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 πŸ™‚

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

Being the Right Tool for the Job

The past few weeks have been unusual schedule-wise for us. My kids were complaining this morning that they just want a week where we have a normal schedule where we do school in the normal order πŸ™‚ You know it’s bad when the kids are whining because they want to do more school!

I have to admit it’s been stressful for me as well. I love our normal schedule–mostly because we have structured our normal schedule in such a way that it pushes us forward in our goals just by following it. Normally, I get time to work on my writing six days a week. Normally, we work on our podcast. Normally, the house gets cleaner from week to week rather than deteriorating.

Anyway! Talking about being centered on our podcast, Epic Every Day, this week has had me mulling over how I’m doing in that area. Being centered is about living out of the essence of who God has made you (and me) to be. It’s about making sure you know yourself well and the things you do are the things you were designed to do. For instance, if you’re a screwdriver, you shouldn’t be pounding nails into a wall. If you’re an introvert, you’re probably not called to do a job with lots of people.

This idea was such a revelation to me. I was so used to doing what needed to be done regardless of whether it was the best use of my time. God has designed each of us with certain natural talents–for example, not everyone is energized by writing so not everyone takes the time to learn the necessary skills. Writing is something I’m passionate about and, hopefully, getting better at. It would be a waste of time for me (and for the person who received my work) to draw for a living. It’s not something I’m naturally talented at–nor am I willing to put in the time to increase my skills. It would be better for me to do the writing and for someone else to do the illustrations.

Proverbs 17:24 says, “Sensible people keep their eyes glued on wisdom, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth” (NLT). It’s wisdom to do the things God’s made us to do. We know that when we look at a tool. When my computer’s graphics card died (again!) this week, I didn’t go looking for pliers because I needed a mini screwdriver. Tools are not interchangeable, and neither are people. In the Church, we need our eyes to see and our ears to hear–we need everyone to do the job they’re designed for (1 Cor. 12) so we can all thrive. My life is better when you do what you’re called to do, and your life is better when I’m faithful too–whether we see the immediate effects or not.

So what are you called to do? What are you naturally talented at? Or what are you passionate about? I’m naturally talented at gathering information and I’m passionate about natural health, therefore, I know a lot about natural health stuff.

One way we can keep our eyes glued on wisdom is to write down what we’re supposed to be doing and then look at it regularly. I find I do much better when I have a sticky note of goals on my calendar and read through it out loud every day. It’s amazing how keeping my eyes on the finish line can motivate me πŸ™‚ Besides, as my tai chi instructor likes to say, you can’t hit a bullseye if you’re looking at the wall the target is on–you have to focus on the bullseye.

Another way is to look at your schedule: is your normal schedule structured so that it will push you forward towards your goals? Do you have habits that create progress in the areas where you doing what you’re designed to do? If this is a struggle for you, I highly recommend reading JB Glossinger’s book, Sacred 6. It’s definitely helped bring this into focus for me!

Bottom line: Be the right tool for the job, and if you’re not, let someone else do it.

Blog_ Being the Right Tool for the Job

Christian Living

Camp & To-do Lists

My kids are at camp this week. It’s been weird. You parents out there will understand when I say I almost don’t know what to do with myself πŸ™‚ It’s the first time we’ve gone this long without seeing them and having so much time to ourselves is just plain weird. Fun! But weird.

Being out of my normal routine has definitely thrown my body for a loop so I’m sleep deprived. I don’t know if it’s the stress of trying to get a ton of things done while the kids are gone or what. For some reason, I had visions of hours of extra time–practically adding up to entire days of being able to work on projects and still go on dates with my husband. I forgot that we still have to eat, the dishes still have to be done, and I still need to do my regular self-health things like doing my quiet time every day and Tapping every day, etc., etc.

Basically, I had a to-do list that was a mile long and I still haven’t gotten through it even with my kids gone.

I was complaining to God about the situation when it hit me that I put way too much emphasis on my to-do list. I’ve actually gotten significantly better at to-do lists over the past year (thanks to JB Glossinger’sΒ Sacred Six). I often complete my to-do list for the day. Things don’t fall through the cracks as much as they used to. And I don’t freak out as much if something doesn’t get done.

I think it’s that whole having extra time that’s been throwing me. I put all this emphasis on completing things this week. My husband and I are in the midst of starting a podcast and we’ve been trying to finish up our website and random other details. This week seemed like an ideal time to get them done. It’s hard to do though when we only have one functional computer.

Anyway! I was thinking about how I use my to-do list sometimes. Maybe you can relate. When I get stressed, I clamp down on the things I can control–housecleaning, what I eat, my to-do list, etc.–as a way to handle the stress of the things I can’t control. It’s funny how the more in control I try to be, the more out of control I feel. Have you ever experienced that?

I was raised to believe that getting things done was the epitome of success. Having a completed task list was this unattainable goal that I always thought would make me feel confident and at peace. But now that I’ve had several months’ worth of lists that are completed, I’m realizing it’s just a list. It’s just a tool, not a measurement. It’s similar to when our house first started being consistently clean. I thought it would lower our stress levels (and it did). I thought it would add to my peace but that never happened.

Peace comes from submission, from the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. It doesn’t come from our circumstances–clean houses, to-do lists, financial security, resolved relational conflicts, etc., etc. It’s God’s work in our lives that brings peace. It’s submission to God’s way of doing things–building where He builds (Ps. 127:1-2). Calm circumstances are nice but, like Elsa inΒ Frozen,Β we bring our own storms with us. Only God can calm the inside.