I go to a MOPS meeting on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month, and am in charge of devotions for this year, so on those Thursdays I'll be posting here what I say there.
The other day I wrote on my blog about how I don't make New Year's resolutions. Because, really, who likes to fail? I know, I know, failure is the way you learn and grow but i still don't like it.
Then I heard about choosing one word to live by for the year. I liked this idea because it is full of possibilities and mystery instead of prescribed actions.
I chose the word "abundant" , taking the idea from John 10:10
NRS John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
If you use the popular NIV, it'll say instead
NIV John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. N.T. Wright translates it as "full to overflowing" (John for Everyone, page 147).
Life that is to the full or abundant is not the way we typically live. We live cautious and guarded and planned lives--or at least I do.
But I'm tired of just living like I think I am supposed to--of just getting through what I need to do each day and not taking the time to live it abundantly: with gratitude, joy, love, and however else "abundant" may play out.
In this verse, which is a section about sheep, we have a comparison of two things: death and life.
When we usually think about death and life in that order, we think of physically dying and then "going to heaven". But that's not really what this is about. It is about living an abundant life now.
When we are not fully living, what are we doing? We are dying.
What are the things in life that suck us dry--that steal our energy and our joy and our zest for life? I look at my kids and see how they live abundantly--they live in the moment and they live joyfully and they just live life.
You know, I'll be honest with you. Even though I love being home with my kids, it is not an abundant life for me. I would go crazy if I didn't have the opportunity to read and to write and to engage my brain. My life is not just about being a mom and is not just about my kids. I think that's where a lot of us moms get stuck--we make everything in life about our kids--and we can lose ourselves in the process.
There are a lot of things that suck the life out of us. It could be too many activities. It could be certain people in our lives. It could even be church.
On Sunday, as I was getting ready for church, I had a few thoughts I wanted to explore and put into a study guide that I am writing. I decided that I'd spend the Sunday school hour doing that instead of going to my class, because I knew that if I waited until I got home, I'd lose the momentum I had and I wouldn't be able to work on it without interruption. That hour I spent reading parts of my Bible and looking things up and writing down ideas was life-giving to me. It energized me.
Those are the types of things we need to make sure we do--what gives us life and energy? For some, it'll be spending an hour quietly praying. For others, it might be going for a run or doing some other physical activity.
When Jesus said that he came to give us an abundant or full life, he didn't mean some time in the future. He meant now. We forget that, a lot, I think. So having an abundant life is my focus for this year. I encourage you all to think about your own lives and whether they are dying or living--and look to find ways in which Jesus is calling to you and offering you a life that is full to overflowing.