Photo credit: Shewanda Riley

The first time I heard the Jill Scott song, “Golden” years ago, I was hooked.   To me, the lyrics were so simple and so inspiring.   “I’m holding on to my freedom, Can’t take it from me, I was born into it, and it comes naturally, I’m strumming my own freedom, Playing the God in me Representing His glory, Hope He’s proud of me!  I’m living my life like it’s golden.” I thought what a great way of looking at life.   For a while, that was my phrase: I was living my life like it was golden. When things happened that I didn’t like, I shook it off and kept singing that I was “living my life like it’s golden.”   I even bought a gold-colored purse to symbolize this new attitude.

Then, some not so golden things happened…all at once. I stopped singing the song because I no longer believed the words. My life wasn’t golden. In fact, it seemed dark with nothing to sing about.    But strangely, the darker the days got, it seemed like the louder I heard the song’s refrain: “Living my life like it’s golden.” How could my life be golden when things looked dreary?

I finally realized that my idea of golden was different than God’s idea, so I decided to look up what gold meant in the bible. I found out that gold is mentioned in the Old Testament more than any other metal.   During biblical times, gold was used as a means of exchange.   Also, unlike other precious metals, gold will not lose any of its value, color, or properties when heated. Gold has greater value because it is harder to find than other metals.   Found in small amounts in our blood, gold also symbolizes earthly riches.   

But living a “golden” life isn’t necessarily one full of riches and great success.    It’s about realizing like Job said in Job 23:10 that God, “knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.”  Living my life like it’s golden means that I strike to be purified from emotional toxins like lust-filled distractions, discouragement, and disappointment.  I pass those tests by focusing on not who I currently am but who God has created me to be.   

There are deeper issues that we deal with, and they are all rooted in relationships:    our relationship with God, our relationships with others and our relationship with ourselves.  A “golden life” means that my life and relationship with God is not a one-way communication with me always asking for God to give to me.   A “golden life” means that I make a place in my life for dialogue with God.  Living a golden life means that I’m willing to work on getting rid of the impurities in my life and, most importantly, realize just how much value I have.

Shewanda Riley is a Dallas, Texas based author of “Love Hangover: Moving From Pain to Purpose After a Relationship Ends” and “Writing to the Beat of God’s Heart: A Book of Prayers for Writers.”   Email her at or follow her on Twitter @shewanda.