The other day, my best friend and I visited a jewelry shop in the mall because she wanted to show me the engagement ring her boyfriend and she had picked out when he was in town last week.
We scurried to the counter like excited children on Christmas morning, and she grinned as she pointed it out. “That one!”
I ooh-ed and ahh-ed at the ring. It was gorgeous. :)
As I was driving home, I thought about how weird it was that my best friend would soon be engaged. I’ve been friends with this girl since we were 13, and it doesn’t feel like we should be old enough to be getting married yet… despite the fact that we are…
And then I thought about how I should be engaged. Not engaged as in soon to be married, but engaged with life.
My friend, we can be engaged even if we aren’t planning a wedding.
The Miriam-Webster online dictionary defines engaged as the following:
- Envolved in activity
- Pledged to be married
We can be engaged if we are single, dating, “pledged to be married,” or a wife. Our engagement has nothing to do with our relationship status.
Why we should live a life that’s engaged:
We as Christians are called to be active. Before Jesus left this earth, He commanded us to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).
Being engaged in an activity is more than just surface level involvement. It requires us to be all in. Dedicated. Getting our head in the game. (Did the High School Musical song just pop in anyone else’s head…?)
We are called to love God and love people, and love isn’t just words; love is action. Love requires doing, going, and being. (See Matt. 22:37-39.)
How we can live a life that’s engaged:
There are 5 main ways I think we can be engaged with life.
- Engaged with God
- Engaged with family/friends
- Engaged with your church
- Engaged at your workplace/school
- Engaged with the world
1. Engaged with God
I had lunch the other day with a dear friend of mine, and she shared how she had been struggling with her relationship with God previously this year. “And it’s so annoying!” she said, “Because if something’s off in your relationship with God, you know it’s not Him messing it up (since He’s perfect!) so it must be you!”
In order for us to live a life that’s engaged, we must first be engaged with our heavenly Father.
A few questions we can ask ourselves to know if we are engaged with God:
- Do we consistently read His word?
- Do we pray and listen for His response?
- Are we putting Him first in our lives?
- Do we enjoy spending time with Him?
- Do we trust Him 100% with everything?
I don’t know about you, but those questions make me squirm in my seat.
I want my relationship with God to be healthy, but honestly I don’t know if it is.
Some things I’m going to do to be more engaged with God:
- Read my Bible consistently and reflect on what I read.
- Even if I can only manage one verse a day at first, I want to go deep into that verse.
- Pray consistently
- …and about things other than whether or not my crush will ever ask me out.
- Read books that encourage me to pursue Him.
- Memorize scripture.
2. Engaged with family/friends
AKA- building quality relationships.
How are we spending time with our friends and family? Do we encourage them? Or does our attitude bring them down?
As I mentioned above, love is action. Love requires demonstration.
Some questions we can ask to see if we are actively loving our friends and family (based on 1 Cor. 13):
- Am I being patient?
- Am I being kind?
- Do I trust?
- Am I truthful?
- Am I hopeful?
- Do I persevere?
Some questions we can ask to see if we are NOT actively loving our friends and family (based on 1 Cor. 13):
- Am I being envious?
- Am I boastful or prideful?
- Do I keep a record of wrongs?
- AmI rude?
- Am I self-seeking?
- Do I become easily angered?
The only one who always had perfect relationships was Jesus Christ. So to see how the questions above can be perfectly lived out, we should examine His life (and this leads us back to point #1).
Of course, we will make mistakes because we are sinful, but by following Jesus’ example and by pursuing Him first and foremost, we can live engaged with the people closest to us.
The two main ways we can be engaged with our friends and family are:
- Spend time with them
- Encourage them
Related: 4 Simple Ways to Encourage a Friend
3. Engaged with your church
This kinda ties points #1 and #2 together.
Being engaged with your church will inevitably help you grow closer to God. On the opposite side of the coin, being engaged with your church will help you gain friends and a non-biological family.
Here’s something I learned when I started university: One can attend a church without being actively involved with the church.
Sometimes when life gets busy I’m tempted to think “Oh I went to church on Sunday. That’s good enough.”
But really, just attending one service a week isn’t enough to be engaged with your church.
Questions to ask to know if we’re engaged with our church:
- Are we serving our church in someway?
- Do we ever serve with our church?
- Do we have friends with people in our church that we wouldn’t have if we went to a different church?
- Are we encouraging those at our church?
- Do we use our spiritual gifts at our church?
Related: How to Find a Local Church
4. Engaged at your workplace/school
If you work, how are your relationships with your coworkers?
Or if going to school is your job, how are your relationships with your classmates/professors?
Unlike the people you meet at your church, these people may have never heard the goodnews of Jesus before. Are you telling them about Him through your actions, if not also your words?
How is your attitude at work or at school? Is it joyful or negative? Do you encourage or complain?
One last question that really tests our engagement: Do we simply move through the motions, or are we actively involved?
It can be really hard to be engaged at our workplace or school, especially if we don’t like our job or the classes we’re in. But we are called to be bright lights for Jesus, no matter our circumstances.
5. Engaged with the world
Yes, we are called to be in the world but not of it (John 17:16), but we are also called to lead others to Jesus.
In other words, our whole life should be one giant mission trip. Our words and actions should point others to God.
Are we fully engaged in what we are doing and where we are in life that we truly view each trip to the grocery store, the gas station, or the library as a missions opportunity? Are we mindful of the words we use and the attitudes we take on?
Living an engaged life takes effort, but it’s worth it.
It’s how we can live life to the full.
Jesus Christ once said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
With Jesus, we have abundant life. And with Jesus, we can live life engaged.