A group of friends are joking around on a hill overlooking a town, so they take a photo and post it on Facebook with the caption, “Living our best life!” A person is enjoying their bowl of Lucky Charms one morning, so they take a selfie of the moment, post it on Instagram, captioning it with “Living my best life!” Another person is on vacation at the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, so they post a video on Tik Tok in which they say “Living my best life!”
Are you living your best life?
The idea of a person living their best life is a contemporary phrase that is often used on social media. It’s not meant to be understood literally, as if we could even know if we are or if anyone else is living this so-called best life. Even if a person seems to be doing extremely well in all areas of their life, there’s a high probability that they could improve at least something. So what do people mean when they say, “I’m living my best life”?
They are referring to a really good feeling about life. It might be a feeling in the moment, or it could be that they are experiencing an extended period of blessing. In other words, people tend to define their best life in an individual way.
In other eras we called this “living the good life.” Certainly each individual person can have their own opinion about what the good life is for them. But is there a kind of life that is good beyond each individual’s opinion? Can the government tell us what the good life is? Can a very wise person say, “I have figured out what the real good life is”? There are certainly many attempts.
Professor Laurie Santos of Yale University teaches a course called Psychology and the Good Life, and it has become Yale’s most popular course in over 300 years. It led to the creation of The Good Life Center at Yale. Learn more here. On their website, they have a “Methods” page that briefly describes their approach. They emphasize wellness in the following categories: eat well, love well, move well, mind well, rest well, save well, seek well, and work well.
I must admit that I’m intrigued by what they have discovered about the good life. They seem to have uncovered some scientifically-verified data and methodology that anyone can apply to their lives if they want to experience a happier life.
I wonder if Yale’s approach might have any alignment with Jesus’ approach? Jesus also talked about the good life. We Christians have long claimed that Jesus himself literally lived his best life, and that his vision of the good life is something he wants all people to experience. In our study of the life of Jesus, as told by the Gospel of John, next week Jesus will talk about that good life. How does he describe it? And is it possible that you could make some changes to live the good life of Jesus?
If you’re feeling that you’re not living your best life, then take a look at John 5:16-30 ahead of time, and we’ll talk about it further next week on the blog.