The kids are in bed, lunches are prepared for tomorrow, it's time to relax before bed. But there's no more energy left not for conversation with your husband, not for the things that need to be done around the house. You climb the stairs to drop into bed so that you can get up tomorrow morning and do it all over again. You long for that time when you were younger and felt alive and vibrant. Now you're so busy trying to survive that you wonder if you'll ever truly live again or will life just pass you by?
Christ told His disciples that He wanted to give them life, abundant life. Four principles can help you understand and experience the abundant life that Christ talked about.
1. Realize what truly living is not. The American Dream portrays the abundant life as possessions, wealth, and status. One bumper sticker captured the sentiment this way, "He who has the most toys wins." However, Jesus told His disciples, "a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." (Luke 12:15b) As I have visited poverty stricken countries, I have been surprised to see the joy, love, and abiding relationships that flourish in dirt-floored shacks devoid of a tv or any technology, devoid of indoor plumbing and glass windows -- a single room with no soft furniture, little privacy, and nothing that would be considered by the average American as a necessity. Yet there is a sense of life being lived fully, despite the circumstances. It quickly becomes apparent that real life is not about the external circumstances, but about the internal life and relationships, these are what matter.
2. Surrender to The Source of life. Galatians 5:25 says, "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." True life comes through the Spirit of God living in you. As you allow your thoughts to be directed by the Spirit of God through the Bible, you will gain understanding of what it means to truly live. The Spirit will cause you to experience the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self-control of God. As God expresses these things to you and you experience them and allow them to settle in your soul, you will begin to know a deep, personal richness that no one can take away and that creates a deep internal spring of life. This life will begin to flow from you as a river flows from a clear spring, free and unfettered.
3. Be open to new experiences and relationships. As the Holy Spirit prompts you to try something new, step out of your comfort zone and try it. Fear, anxiety, and stress can become barriers that keep you bound in old patterns of acting, thinking and relating. Sometimes these old patterns are merely dull and monotonous, sometimes they are unhealthy and even toxic to living a rich, full life. Make a list of things you've never done that you would like to do. Try doing them one at a time. Widen your circle of friends and acquaintances by inviting someone new to join you in completing items on your list.
4. Give thanks. Negativity is another life killer. Look for the blessings that come into your life each day. If life seems overwhelming or dull, you may have to look hard for these things at first, but as you find them, it will become easier to see them more often. Laugh and take joy in the blessings you have . . . from the little things that you take for granted on up to those that seem miraculous. Make a list of all the things you have to be thankful for and post it somewhere where you will see it often.
Seize life and live it fully and abundantly in the power of the Spirit of God.