Christian Living

Abundance in the Now

How’re you guys doing? The holidays working out okay so far? We’ve had a full schedule this week–although my body rebelled so I spent Tuesday and Wednesday in bed. I’m so thankful though for our regular schedule!! We’ve organized it so that we’re consistently moving towards our goals rather than treading water. Something that makes me feel better than I can express 🙂

As I shared last week, our podcast, Epic Every Day, is all about aligning with God’s reality so we can find freedom, abundance, and peace. I ran out of space to talk about abundance and peace so I thought I’d tackle abundance this week and peace next week.

Abundance means having enough or more than enough. For instance, I’ve shared on this blog before how my life pre-Sacred Six meant I never completed my to-do list. I never had enough time to consistently do the things that are important to me. I skimped on self-care. I felt like I was always on the verge of drowning. Now, I actually complete my to-do list regularly. My schedule is set up to push me towards my goals.

Our society is so busy that we tend to live in overwhelm–we don’t have enough time/energy/resources to even try to change that reality. We’re just focused on trying to get through each day.

But what if we could have enough? What if we had enough time to do what really matters to us? To do all the good works God’s prepared in advance for us? What if we consistently had time to breathe? Time to just sit and marvel at God’s character? Time to sleep for 8 hours/night?

Or what about emotional resources–what if we had joy that circumstances couldn’t mute? What if we could persevere through difficult circumstances with peace?

Or what if we had enough finances? An emergency fund that could cushion the loss of a job or a sudden expense? A budget that kept us within our financial means? What if we were out of debt?

I’m not talking about a health and wealth gospel–Jesus said we’d have trouble in this world. Suffering is part of living in a broken world. However, by its very nature, aligning with the way God designed life to work pushes us in the direction of growing freedom, abundance, and peace.

For example, Proverbs speaks over and over about money. Proverbs 22:7 says that the borrower is slave to the lender–not a place we want to be if we’re supposed to be slaves only to God. Not having debts gets rid of a huge stressor and frees us up to do other things in God’s kingdom (e.g., giving to the poor). It’s part of freedom, abundance, and peace. God doesn’t keep us from getting into debt. But I believe He does help us get out of debt once we start being faithful with our finances and aligning with His heart towards money.

Abundance is one of my favorite things about the Christian life. I love that God is a God who gives good gifts (Jas 1:17), that He lavished the riches of His grace on us (Eph 1:8), that He gives abundant redemption (Ps. 130:7). He’s not a stingy God. Yes, living in a broken world means our not-yet abundance is paltry compared to the abundance we’ll have when Jesus returns. Having a healthy earthly body can’t really compare to having a healthy heavenly body. But there’s still abundance in the here and now. Like David says, “I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Ps. 27:13, NIV).

We also see this when we look at Jesus’ ministry. The wine He made at Cana was both the highest quality and there was more than they needed. When He healed people, He did it to the point that they were fully functional–not just half-healed.

And that’s why we’re passionate about aligning with God’s design in the here and now. It’s the pathway to true abundance–both now and eternally.

Blog_ Abundance in the Now

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Christian Living

Living in Lack

If you’re at all familiar with the self-help community these days, you’ll know that abundance and lack thinking are common topics. Living in lack means that you believe there isn’t enough of something for you to have it–it can be material things like money or cars, or intangibles like peace, joy, health, happiness, etc.–that there’s only a certain amount of x in the world and only a select few have it.

I was struck this morning listening to J.B. Glossinger’s podcast about lack thinking. He talked about some pretty convicting ways to tell if you’re in lack thinking–e.g., making fear-based decisions, getting jealous of people who do have that thing, or having a fixation on whatever you lack. This is a relatively new concept related to the law of attraction and other philosophies–new as in within the past 100 years. But it’s not new to Christians.

In Genesis 3, Satan convinces Adam and Eve that they’re missing something. They have fruit from all the trees in the garden–except for one. And, as Beth Moore says in Esther, the moment that warning switched from God’s gracious caution/protection to His prohibition, Adam and Eve were sucked in. Suddenly, God was the enemy, the one keeping them from something good. Suddenly, they didn’t have enough–they were missing something.

It’s easy to see things that way, isn’t it? Sometimes I look at my life and get cranky over my lack of health or stressed over our finances. Other people have x, y, z, so why can’t I have it too? Instead of seeing those lacks as God’s gracious protection or a result of some heart issue He’s trying to solve in me, I focus on the fact that I don’t have it now.

I love the fact that all Christians are God’s trust fund children. I love that our gracious God gives us more than we need. I love that when I have a lack in my life, I can choose to focus on who God is and watch the situation expectantly, knowing that my heavenly Father is never going to leave me hanging.

I also think it’s pretty amazing when you take a bird’s eye view of resources in the world in general–there’s always enough peace, hope, joy, love, etc. when we get those things from God because they’re fruit of the Holy Spirit. It’s easy to feel like there is limited money or limited food or limited medicine worldwide but more and more I’ve been able to see how God renews resources. I realize some of those resources are not as accessible as we would like, but they’re still available–it’s a distribution issue rather than a true lack of resources, if that makes sense. For instance, trees keep growing and providing the wood for paper and firewood, etc., etc.

