The most exciting part of The Live the List Project is the potential for “relational joy” – the fourth pillar of a foundation that is designed to make this initiative sustainable.
One of my mentors penned that wonderfully great explanation, and I firmly believe that if we embrace this concept, creating a life list can be life changing. The Live the List Project gives us the opportunity to invest in others while inspiring them to live a bold, adventurous and intentional life.
At first, I thought that simply meant asking other people what they’ve always wanted to do (“Hey…what’s on your life list?”) and helping them accomplish one of their goals (“What can I help you mark off?”)
But I’ve come to realize that it’s much bigger – and a lot more impactful – than that.
When I was leading a Bible study about The Live the List Project last year, it hit me like a bolt of lightening. After the first session, the long-time family friend who invited me to lead the 3-week class came up to me. “I’ve started a list,” she told me, “but I’m stuck. I only have like 20 things on it.”
Without even thinking I said, “Write down things you want to do with other people. Things you want to do with your husband. Your kids. Your siblings, parents, friends.”
My shoot-from-the-hip advice stuck with me the rest of the day. Before going to bed that night, I pulled out my current 55/555 list to see if I was walking the walk or simply talking the talk.
I quickly ran through the foundation of The Live the List Project, which is composed of four cornerstones: Contentment, gratefulness, pure motives and relational joy.
I knew I was happy where I was in life. Contentment – check.
I was thankful to God for where I was in my life. Gratefulness – check.
And I knew that I created my life list as a thank you note to Him to express that gratefulness. Pure motives – check.
But what about relational joy? I wanted to confirm that I created a list that inspired others and helped “lay up eternal treasures in heaven.”
The result: Average (at best).
I had a few things that I wanted to do with my wife and several tasks that revolved around my kids. I also had a handful of tasks that involved other people.
“It could be so much more impactful,” I whispered to myself.
Then, lightening struck again.
“Why can’t EVERY task include someone else,” I asked myself.
So I decided right then and there that’s what I’d do.
“I’ll take people with me on my adventures,” I said aloud. “I’ll throw out invitations – come one, come all. We’ll attack life…together!”
Since that epiphany….
• We also went to the horse races together (No. 19 on my current life list)
• I went to Jerry World with my buddy Chris and his wife, Edie. (No. 54)
My Facebook status afterwards: Reminded me of the importance of including other people in this Live the List adventure. Like Chris McCandless said as he was dying alone in the Alaskan wilderness: “…unshared happiness is not happiness.”
• I went camping with my son (No. 37)
• I’m going on a cruise with my wife in September (No. 29)
The shared experience that I’m most excited about is No. 25 on my current life list – ride in a hot air balloon.
My father-in-law help set this up. He purchased a 4-person balloon ride at a charity auction, and gave it to me as a love present. I accepted his gift with open arms, especially since riding in a hot air balloon has been embarrassingly cemented on three of my life lists for a grand total of 4 ½ tragic years.
It was definitely time to mark it off.
The wonderfully great part…I wasn’t going on this adventure alone.
After my father-in-law gave me the gift, the $100,000 question quickly presented itself:
Who should I take along for the ride?
Of course, I asked my wife if she wanted to go. Her quick response was based on us falling out of the sky in a ball of fire, leaving both of our kids parentless.
“I’ll pass,” she said.
So then I turned to other list makers – family and friends who had this soaring adventure on their life lists. It didn’t take me long to find them. I went through the collection of life lists that people have trusted and shared with me over the years. The first three lists that I glanced at included…”Hot Air Balloon.”
I sent them all messages, making sure they hadn’t already marked it off. None of them had.
This weekend, we stop saying “I’ll do it tomorrow” and take flight on our first balloon ride.
The part of the story that I love is the fact these people didn’t blink an eye when I asked. They jumped at the opportunity.
They didn’t care that we had to meet at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning (in a random parking lot in Midlothian, Texas, nonetheless)…
They didn’t care that they had to tell me their weight so I could pass it along to the hot air balloon company (two of the three passengers are females)…
They didn’t care that they were going on this life list journey with a bunch of strangers – heck, they didn’t even ask who else was going.
None of them said, “Let me think about it and get back to you.”
I received responses that ranged from “Hell, yes!” to “Duh.”
It makes my heart smile to think about our motley crew soaring above the landscape as the sun rises, celebrating relational joy.