The promise of abundant life is compelling. Abundance of money and things? Of years? Or is it the promise of God that He will make provision for all our needs? It involves mental, physical and spiritual health and well-being. It means relationships and possessions. It is covered in love, abounding in hope and a promise of opportunity. It involves a heart and life open for His guidance and blessings and a willingness to follow. It involves belief that God is sovereign. Abundant life is too vast and majestic for us to contain in our finite minds since it also involves the spiritual realm and God’s total provision. Here are 8 ways to live your best life and find joy and happiness.
How to Live an Abundant Life
- Accept the Reality of My Situation
The effort to improve our situation – status, health, finances – starts with honesty. Determine who I am. It is akin to filling out a form for a loan or a job, yet introspective. Facing the fact that you are single is very hard for the recently widowed or divorced. A new widow does not like that word used to describe her. She still feels the strong attachment of having a partner and belonging. The divorcee faces the aloneness but also must deal with the feeling of rejection or of having made very poor choices or she may feel that a very bad time in her life is now over. Acknowledging these and other issues is a starting place.
Being honest about one’s mental as well as physical health is important. Where can I improve? Do I need to alter my diet and exercise? Am I following my doctor’s orders for treatment and rechecks? Am I situationally depressed only to the degree that improvement in relations and situation will alter that, or do I honestly need to see a mental health specialist for evaluation?
Have I faced my financial situation square on? Perhaps you need to meet with a financial advisor to help you see possibilities and pitfalls. Perhaps finding a more challenging work situation would help you in multiple ways. Recognizing responsibilities, as well as determining the potentials of increasing income in your capability store, can be the fuel providing the needed thrust power.
The abundant life is found in seeking. Jesus tells us that He came so that we may have life and have it more abundantly. Since he is life, when we become a believer, we experience that spiritual life as he comes to dwell within us. That opens the door to joy and gives us a whole new way of looking at life.
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.2 Corinthians 9:8
2. Determining My Value
At low ebbs of our life, we tend to beat ourselves down even further. I am no good. Nothing good is ever going to happen. I am a failure. I can’t start over again. That type of deflating rhetoric daily only adds to the discouragement.
We need to recognize and appreciate our abilities and talents. You may have grown up being told that you aren’t capable, that you will never amount to much. Let no man or woman determine your worth. God made you with a purpose and for a purpose. Give your heart to him and hear him say: “You are my beloved.” “You are a daughter of the King.” “You got it, Man.” “You are the apple of my eye.” “You can do all things when you acknowledge me in your life.”
Objectivity in determining our abilities and our weaknesses is a key factor. I am a list maker. Pros and Cons. Be honest in a personal list by writing down in one column the attributes you may have, albeit they may never have been used to the potential with which they were intended. List character strengths, not just skills. Skills can be easily taught; character takes time and trials to develop. This is one of the best of 8 ways to live your best life.
In the other column, list characteristics that you see as a deterrent to your success whether personally or professionally. Acknowledge lack of innate ability in some areas. As a rule, pursue a path for which you have interest, natural gifts or unusual opportunity.
As you re-evaluate your earning ability, always add the pluses that will be there now that your relationship with God is on the right path. Ask fellow believers to help you determine concrete steps to take. Move on it. All the best and most excellent items wrapped up but never taken from the closet will not win the race. We must punch GO.
You may no longer be considered young. Remember, the crucible of experience makes one marketable. Past employment, volunteerism, travel and education can be honed to a profit margin when the need is there.
Above all, seek not to be a “Foolish Woman.” Stay on the high road. Watch your words and actions. A single woman must be very careful. A married woman must be very faithful. A wayward man is known as a fool. Follow this important one of 8 ways to live your best life.
Professional status and social status must be determined. Where do I fit in? What groups – church and social – would improve my desire of living a more abundant life of joy, enthusiasm, blessings, financial health, mental health. Where can I become the provider from the abundance of my life to help others, to make a difference, to promote a healthier and safer society.
A healthy society must have more givers than takers. Plan to be a giver. Giving brings great joy and satisfaction. These gifts may be monetary, time, comradery, friendship, spiritual help and above all a concerned attitude.
3. The Search for Identity
Perhaps a life happening has just changed your identity as the world sees you. No longer a student? Suddenly an unemployed designation? Newly married? Suddenly single? Widow? Divorced? New parent?
How do you want to be known? Most of us do not like to be identified as needy. There are times when this adjective may well be given us. However, when we are at all able, the person within us wants to be self-sufficient and be the provider for the needy.