Anyway! all that to say, we don’t live in lack. Or at least, as Christians, we don’t have to. We live in a world where God provides everything we need–the same way He provided everything Adam and Eve needed. Therefore, if I’m living in lack, I don’t need to point my finger at God–I need to point it at myself.

Uncategorized

Changing Tribes

Hey guys! Sorry it’s been a few weeks. Illness and computer glitches are not my friends.

Anyway, I think I’ve told y’all that I’ve been taking a couple classes about money–specifically about changing the way you think about money. I’ve definitely seen a big difference. It’s amazing how much of how you handle money as an adult is dependent on what you learned as a child (at least, if you were taught/shown anything about money by the adults around you). In Tapping into Wealth, Margaret Lynch talks about tribal mores. She argues that our families are like tribes and we take on the rules of that tribe. It’s a survival instinct–if you get kicked out of your family as a child (or even as an adult), life gets a lot harder.

One of the exercises she has you go through is to figure out what those tribal mores are for your specific family in the area of finances: how much money you’re allowed to have, how you should feel about rich people, how hard you have to work in order to get that money, etc. There’s a psychological script that we all run based on how we were raised, a “people like us” do x, y, z.

It was illuminating to do that exercise. I realized I have some very limiting beliefs in that area. For example, I discovered that I believe I would have to work more than 120 hours/week in order to have more than enough money to pay the bills–which would be why I’ve never wanted to do it 🙂 I rebelled against that tribal more by deciding my family is more important to me but I didn’t change the belief. Loads of people have money for saving, vacations, and other luxuries without working 120+ hours per week. It’s because they work smarter rather than harder.

As I’ve been doing EFT/Tapping to work through some of these beliefs, I’ve been thinking about how the issue isn’t the beliefs themselves. I mean, they are still a problem. But the root issue has to do with what tribe I belong to. As we become adults, we build our own families and sometimes keep or get rid of tribal mores that our parents instilled. But more than that, as Christians, we belong to God’s family. His tribal mores are what we should be living our lives according to.

So, for instance, God doesn’t tell us to work 120+ hours per week. He tells us that we’re His precious children and that He is our Provider (Matt. 6:25-34; 7:9-11). He tells us to have weekly Sabbath and set up a schedule of yearly “vacations” where His people took a week off of work a few times per year (Ex. 31:14-16; Deut. 16:16). He tells us that in vain do we burn the candle at both ends because we’re designed for sleep–He gives sleep to His beloved (Ps. 127:2).

Another piece of the working that hard bit is this value on pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps. But that’s another thing that isn’t part of God’s values. He values us having faith in Him and going to Him with our problems rather than working day and night to solve our own issues.

I was reminded of a scene in Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce where the main character moves to a different country but continues to dress according to the cultural values of her home country. When someone suggests she switch from heavy skirts to breeches, she’s taken aback. It was shameful and immodest for a woman to wear breeches where she was from, and she has to think about it. She talks about what the priests would say. But then she realizes that she doesn’t live there anymore. She truly can change her behavior without feeling shame, and she enthusiastically does so.

So often that’s me. I’ve changed tribes but I live like I haven’t. I have a new allegiance but I keep the old tribe’s rules. But it doesn’t have to be that way; I belong to God’s family now.

So what about you? What areas in your life are you keeping the tribal mores of your family or culture when God has a different set of rules?

 

Christian Living

Good Gifts

Christmas is this week. As you all know, I’m not really a fan. *Gasp.* I know, I know–it’s sacrilegious to not love Christmas. I’m working on it.

There are a lot of really awesome things about Christmas but somehow, they get lost in the stress of the season (at least for me). I’m incredibly thankful for my family, and I actually really love spending time with my husband and my kids. We love and like each other.

One of the big stressors though for me is gift-giving. I’m not even sure why. I think it has to do with this idea that you have to buy a gift that makes the other person happy–that’s a lot of pressure. It’s hard to find something someone is guaranteed to love, something that’s perfect for that person. I realize we all say that it’s the thought that counts but too many times I’ve watched someone open a gift and try to hide their disappointment. This year, as I’ve been doing tapping (EFT) on the subject of Christmas, I realized anew that it really is the love behind the gift that is important–regardless of how people react. I buy gifts because I care about people.

Anyway, something else I’ve been tapping through is my view of money. As you know, I like to view myself as God’s trust fund child. That means God takes care of our money needs when they come up. I’ve been realizing that too often we view money as the thing that makes us happy instead of focusing on the love behind it. How would that change your view of money if you saw it as an expression of God’s love and provision instead of a thing to be acquired in its own right? I know it’s definitely been changing how I think about money.

I’ve been reading several entrepreneurial books lately and it’s so interesting to me that when you study different “rich person” ways of thinking (e.g., Rich Dad, Poor Dad or some of Dave Ramsey’s stuff) are more in line with how the Bible talks about money. For example, thinking that money is just a thing instead of a measure of how well you’re doing in life. Or valuing time more than money. Or treating money as a measure of what’s going on in your heart rather than valuable in itself.

I love in James where it says that God gives good gifts. In her study on James, Beth Moore talks about how those good gifts are perfect for us. God’s gifts are individualized to us–not because He’s winning our affections or because He’s trying to make us value the gift itself, but because He loves us.

So this week, as we’re opening gifts and/or trying to balance our end of year finances, let’s be reminded that God’s gifts are expressions of His love rather than valuing the gifts over the Giver.