here are some questions to ask yourself regarding your language: What do I communicate? Do I communicate truth and goodness? Is my language moderated, clear, and precise? Or is it lazy, self-consumed, crass, and mindless?
The more dignified my language is, the healthier my mindset is.
The language we use should be worthy of who we are. It should be worthy of our interior dignity that was given to us by God. We are created in the image and likeness of God, created with an inherent preciousness that no one can take away. As such, our language should reflect that dignity and should be intentional.
We can practice this by eradicating foul words, choosing to listen instead of just responding, being precise, and avoiding complaining.
Practicing the Presence of God
The last thing we can do is practice the presence of God. At the end of the day, we live in a fallen world. And we need to live in this world. We can’t bury our heads in the sand, or simply hide in our rooms.
It’s important to note that we are not called to be naive. Malcolm Muggeridge once said we must have one foot in the city of man, but our eyes must be fixed on the City of God. He was so right. In order to help cultivate our interior lives by weeding out the muck that inevitably seeps into our brains, we should practice cultivating the presence of God.
All this means is that during the hubbub of our day, we take two-five minutes just to ponder and bask in the fact that God is present. That he is with us. Recalling this to mind on a habitual, daily basis helps us find joy and interior peace. In a few minutes, we can reorient our focus, and know that we are beloved children of God, and come what may, he’s got us.
Modernity is so loud and chaotic. It’s easy to get lost in the hullabaloo. But if we choose to slow down, be intentional in our words, relationships, and pastimes, remembering that we are in God’s loving presence, we will find an ethereal beauty taking root in our hearts. It is the kind of beauty that is so transforming and abundant it will pour out into our work, our friendships, our family life, and we will see that our everyday is just a little more fruitful.