We may have suffered a loss that removes our being identifiable. We feel as if we are invisible. Many highly successful people may have that feeling after retiring. Their sense of worth was completely wrapped up in their acceptance and success in the workforce. Now a new identity must be developed that provides the abundant life, the feeling of being a contributor and the feeling of belonging in a new way.
Who are you? Find your identity in Christ and then use that affirmation in determining the choices for living an abundant life as you explore all avenues. Follow this important one of 8 ways to live your best life.
No tree, no flower, no child, not you, not I – can flourish without care. To be the best you and to have the ability of living the abundant life, demands much care. We must be fed and loved.
Sometimes there are dark and lonely spaces in our lives. No growth, no joy, no fruit – but much as a plant left in a dark spot starts growing tenaciously toward the light of a window, so we must lean toward light. The light from a friend or family member. The light of God who is there waiting for the cry of help.
But we must also care for ourselves. Determined motivation makes us ready to handle the abundance. Proper physical care is so important. Eating right and getting exercise makes a profound difference mentally, physically and spiritually. Monitor your sleep habits. A rested person handles the demands of each day in a more appropriate manner.
If you want to increase the abundance of opportunities to serve and be blessed, step up and step out. There is a whole new world awaiting those who seek. Read inspiring articles, let God speak to you through reading the Bible, visit social and service groups, join a Life Group at a nearby church, volunteer at the nearest school.
The more we give, the more we receive. Life takes on new meaning. I promise you, whoever you are, there are many opportunities for you to give time, energy, understanding and money. From sorting donated clothes to tutoring a child – the options are many.
5. Generosity is Becoming
Compared to an avaricious old man, an ungenerous woman is seen as a white knuckled epitome of tension with furtive, darting eyes. Gracious generosity becomes a woman of any age and sets apart a gentleman. The drawing close of one’s garments to protect oneself and one’s things gives the message of self-centered smallness rather than open graciousness.
Perhaps it is more an attitude than an amount of money, time or talents given. A clenched hand cannot give nor receive. A closed heart neither loves nor allows being loved.
A generous attitude is so very becoming and opens doors and hearts. Share the love. You will be loved in return.
6. Being vs Doing
God did all the work for our salvation. Jesus’s sacrifice was sufficient for all sin for all time. The abundant life is a gift. Handle it with wisdom.
God chose to move into a new home – to live within us who believe on His name. We are God’s new dwelling place. In 1st Jn. 4:13 we read, “By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.”
Thus, the God whom “no one has seen” is seen in those who love, because God lives in them. Amazing how God loves us.
These things considered, the abundance filled life is one of being undeservedly blessed by God and in turn allowing that Love that indwells us to be shared with others in an abundance of ways.
The joy of sharing affirms us and transforms us. The little verse we learned in childhood of “It is better to give than to receive” becomes a truism in our lives. We are a conduit of God’s love and grace and mercy. “Christ in us, the Hope of Glory.” Colossians 1:27. What a fulfilling promise. It is all because of His amazing grace.
7. Planning for Retirement
Usually on the first day of employment at your very first real job, if it is with a company of any size at all, you will be asked to decide how much of your pay you want withheld for retirement. Retirement? I haven’t even received my first paycheck! Trust me, it is never too soon to start planning a funded retirement.
Having substantial amount in your savings account upon retirement would give some comfort. We must plan to care for ourselves until we die. However, retirement can be long – and it can be lonely if we do not give thought to how we want to spend it. Being with family, enjoying grandchildren, traveling, etc. – all are great. But you will likely have many years of health and ability – a great time in which to contribute time, brains, experience and help to non-profits and those in need. A well-rounded retirement of rest, fun and sharing makes life more interesting and allows us to be “used up.” Follow this important one of 8 ways to live your best life. Read more about enjoying your retirement here.
8. Where do I go from here?
Yes – there is an abundant life to all who believe – He promises us life to the full. Don’t miss out on the abundant life promised by Jesus Christ to all who believe – He enables us “to have life to the full.” John 10:10.
National Public Radio recently aired a segment on dying well and what the living can learn from the lives of the deceased. The segment featured a study of some 2,000 non-paid, editorial New York Times obituaries over a two-year period. What surprised them was that the most common word in the obituaries was “help”. People who apparently lived life to the fullest shared a defining commentary – they helped individuals and causes for the betterment of society.
Choosing to live a life that exudes God’s love to others and brings joy to both the giver and the recipient is the ultimate in abundant living. Using that abundance in freely sharing while asking His wisdom in how to invest our money and time leads to the fullness of a life well-lived. A life that glorifies God, loves our neighbor and enriches our own lives. Choose Jesus and let’s walk this road together.