You know that saying, "sick and tired of being sick and tired"?
Psychology calls this scarcity, which is the same as survival mode, where you are nearly drowning in all the necessities of life and you need a breath of air.
During the supposed Dark Ages of European history, there were little to no scientific, artistic or cultural advancements....
Lots of factors showed that people were just trying to.... survive: a lack of quality of life.
Today, it is the opposite of that problem but somehow we're also barely surviving. Full-speed-ahead surviving. We are drowning in information and NOISE. Mindless scrolling. Going through the motions. Drinking from a fire-hose and still thirsty. Too many activities and too much to do and too many lists. The kind of overwhelm that has a choke-hold on your life. Fast-paced scarcity.
Never enough time.
Never enough money.
Never enough connection.
But yet, we have too much of all the wrong things. Mountains of junk. Useless garbage promising enjoyment. Kids and adults with an insatiable appetite for all the "right" material goods. Toys that can't stand the strain of being unwrapped, as Earl Nightingale says, because of their mass-produced cheapness.
What is the answer? If you have over-functioning anxiety, you keep going, no matter how hard it is and how overwhelmed you feel. You continue on, ignoring the emotional check-engine lights because there's no time to address them. You pray for a moment of slowing down. You just want a minute.
Have you ever noticed how many times the Bible calls people "troubled and careful about many things" or "heavy-burdened" or "choked by the cares of this world"?
Didn't Jesus come that we may have life? And have it more abundantly?
What is abundance?
Remember, Jesus says that life does NOT consist in the abundance of possessions.... so I assure you he is not talking about materialism. He is not talking about the piles of junk surrounding all of us. Mountains of stuff with no value. How often are we resentful of the "abundance" of possessions because they represent hours of our lives working to earn the money exchanged to buy them... and then they bring little fulfillment....?
He says he has come that we may have LIFE and have IT more abundantly!
I have been engulfed in the idea of an abundant life.
The answer isn't glamorous. It is actually a shift in perspective. You've got to re-frame the way that you start the day and replace toxic patterns a little at a time. It isn't a sweeping solution or magic pill. It is the process of changing the way you think. Every single day.
You can build good habits and perspective little by little like a marble jar... I am the naive teacher that thinks I can help teach itty-bitty habits that can build up and alter your entire life... "Learn the lessons history has run and you'll start the race halfway finished" James Clear says, in his book, Atomic Habits. He makes the case that anything worth doing takes a system and follow-through. He is very descriptive as he teaches that NOTHING worthwhile happens without intentional steps each day. He writes about making atomic (atom-sized) positive changes that will accumulate.
My friend, Wylene, calls this spiritual life-change habit the "GPS: gratitude, prayer, scripture." Every single day, you must put in the little efforts for each of these items to accumulate to life-change. Gratitude is the highest scientifically measured "frequency" of human beings. We literally are more alive when we have grateful hearts. Prayer is valuable beyond understanding when you truly consider it a communication with the God of the universe. We have access to Him through his Son, Jesus! It truly is beyond full comprehension! You've got to slowly fill your heart with the Word of God each day. You can't memorize it in one day! You've got to repeat your study! Repetition is how you learn and retain information. Spiritual information should of massive importance to us.
Let us learn gratitude as a daily practice. Let's even appreciate the standard equipment we come with at birth: our minds, our bodies, our hopes, dreams, ability to learn, family. Let's express this to our spouses and children and friends. Let's shake ourselves out of the trance we've been living in and truly experience connection.
Let's replace the vantage point of barely treading water and feeling like we're about to drown. Let's decide that the abundant life Jesus offers is available to us.
Teaching is the greatest act of optimism. Teaching is empowering people. Effective teaching is igniting passion and problem-solving within the students, whether they be adults or children. Inspiration combined with practical action steps can be life-changing.
You practical step is this: start your day with a GPS: gratitude, prayer and scripture. Do not skip. Set an alarm if you need to. Get a journal if you need to. Fill your head and heart with soul nourishment before anything else has a chance to overwhelm you! It must be an intentional decision. You deserve it because you are a loving soul, filled with the breath of God himself. And, then make a list of the childhood you want your kids to have. Are you intentionally building the family atmosphere that you truly value in your home? Are you being the gatekeeper of your home the way that you are required to, as a steward of the gifts you've been given?
For me, I have had to really assess the hustle mode of modern life. I am a "preacher" of the 5 love languages. I have to constantly ask myself if I have INTENTIONALLY filled the love tanks of my family members? Have I DECIDED to spend quality time, do an act of service, affirm with my encouragement, give a thoughtful gift, or hug my family?
As the year is coming to a close, with a million things on our to-do list and our treading water feeling is upon us, let's decide to put our feet down. Let's stand up, take a look around and DECIDE if we are stewarding what we need to. It needs to be intentional. It needs to be love-infused, so that the world knows that I am Jesus' disciple, and it needs to be aligned daily. Intentional. So, have you written down your definition of an abundant life?