Modern "Wholesome" Living?
Hello and welcome back to the Sunday Series!
I am so excited that you're here, because today Dearest Reader, we are going to be talking about one of my FAVORITE topics: wholesome living!
Recently, I have noticed a ton of interest and romanticization of the wholesome and traditional life. I have even found myself dreaming of living in a farmhouse with three children and a flock of chickens. Doesn't it sound incredible to live surrounded by nature, with a wardrobe primarily consisting of aprons, and a social agenda fit with neighborhood gatherings and church events?
While I would move to a scene like that in a heartbeat, I think it's important to recognize that it's pretty unrealistic for every single person to move to a farm setting and raise children in nature. It's 2019, and many of us are living in cities, suburbs, and large towns. Village living in the West is more uncommon than ever before.
The fact is that our modern world has stripped wholesomeness from our lives and replaced it with vulgarity, artificial happiness, and competition.
We are strained from the competitive nature of education, work, and even dating. Consumer culture promises happiness, and social media and entertainment celebrate vulgarity and perversion. Our post-post-modern world promotes a debased lifestyle and absolute chaos.
But is the only remedy to our modern chaos, competition, and vulgarity a 10 acre property in the country? Does wholesome living HAVE to include chickens and an apron? Do we need to live like Mennonites in order to achieve a peaceful life?
I don't think so. No.
I think that we can achieve wholesome living and a peaceful life regardless of where we live, but we will need to make strategic changes to our lifestyles, our priorities, and our attitudes.
Let's dive in.
So what is wholesome living?
What is wholesome living in 2019? Do we need to move to the country and buy some chickens? Do we need to wear bonnets and log out of Instagram forever?
Like I said before, no. Wholesome living can be achieved no matter where you live. And while it's not impossible to do it in a city, I can definitely see how the grind, crush, and temptations of city living would drain someone of a lot of energy and purity.
I believe wholesome living is a life filled with community, purity, and peace. It often includes a grounded religion, a belief system, strong morals, and a network of loving and supportive people. It is a life free from extreme stress, addiction, and self-inflicted troubles.
While we cannot prevent tragedy, pain, corruption, and evil from entering our lives, we must recognize that we can actively step away from a lot of UNNECESSARY tragedy, pain, corruption, and evil.
This is what wholesome living is. It is the active pursuit of community, the rejection of vulgarity and debauchery, and the removal of competition, pressure, stress, and busyness. It is a life lived with the eternal in mind, and a peaceful spirit inside.
Wholesome living is about living for more than yourself: it is living a full life in service to others and in the pursuit of personal growth. For believers it is a life lived in the name of Christ for the glory of God, and ultimately, a life sacrificed for the gospel of Christ.
This life has meaning, purpose, and joy, outside of momentary hookup-happiness, monotonous careers, and the praise and validation from others. This is a life lived whole-heartedly.
What are the benefits of wholesome living?
If you haven't picked this up yet, I think wholesome living can bring a lot of joy and vitality to our lives. It protects us from the pain, hardship, and stress that comes along with living life for momentary pleasure. It cultivates purpose, goals, and joy that will be sustainable over the course of our entire lives.
The addition of positive community to our lives will always be a benefit. We will always have people to lean on in times of need, and people to celebrate life with in times of glory. Community has always been a part of the human experience up until very recently, and I think it's important that we recognize its importance and return to it.
Secondly, removing the evil, perversion, and vulgarity from our lives can free us from a lot of torment, sin, and stress. It allows us to return to a childlike sense of joy, freedom, and happiness.
This does not mean we are free from hardship, pain, torment, or tragedy, but it DOES mean that we can be released to deal with the hardships of life without the added pressure of vulgarity and evil coming at us through our phone screens and laptops. As we protect our hearts and minds, we can begin to feel a light and fresh vitality return to our veins.
And finally, by removing stress and competition from our lives, we can add years to our lives and smile wrinkles to our faces. I'm not saying that we don't need to TRY in life and work hard, but I am saying that we should not allow our careers or stresses to consume us. We should take work for what it is: work.
Work is not LIFE. It is part of life, but our success does not define our identity. Who we are as people defines our identity and place in this world.
How can we live wholesomely?
As I've already outlined, I think that we must include community, remove vulgarity, and slow everything down.
Practically this looks like implementing a lifestyle that is complimentary to meeting with others and putting down roots. Perhaps it's time to slow down the solo-traveling adventures. Maybe it's time to get back into church, or to start getting involved with your family again.
How much competition and stress can be removed from life if we no longer pursue the material over the eternal? Again, this isn't a call to stop working hard and to forget our responsibilities. But it is a call to remain tied to the fact that work should never consume our lives.
Wholesome living has always been my goal. To find joy in the small moments and to stop participating in the consumer culture. I like to feel the rhythm of folding laundry while singing. I like to feel the sun on my face, and to look forward to coffee with a friend.
Wholesome living provides freedom from the evil projected through our smartphones, and from all of the envy, mental clutter, and unhappiness that comes along with vulgar social media and entertainment. Remove those vulgar and profane things from your life and begin diving into the rhythm and peace of quiet and wholesome living.
Never stop working hard, but try to remain balanced in your value as a person. Reject consumer culture and put down roots. Figure out what you are living for and how you can focus on the eternal over the temporal. Remember that you are a spirit and a person put here to help others. Feel the sun on your face and take life moment-by-moment.
Most of all, take time to rediscover the childlike joy and beauty that remains in a life free from excess stress, total vulgarity, and isolation from others. Find joy in community and learn to put down your phone. This is hard for me too, but I think that together, we can do it.
As you embark on this journey towards wholesome living, remember that no one is perfect. We cannot live life so literally that we force ourselves to be impractical or overly flighty. Remember that taking time for others, nurturing your spirit, and slowing life down is a process. It cannot be done overnight, but it CAN be started overnight.
Blessings to you my friends.