Life’s complicated. Many of the pieces are slippery. Just when we think we have it all together, it can come apart. How can we get and keep life together?
There are so many things to deal with.
The things we need to do. Things we want to do. Things that we shouldn’t do, but may want to do. Things that other people expect us to do. Things we put off doing. Things we never wanted to happen that sometimes happen anyway. Things we hope will happen that often don’t. Things we never anticipated that can change everything.
And sometimes we deal with all these things on the same day!
“Getting my life together” meaning
In one sense, whether you can get life together depends on what that phrase means to you.
If it means that everything in life is just the way you want it to be—well, experience tells us that’s an unrealistic expectation.
If it means having a sense of purpose, direction, stability and the ability to deal with the challenges—that’s something we really can achieve.
What is a “together life”? Consider some definitions:
- Merriam-Webster.com defines the phrase get one’s life together as “to begin to live one’s life in a responsible and mature way.”
- TheFreeDictionary.com defines get it together as “to take action to become well-organized, prepared, or in a better state of life.”
- Thesaurus.com lists a number of synonyms for the phrase have one’s act together: confident, levelheaded, self-assured, unruffled.
There will always be roller-coaster ups and downs, challenges and even some setbacks. What personal resources and skills do we need so we’ll know how to deal with it all?
Here are some steps to take to get your life together.
Control what you can . . .
Getting life together can start with taking a step back to consider what seems to be out of sync. If you feel unsettled and dissatisfied, identify what’s causing that concern and then take the necessary steps to correct it. Taking control will mean making some important—and even difficult—decisions.
There’s no substitute for self-discipline. The Merriam-Webster.com definition of self-discipline is “correction or regulation of oneself for the sake of improvement.”
Self-discipline is the determination and strength to make choices that will help us control and improve our lives. But those choices aren’t always easy.
We frequently have to decide between what we “need to do” and what we “want to do.” The consequences of giving in and taking the easy way can lead to complications that tear life apart. Self-discipline is a special kind of strength that we exercise to make choices that are based on longer-term goals and that help us to get life together.
Set goals and priorities. Getting life together includes personal growth. We can turn wishes and hopes into achievements by deciding specifically what we want to accomplish and establishing a plan to get us there. Setting goals focuses us on what we can do today, this week, this month and beyond that will move us toward what we want to accomplish.
Make sure your goals are specific and realistic. It’s helpful to write them down, worded carefully, so you can more easily keep track of your progress. Your plan to achieve your goals can be broken down into reasonable, challenging steps that move you toward the long-range goal.
It will be helpful to share your goals with someone you’re close to. Doing so can make you more committed to your plan. A close friend can help you brainstorm ideas for achieving your goals and can offer encouragement and advice along the way.
There may be times when you’re weary or even discouraged, so commitment and self-discipline will be necessary.
Don’t procrastinate. Procrastination adds to the sense of not having life together because it creates crises.
There are many reasons we procrastinate—we tend to avoid doing things when they’re unpleasant or seem overwhelming, when we’re distracted by something that’s easier and more enjoyable, or when we’re physically or mentally tired.
But the result is that eventually something has to be done immediately, when we would have had much less stress if we hadn’t delayed.
When you can’t do everything, do something.
Getting started may be the most difficult part of the job. Momentum can be part of the solution. Break the larger, overwhelming chore into smaller tasks. When you begin by getting started and accomplish one or two of the smaller aspects of the bigger job, chances are you’ll be motivated to continue.
And deal with the rest
We can take control of many aspects of life by exercising self-control, setting goals and overcoming procrastination. But that’s only half the battle.
Keeping life together requires dealing with unplanned interruptions and crises. There will be unavoidable, unanticipated complications that threaten to disrupt life. No one plans to have a health crisis, the loss of a job, a car accident, the washing machine break down or the kids get the flu.
So, we control what we can and deal with the rest.
Everyday complications and interruptions can upset our plans. And sometimes we have “one of those days” when seemingly nothing goes right and getting life together can seem like an illusion.
By being flexible (meaning we bend but don’t break) and resilient (meaning we find a way to recover from or adjust to the situation), we can deal with the disruptions, keep our perspective and get life back on track.
There are articles on LifeHopeandTruth.com that can help us keep life together as we deal with the everyday stress and crises of life:
Build on a solid foundation: how biblical wisdom helps us get life together
The Bible reveals that the way to get life together is by building on a solid foundation of truth through obedience.
The book of Proverbs is filled with instruction about wisdom. The definition of the Hebrew word translated “wisdom” in Proverbs reads like an explanation of what it means to get life together.
“Chokmah [the Hebrew word translated wisdom] is the knowledge and the ability to make the right choices at the opportune time. The consistency of making the right choice is an indication of maturity and development” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words).
According to the Bible, getting life together is all about being skilled at living—having the wisdom to make the right choices at the right time.
The opening verses of Proverbs establish what this book has to offer about learning how to live:
There are basic principles we can apply that help us take control—like being self-disciplined, not procrastinating, setting goals and being resilient when there are complications.“The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young—let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance—for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:1-7, New International Version).
The instruction of God’s Word benefits young and old, providing understanding, insight, good judgment and discretion. To fear God means to honor, worship and yield to Him—it is the starting point for developing expertise and competence in making life choices.
The circumstances of life constantly change. Challenges and crises will threaten to disrupt life. But the foundation of godly wisdom remains stable—it’s the sure, unchanging platform.
The importance of wisdom is also highlighted in Proverbs 24:3-4: “Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.”
Building a house represents a person’s life—well-furnished with enriching experience and satisfaction, strong and secure by wisdom and knowledge.
How do we acquire wisdom, understanding and knowledge?
Psalm 111:10 promises wisdom and understanding (insight, intelligence) to those who keep God’s commandments. Being skilled at life (wisdom) and having understanding (insight) are the direct result of obeying God—essential qualities for getting life together. Obedience to God’s law opens our minds to His wisdom. We gain experience and knowledge of the principles that lead to a satisfying and meaningful life.
In His concluding words in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus shows the importance of wisdom in getting life together and keeping it together in difficult times.
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock” (Matthew 7:24-25).
Jesus compares one who obeys Him to a wise man who builds his house on a solid foundation. The metaphor of building a house represents the way that we live—the life that we build.
When we learn from God’s Word, building life on a solid rock through obedience to His instruction, we establish a life that is stable and secure. There will be “storms”—difficulties, challenges and problems. But when we get life together by building on a solid foundation of truth and obedience, we will be able to keep it together and stand strong.
Meeting the challenge
Getting life together isn’t a “one and done” activity—it’s something we have to work at every day. The pieces of the puzzle of life keep moving. They don’t always stay in place and sometimes don’t even seem to fit.
There are basic principles we can apply that help us take control—like being self-disciplined, not procrastinating, setting goals and being resilient when there are complications.
To get life together, we need to build on the solid and stable foundation of God’s truth and law. God’s instruction will give us purpose and direction, which are at the core of a meaningful life. By fearing and obeying Him, we will gain understanding and wisdom through obedience.
With God’s help, we can get (and keep) our life together.
Suggested further reading:
- Why Study the Bible?
- What Is the Real Purpose of Life?
- The Importance of Wisdom and How to Become Wiser
- Change Your Life!