I live a life of abundance.
I reside in a great big house with a pool and have five healthy kids living inside its bedrooms.
I have an incredible husband who makes me coffee in the mornings and kindly dismisses most of what I say on my “woman-specific” days.
I have a thorough and honest housekeeper and my entire household gets to go to the dentist twice a year.
But none of these things—including the health of my children and a husband who provides well—are what make up my abundant life.
Sure—health and provision make my life exponentially better —but I don’t think these are the blessings Jesus referred to in His statement to bring us a life of abundance in John 10:10.
After all, He goes on to say how He will lay down his life for those who belong to Him. I don’t think He would have laid down his life so we could have healthy children, multiple bank accounts and live in excellent school districts.
If this is what He meant—then most of the world is royally screwed. Pardon my expression.
So what is an Abundant Life?
Inviting a life of abundance means relying a little less on your abilities and a little more on your faith. Of course, you’ll find that relying on faith cuts deep into your tight schedule, expectations, comfort zone and pocket book. It creates new headaches and new problems to solve.
I recently heard a mom complain that she couldn’t handle the stress of being a dance mom. While I want to be careful not to diminish the anxiety she was feeling, I did have to ask myself if our tolerance to difficult circumstances hasn’t gotten a little frail. That many of us have failed to flex our problem-solving muscles by focusing on trivial things that really aren’t problems at all.
Major inconveniences at best.
I admit that I wanted to grab that sweet, stressed out mama and say, “You need to come to Haiti with me and I’ll show you what real problems look like.” But I didn’t…because that would have been rude and self-righteous; but I did think it.
A life of abundance may mean looking down one day and wondering what happened to your pedicure-starved toes or realize you don’t remember the last time you had time to drive your car through the carwash.
Yet, in the midst of all the controlled chaos, there is a deep soulful satisfaction sustaining you. You begin to powerfully experience Jesus day-to-day, and there are moments where His presence is so undeniable that you vow to do whatever it takes for more of those moments.
Abundant living means fresh encounters, daunting challenges and a heart that is ALIVE.
I am a little embarrassed at the perception some people may have of our household. Just today I had someone sarcastically tell me how sorry they felt for me having to commute by foot to the HUGG office and navigate the motorized toys and grass to make it to work.
I laughed and had to resist the temptation to defend myself. I wanted to say, “Yes—it may seem like I live a charmed life but believe me—we’ve invited our share of heartache and hard work into our lives—ON PURPOSE!!! We are actually almost perfect. So there!”
But seriously—I can’t defend myself because at the end of day—
All of my good deeds are filthy rags before the Lord. At the end of the day, a charmed life leaves me lacking. (Isaiah 64:6) And that is when I realize that Abundance is Jesus.
Your material blessings and the extra perks like health are given to you for a purpose.
Your house is given to you so you can open your doors to the broken hearted and lonely.
Your healthy children are future forerunners of faith that will carry on your legacy.
Your free time is given to you so you can sew good works in the lives of others.
I think that is why the health and wealth gospel is frowned upon by so many people. It makes us feel like our joy is measured by the things we have. And the things we have are given to us because we are “oh so deserving”.
Do some Christians get to experience health and wealth? Sure! And to God be the glory, but abundance isn’t measured by the good things we have- its measured by the good we give because of Jesus.
Jesus gave up His own life so you would have life to the fullest. Don’t glide through it simply enjoying your blessed life. This kind of life is what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called “cheap grace.” It is boring and ineffective. Did I mention boring?
And if your life isn’t easy right now, don’t get lost in the struggle and remember that we all have seasons of simply receiving. Sometimes you just have to ask for help.
We were never meant to live fairy tales here on earth. Abundance doesn’t mean ALL easy, it doesn’t mean ALL hard, it means ALL Jesus. And that, my friend, should be more charm than any one of us could ever want.