Can I be honest? There was a time when I was not all that happy with my life.
I did not fully embrace being a stay-at-home mom. I was not really satisfied in just taking care of my children.
Honestly, I was always looking toward the future, wishing away the time that I had with my children. I was waiting for the next phase, when they’d be older.
I write this now and realize how sad that all sounds. You see, I’m not there anymore. God broke through my blindness, and when I started this writing journey, I dedicated my words to one purpose. I’m on a quest for abundant life, and I want to encourage other moms, moms who maybe find themselves wishing away time or wishing for a different life circumstance. I want to help them pursue life abundantly too.
As I started out, God brought to mind a special verse, and it has become my theme verse. In John 10 Jesus explained why He came to this word. In verse 10 He said, “…I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (ESV). In other word’s Jesus’ purpose was to bring us a rich and abundant life.
For those that have followed Jesus for a while, we understand this to mean that we will have a rich, abundant life in heaven after we die. But that is not all Jesus meant. He wants us to have a rich, satisfying, abundant, joy-filled life now.
If I look back on those times I was clearly not filled with joy and abundance, I can see I was not living the life Jesus wanted for me. I began to search the Word and my own heart to figure out how I could live just as Jesus wants me too. For after all, that is why He came.
I’d like to share with you what I have learned over the past few years. And here’s something else about me: I like a plan. I like it when people tell me the steps I should take to achieve the outcome I desire. So, that is what I have put together for you, my friend. (And honestly, I need these steps too.)
Here are the steps to pursue an abundant life—the life Jesus made possible when He came to this earth.
Surrender to God.
Don’t you just love that word, surrender? I could have used another favorite word of mine: submit. (Insert sarcasm.) The truth is no one likes to surrender or submit to anyone. The word surrender conjures up images of weakness, and no one wants to be seen as weak.
But in God’s economy, surrendering makes you strong. The apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 2:10 (NLT), “That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses… For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
When we surrender to God, we allow His mighty power to come in and work in our lives. And since our God made the universe, spoke light in to existence, and raised Jesus from the dead, I will gladly admit I am weak so His power can work through me.
Surrendering may also seem like we are subjecting ourselves to the rules of someone else. And who likes rules? But Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:29, NLT). The word “yoke” does sound a bit harsh; after all, it is used to keep two animals strapped to something. But Jesus said His ways are gentle and kind. When we do life His way, we find rest and we find joy.
Spend Time with God.
When I think of abundance, I picture a fountain overflowing. Water spilling over the edges, not being contained in the pool that is meant to hold it all.
When we seek God we will find Him. And in His presence there is great joy. There is overflowing joy! When we read the words God wrote for us and to us, Jesus said, “you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” (John 15:11, NLT).
We can’t receive God’s joy if we never come to Him. To have an abundant life, we must allow Him to fill us so His love and joy can spill out of us, just like the water out of an overflowing fountain.
Settle into the Moment.
For me, this was probably the most important realization. I was not living in each moment with my kids. I was looking toward the future, wishing away the time that I had with them.
This is what I found: you can only experience abundant life in the present, for God can only be experienced in the present. We only have the moment we are given; the future is not promised to us. In order to live abundantly, we must live in the now.
For me, it was a lesson in contentment. I had to start viewing what I had around me in a different light. I studied what Paul said in Philippians 4. In verse 11 he said, “for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have,” (NLT).
If you read down to verse 13 you’ll find out how he could say this. He said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” (NIV). The secret to contentment is this: Christ is always with me. What else could I possibly need?
Each moment with our children is a gift from God meant to bring us joy in that moment. One of Satan’s best weapons against us is getting us to believe that tomorrow will be better. He tricks us into looking into the future instead of into the joys of today. He robs our joy, just like Jesus said in the first part of John 10:10. “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.” Live in the now. Don’t let the thief steal today’s joy.
When I realized these steps and how they were linked to a rich and satisfying life, my life changed. My kids had a happier mom, and my husband no longer called me “Grumper.” (Not kidding.) My eyes were opened to the life I had been missing and wishing away. I could enjoy my children just as they were. I began to view each and every moment as precious.
Yes, I found the secret. I have embarked on the pursuit for abundant life. Won’t you join me?