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Abundant Life

I have been around to John 10 often in the last couple of years. I know this because of my journal. The big idea from this passage, for me, continues to be the contrast between the thief stuff and having life in abundance.

What’s your life like? Your attitude, your general train of thought? What’s your daily motivation? Has your joy been destroyed? Has your peace been killed? Do you feel robbed of your happy? Why? Why should we be destroyed, when Jesus promises life in abundance?

I’m thinking about my life/our lives and what’s been happening. I could get specific- it hasn’t been roses, exactly- but, I won’t. You have your list. I’ll wager it looks a lot like mine. Anyway, for sure, there’s been struggle. With the results of sin, and current events, and unwise decisions and anger. There have been instances of unkind words and denunciations. It has been like a flood of destruction, seems to me.

So here comes this verse again, in our Sunday school lesson this week.

A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.

John 10:10

Praise the Lord, this time around I have some “life in abundance” to my credit. I think I am learning something about that life. Oh, it hasn’t been perfect, AT ALL. You see, when you decide to cross over to Abundant Life from the death march of thief stuff in your heart and mind; things crop up to discourage. Giving up our defenses, and the lies, and the sin by following Jesus when He calls, is that wonderful beginning of life in abundance. But there are always things with which to deal and to battle.

Things like guilt. Guilt leeches any happy right out of your soul. That’s false guilt. True guilt isn’t happy either and it’s really hard to tell the difference sometimes. In my pursuit of life in abundance it was/is important to differentiate and to tackle both. Guilt gets talked over with Jesus. “Lord, I don’t know what this is, but here it is. I’m wanting to live in truth. Show me what to do, if anything, with this bad feeling.”

And worry. I’m finally learning from this chapter coming up so often where worry comes from. It is exciting to face off with my worries with my new ability to recognize the shape and texture that it wears. It’s always draggy and gray and heavy. Death-like and nagging. The only way forward tends down and out. Worry is a killer. Now finally, when my day is consumed with worry, I know what it is and what to do with the rotten thing. I realize more quickly that this is not life in abundance. It’s robbery and death in abundance, if you will.

I need to hear Jesus’ voice again. So handing the thief stuff off to Jesus by prayer is a good first step toward abundant life again. Secondly, being honest with myself about me-ism, which is, that habit of checking in with my feelings instead of focusing on the truths of God’s promises. Feelings need to be directed, not followed.

I’m choosing to be inspired and motivated in my homemaking. Corralling my whirling thoughts and feelings into a focused concentration on my blessings and my work and God’s creation around me requires effort. But it is so worth it. It has been life giving.

It’s why I feed birds and watch them, plant a garden and flowers to tend, create pretty porches and nice suppers. It’s why I use my camera to get pictures of moss and forget-me-not flowers. It’s why I blog and write and invite company. And have coffee with my husband. It’s why I babysit our grandchildren and love on our family.

These all are my life in abundance-es. If I can bless someone, see the beauty, feel the peace of the abundant life so well that it becomes my habit, I can, with better tools, deal with the thief stuff we all encounter.

“He that endures to the end”, implies a life time of choosing and dealing and failing sometimes and winning more. Following the voice of the life giver, proactively, takes vigilance and effort. It makes me feel weary just knowing all that, but then there’s Jesus words in Matthew 11:28 Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden. I will give you rest. That’s where I’m hanging my hat at the end of the day.

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