Abundance. This is a word I have heard spoken a lot in the past few years. From leadership training sessions to financial planning seminars and even from the pulpit. All of the voices of influence in our world are making it quite clear that we can and should be living a life of "abundance", but what does that even mean? Does it mean a life of MORE? Surely not. Because, quite honestly, I think a lot of us would be doing ourselves a service by living with less! Present company included. #firstworldproblems So if a life of abundance doesn't mean a life accumulating more "stuff" than what does it mean???
According to Websters dictionary, abundance means "an ample quantity" or, in other words, more than enough. More than enough. That's not a measurable number. That's not a dollar amount, the square footage of a house, or social status. At first glance reading that definition almost makes defining a life of abundance more confusing. More abstract. More difficult to "attain" because there is no guidepost, no finish line that would help us to know YOU HAVE ARRIVED! You are now living a life abundance! Great job! Here is your gold star and you can grab your free banana to refuel over there. ;) (Shout out to all of you runners out there! You know just how wonderful that silly free banana is after a long run! lol) If you're anything like me then you know just how important it is to have a "finish line" when it comes to setting and reaching goals. Something deep inside me clings to the self-imposed truth that my mission is accomplished when I can officially cross "live an abundant life" off of my to-do list and move on to the next big dream, goal, or mission. However, abundance doesn't work like that. Abundance isn't a destination, it's a journey, a lifestyle, a life lived on mission. Here's how I see it.
Take a moment to close your eyes and envision with me a cup being held under a faucet. Watch as the water quickly fills the cup all of the way to the top and then to overflowing! WOO HOO! You not only have a full cup, you have a cup filled and overflowing! You have more than enough! You could look at this visual and think "Yes! I have achieved abundance! I can check it off my list and move onto the next thing!" OR you can say "That was amazing but I know the Lord has called me to even greater things that just filling this cup!" So you grab a bucket, and then a pool, and then dig a lake, continually filling your heart and life to a level of abundance. You are continually overflowing with more than enough and increasing your reach and capacity to make a difference and impact on the world and lives around you! In both of these scenarios, you experienced abundance. However, in the first, you only experienced a moment of abundance. In the second you pushed through, continued to learn and grow, and created a life of abundance!
So what does that look like in our own individual lives? There are SO MANY ways to answer that question, so I am going to focus on just a few areas that I am personally contending for in 3 key areas of my own life: Friendship, Finances, and Faith.
First, let's look at an abundance in our friendships. Does this mean having thousands of friends or followers on social media? Heck to the no! This means having a few special friendships in your life that are MORE THAN ENOUGH! Friendships that don't drain you but encourage you, inspire you, and fill you up so that when you walk away and rejoin life your "friendship cup" is literally filled to overflowing and you are able to spill out some of that true friendship onto others that you are going to encounter throughout your day and week!
Second, you can have financial abundance. Please don't confuse financial abundance with incredible wealth. Now let me be clear, financial security should definitely be a goal of yours, and knowing your current financial reality, your financial goals, and creating a plan to attain those goals 100% NEED to be a thing in your life. I even encourage you to get out there and enroll in a financial planning course, such as Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey, to help you get out of debt and build security, or even invest in a personal financial planner as you plan for the future. Our finances are a precious gift from God and should be managed wisely and well. So yes, financial GOALS are a great thing but they are not the same as living a life of financial abundance. Again, abundance means more than enough so for me living a life of financial abundance means not living beyond my means so that there is an overflow that allows me to love on others - whether that be by doubling a dinner recipe and inviting a family over for a time of fellowship, delivering a meal to the foster family that just took in a new child in need, or simply being able to give an extra $5, $50, or $500 in the offering to help support a missionary or your local church. To me, THAT is living a life of financial abundance. It's not a large lump sum but rather the culmination of simple moments lived out daily, made possible by that overflow coming from your cup - the "more than enough" - aka abundance.
And last but certainly not least, I want to live a life of spiritual abundance! I hope you have caught onto the theme by now that, for me (and clearly Mr. Webster of Websters Dictionary), abundance means more than enough. So, in turn, a life of spiritual abundance means living a life that is literally overflowing with Jesus. My prayer is that my heart and life will be so full of His presence that His goodness, His peace, His kindness, His gentleness, He grace, and His love literally overflow out of me and onto my family, my friends, and every other person I encounter in my daily life. I don't want to live this life constantly running to Jesus because I am empty and dry. Instead, I want to live my life in such a way that when I come into His presence it isn't just to fill me back up, but is also an opportunity to fill my "cup", then my "bucket", then my "pool" to overflowing with Him so that I can expand my reach and grow my capacity to pour into others, live my life on mission for Him, and make Him known.
If I were to sum up my definition of a life of abundance I would say "I don't want to live a life that forces me to choose "either-or". I want a life of abundance that freely gives "both-and". I don't want to either take care of me or take care of others. I want to take care of me AND take care of others. I don't want to pay my bills or give to missions. I want to pay my bills AND give to missions. I don't want to fill my spiritual "cup" or pour into others. I want to fill my spiritual lake and overflow into every single person the Lord brings into my path! Anyone else want to live that kind of abundant life?? If you said a resounding YES in your heart and mind (or even out loud for all of you oober passionate ones like me ;) ) then I leave you with this simple encouragement -
Start a revival in your heart, mind, and life! Revival (be that for healthy relationships, healthy finances, healthy self-care, or healthy spiritual life) begins in our hearts and our homes and then the overflow that comes from His presence - His goodness, His provision - flows into our neighborhoods, our cities, our nation, and our World. After all, revival doesn't start WITH you - revival starts IN you!