As Christians we have been given much freedom in Christ. He said in John 10:10, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (NAB) Are you living or existing? Are you living an abundant satisfying life or just existing with a status quo life?
Before I go on, let me just say that true peace and abundant living is only possible through a relationship with Jesus Christ. This means admitting that we do not measure up to His holy standard and are dependent upon Him to pay the penalty of our sin for us. He did this when He died on the cross for our sins! Once this is done, we have the opportunity to live in a way that lets us know God more deeply through our life experiences.
Living or Existing = Choices
In life we are faced with many choices and decisions. We all have 24 hours in each day and yet some people seem to make more of it than others. – why? Maybe it is the zeal with which we live? Are you a risk taker or one who doesn’t like change? Are you living or existing – different personalities definitely deal with this question differently.
I try to teach the children to choose where they spend their time wisely – many things are good but which are best? And, while I am talking with them, often I have to search my own soul!
Are You Living or Existing?
I want to encourage you to look at your life and your situation and realize that you do have choices and you can make changes! Whether it is your job situation, living conditions, finances…don’t be afraid to take charge and make changes!
Here are 3 areas that can keep us from experiencing the abundant life God intended us to have.
1. Failure to Set Priorities. Before making any decisions or changes, it is wise to set your priorities and boundaries to protect those priorities. Decide what the most important things in your life are and make decisions based on what builds those up.
My constants are God and family. I organize my time to allow time to read the Bible daily, have coffee with John before we start the day (which means we get up earlier), family time and educate our children. I try (and this can be a struggle for me) to set boundaries to guard these priorities.
Blogging is a good example – I love writing and hearing from you. I love getting comments and emails of how I have benefited your life or family – It really gives me that warm fuzzy feeling! I could sit and blog all day long! But, that is not consistent with my goals. This was a big lesson for me (again!) this past year with health issues. So, I had to take time to rest, heal and evaluate.
If you have questions or struggles with priorities, Choosing to Cheat by Andy Stanley is a small book but very powerful. It really encouraged me and at $2.50, it is an inexpensive book that is well worth the read!
2. Fear of failure can be paralyzing and prevent change. The truth is, there are not many decisions that can not be undone. Put another way – most decisions are easily reversed. What have you always wanted to do but been afraid to try? Maybe now is the time to take the challenge!
Moving from Alabama where John had a good job was scary. There were times when we were not sure how we would pay bills. Were we questioning our lifestyle change? You bet!
I remember once when money was tight because we had used our savings and John had taken two paper routes to pay bills, we had a family pow-wow. When put to a vote, almost everyone wanted to stick it out until the vineyard began producing. Only the two youngest boys (who wanted to play in the woods of Alabama) wanted to go back!
3. Fear of what others will think will definitely crimp creativity! What difference does it make? Ultimately, your decisions must be between you, God and your family.
Through the years, I have tried several business ventures. Each have lasted for varying periods of time. From being a Mary Kay consultant (years ago in Alabama), doTERRA wellness advocate, leaving a secure job to start a vineyard to blogging, I have jumped in with both feet. I am saying “I” loosely because each of these involved the family!
That’s not all! During our 4 years living in Switzerland, we began an import business and continued it when we moved back to the US. “Dina-Marie’s European Flair” imported items from Spain, Poland, Switzerland, Italy – all my favorite shopping places! And, it was a profitable business – for awhile.
You can see the inventory we have of hand-painted ceramic tile murals from Spain. We closed the import business before we started the vineyard and should have closed it sooner – we lost money on it towards the end.
I am sure others think that I start and stop things a lot. It doesn’t matter!
The most important things in my life do not change (except to get better) – my faith in God and my family. Everything else just makes for a fuller, more eventful, and exciting life.
Living or Existing – Don’t be Afraid to Re-evaluate Decisions!
There is a time and a season for all things. Don’t be afraid to re-evaluate decisions as you go along. In fact, it is wise to be mindful of the benefits and consequences of our choices and decisions.
With winery connections we now have, we re-evaluated our decision to close the import business and decided to reopen it for the beautiful grape growing and winery scenes that are available. While we did sell murals, it was not as good as we had hoped. But, we would not have known unless we tried!
Did I fail because I stopped being a Mary Kay consultant or a doTERRA wellness advocate or closed Dina-Marie’s European Flair?
True success is measured by personal growth resulting from our experiences. We get so fixed on our goals and forget that success and failure are not measured by meeting goals and things working out. But instead, they are measured by whether we learn and grow from the experience.
So, in the examples I have given, I didn’t fail. I enjoyed it all, made memories and met nice people – hopefully enriching their lives. We also benefited financially which has been important during each time period! But, each endeavor took time and often it was time away from family.
Remember my priorities? So, when the needs were met, I knew it was time to move on.
Life is too short to let opportunities pass you by! Whether it is through the experiences themselves or the people met through them, we can learn more about God and His mercy growing closer to Him as we follow the paths He leads us down.
I would love to hear changes you have made, need to make or plan to make – leave a comment so we can encourage each other!