A Lesson on How to Live Well from Those Who Died Well

Gold Brush Stroke

Reflecting on the very difficult situations of certain friends and family members, my thoughts keep circling back to one particular thought. All of us are either struggling to live well or we’re struggling to die well.

It seems more tragic to have to do the latter, but perhaps the greatest tragedy is the failure to do the former.

live well in Christ

Desire To Live Well

All around me I see people trying to live well. We all want to know the secret of a worthwhile life.

Is it more money? More prestige? More friends? More vacation time? Earlier retirement? Better health?

We chase the next shiny object, hoping that will be the ticket to a life lived well. Look around at the world, it’s obviously not.

Or maybe living well involves doing lots of good: being the main benefactor for a worthy cause, beginning a foundation for the oppressed, or adopting many unwanted and discarded children.

Nope, that’s not the key either. Although being gracious and caring are certainly wonderful things, by themselves, they won’t deliver the contentment of a well-lived life.

Lesson from the Dying

Over the past few years, I’ve followed the lives of a couple ladies who had to learn how to die well. They knew their time on earth was numbered, and they wanted to steward well the amount that remained.

I watched and learned. They struggled some, sure. They wanted more time with their loved ones. Yet they had a peace that defied their terminal diagnosis.

In dying, these ladies discovered what often eludes us in living. They learned that to live well (and die well) one must abide in the Lord. Living well involves tapping into His deep and abiding grace.

Abide in Christ

It’s not enough to simply acknowledge God or to worship Him periodically. A life lived well is a life lived, not just with Christ, but in Christ. It’s a moment by moment walk in His strength. In His will. In His grace.

A life lived well is a life lived, not just with Christ, but in Christ: a moment by moment walk in His grace. Share on X

And that requires immersing ourselves in the Word and in prayer, in thanksgiving and in praise. It means getting as close as we can to the Lord and remaining there. 

Whether we’re still in a season of living or have entered that season of dying, there’s only one solution to doing either well. The key is to live in Christ. 

There's only one solution to living and dying well: it's to live in Christ. Share on X

When we abide in Christ, circumstances never take center stage, He does. It’s the key that fits in any season. 

When we abide in Christ, circumstances never take center stage, He does. It's the key that fits in any season. Share on X

“Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me.” John 15:4

Reflections: What things have you tried in your pursuit of contentment? In the process, what have you learned about living well?

It’s been nearly 5 years of counting and I’ve well passed 5,000 gifts in Ann Voskamp’s Joy Dare! What a blessing! Here are numbers #5283–5303. Read my entire list by clicking here.

  • Privilege of caring for a runny nose, miserable, still-smiling young lady; Learning a new card game from Zach and Joey; Receiving solid advice and encouragement about launching my book from my Mastermind group members
  • Stare down with a doe as she waited for her fawn to get out of sight; Afternoon spent with Zach getting what he needs for college; Fresh peaches from our tree
  • Overnight visit to my mother-in-law’s; Laughter and fun during an afternoon game of UNO; Unplanned hours and a half with my sister-in-law
  • Enjoying morning time in the Word on my mother-in-laws cute little patio set; Safe travel home; Writing completed for ‪#‎everydaypraise‬devotional!
  • Watching a fawn frolick in my yard; Editing underway for‪#‎everydaypraise‬; Watching Joey scrimmage at the football season kickoff Silver Bowl
  • Driving time alone to think and pray; Being inspired by Micca Campbell at the ReNEWed Life Women’s Event; Fitting in a game of Scrabble with Zach and Joey
  • Danny coming home for a few hours to see his brother off; Cooking supper for 6 again; Fall-like evening, perfect for smores


By His Grace,



  1. Cecelia Lester (Quiet Spirit) on August 29, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    Julie: In my trying to live well, I have tried to be a ‘people-pleaser’. I found that way tended to fatigue me. I got busy in church (different churches) and tried to make things right for people. I was a human-doing, not a human being. I learned some lessons along the way that helped me realize I had to live in Christ, not necessarily for Christ. God has taught me I have to have a devotional, meditative life in order to live in Him.

    • Julie Sunne on August 31, 2016 at 10:28 pm

      “I was a human-doing, not a human being.” Such a problem in our bustling society, Cecelia! Living in Christ is a beautiful way of being.

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Julie Sunne

Hello, I'm Julie, an imperfect wife and mother of four. Life in this broken world is not always easy. Yet, joy can be found in each day through the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I find it's easy for our day's blessings to get lost in its happenings. But God's "mercies never end" (Lamentations 3:22) and His "grace is sufficient" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

May the posts and pages on this site offer you a measure of peace and encouragement.

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