Do you feel as if life is rushing by too fast for you to enjoy it? Do you worry about what others think of you, or about how you can make enough money to meet your financial obligations? Are your activities truly meaningful to you? Do you sense God's presence with you as you go about your day?

God's idea of an abundant life is not the same as what the world considers to be "the good life." A consumer-oriented culture will tell you that ultimate satisfaction comes from making money and projecting the successful image that goes along with a high income. But God is calling you to a far richer life. Here are some ways to live a truly successful life:

  • Rather than arranging your priorities to pursue appearance, affluence and achievement, strive instead to pursue wisdom, compassion and freedom.

  • Remember that you are made in God's image, and that's infinitely more important than anyone else's image of you. Know that God loves you and will always make His grace available to you.

  • Commit to living simply, making lifestyle choices that reflect good stewardship of the earth's environment.

  • Commit to living frugally. Make a budget and stick to it. Don't purchase goods or services that would you would have to incur debt to buy. If you're in debt, make a plan to get out as soon as possible.

  • Think of the world not so much as a global marketplace, but as a global community of creatures God has made. Consider how you can contribute to others.

  • When performing a service, do so out of love for God rather than a desire for other people's acclaim.

  • Realize that living as God calls you to in each present moment is ultimately more productive than simply keeping yourself busy.

  • Pray for God's grace to be receptive to His voice when He speaks to you. Listen for Him to speak through everyday sacramental experiences such as the taste of food, the sight of trees and the touch of your child's hand. Be open to receiving fresh spiritual energy.

  • Sacrifice personal agendas that obstruct your relationship with God.

  • Trust in God's wisdom to know what's best for you and His goodness to give it to you.

  • Listen compassionately to others, and act with compassion to help meet their needs.

  • Face tragedy with courage and hope.

  • Seek to live creatively at all times.

  • Regularly make time for prayer.

  • Regularly make time for rest and relaxation.

-- By Live It Editor Whitney Hopler

Adapted from Living from the Center: Spirituality in an Age of Consumerism, copyright 2000 by Jay McDaniel. Published by Chalice Press, St. Louis, Missouri, 1-800-366-3383.

Jay McDaniel is professor of religion at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas, and the author of numerous books on Christianity and ecology.