Friday, August 25, 2017

Thrive not just Survive!

 By: Victoria Duerstock

This is a re-post of an original post from 3/10/17 - hope it's a blessing to you today!

God does not intend for us to only survive the rigors of this life. In the course of life, certain seasons carry more burdens than others, but I believe that God’s desire is for us to thrive through each of the seasons. Scripture reminds us in many different verses – but here are three passages to consider:

o   John 10:10 tells us in Christ’s own words that he came for us to have life “more abundantly.”
o   David describes it in Psalms 23 as an “overflowing cup.”
o   John 15:11  These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

This is much easier said than done though. It’s difficult to think of thriving for instance when you are busy:
·      Picking up the dirty laundry off the floor for the hundredth time that day
·      Changing that dirty diaper again when you just got cleaned up from the last one
·      Preparing one more meal in a day (especially if you homeschool – right mamas?)
·      Feeling and sharing the intense pain of rejection and heartache from our teenagers as they navigate the path to adulthood.
·      Dealing with the threat of loss of financial stability, health, jobs, and much more.

As I considered what I wanted to share with you all this week, I kept seeing in my mind’s eye a visual of a woman spinning many plates. Of course I took off in search of just the right picture to go along with this, and three hours google searching later, no picture that was “free” of royalty demands. Just kidding who has three hours to look for a picture? I did find this woman running in two different directions which really is a great visual too.

Anyway, maybe you can imagine what I mean for a moment. We all have burdens, demands, needs, wants etc. that pull on us from every direction. Living a life marked with fullness of joy (John 15:11) seems a bit of a stretch some days, weeks or even years. 

So how in the world do we “spin our plates” with joy?

1.     Recognize that without Him we can do nothing. 

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
John 15:5

As a matter of fact, I’ll take it a step further, I believe that when we do try to attempt to do things without the Holy Spirit’s power in our lives, without relying on the help our all powerful God, we will most certainly fail. As a type A, go getter, goal setter, this is perhaps one of the most difficult things for me to do. I can easily become unbalanced here. When I’m not living in full dependence, my plates don’t spin well at all, and they come crashing down when I’m least prepared for it.

2.     Cultivate the attitude of gratefulness. 

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
Colossians 4:2 

If we desire to be joyful, we have to train our minds to recognize that all that we DO have has been given to us.  It doesn’t come very naturally to us to be grateful. Truthfully, grumbling and complaining is much easier and doesn’t take a lot of intent. It just happens. But if we are longing to thrive as moms, grandmas, teenagers, young adults, singles, married, etc. we MUST be intentional to develop the thought process of being grateful.

3.     Don’t live in isolation from others. 

We were created to be in community with one another.  Some days you will be the encourager, and some days you will be encouraged.  Seek out friendships that bring you closer to God and to help bear your burdens.  Perhaps my very favorite story of friendship in the Bible is of Jonathan and David.  The Bible says that God knit their hearts together. 

As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David,
and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.
I Sam 18:1

We can thrive with the encouragement of others at our backs, our sides and sometimes in front of us along our way as we learn and grow together.

4.     Fill your mind with the things of the Lord, versus the things of this world.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Phil. 4:8 

While all entertainment and fun is not bad for us, it can be treacherous ground.  If we so fill our minds with entertainment, fun and pleasure, we will have no room left to fill up on the things God tells us to think on in Phil 4:8 Sometimes the enemy of the best is the myriad of options that are good.

While this list is certain not completely conclusive, it’s a great start to seeking to thrive during this season of your life.  I am guilty many days of thinking about what the next season will be like.  When the kids are grown I will do such and such.  And yet I’ve done that every season – putting off something for the future is a surefire way to live defeated and a life that leaves much to be desired.  Thrive now, don’t just survive.  With this mentality our spinning plates don’t go away, but they can be much prettier and maybe, dare I say it, even enjoyable.

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