Sunday, August 10, 2014

Pursuing Abundant Life

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs.  Ask yourself what makes you come alive.  And then go do that.  Because what the world needs are people who have come alive." 
- Harold Whitman

Last night my husband and I hosted a big bonfire with a group of close friends to celebrate the end of a long journey and the beginning of a new one that our family has just embarked on. We roasted hot dogs and smore's, drank wine and talked until well close to midnight outside by the fire.  When the last couple had finally loaded their kids into the car and we sunk into bed, we agreed that the night brought such an overflow of love, support and ultimately-- life.  To be surrounded by friends who have seen and supported us along this journey and to celebrate with them was incredibly life giving.

I recently read somewhere that the phrase life giving is being over used.  While it might be so, this same phrase has become an ever present theme for me over the past year.  I believe it all started when my husband began to challenge me to stop agreeing to to things we both knew would be done out of the guilt of saying "no."

A friend would ask me to go an event and I would say "yes" just to be a people pleaser, all the while knowing it just wasn't right for my day or my week.

Some nights I would feel the pressure to cook a huge dinner in the midst of crabby children and mounds of dishes. Yet another lesson in learning to shed the "super mom" ideal.  I would scratch the big dinner idea, feed the kids left overs and order takeout after they went to bed.  Guilt free.  Because ultimately this was much more life giving for me and for my kids.

Lets be honest- kids would rather have a smorgasbord of dinner on their plates and a happy mom rather than a plate full of gourmet foods and a mom who wants to pull her own hair out.

Ditching these smaller life sucking acts led me to remove some even bigger, that I knew weren't bringing life. This led to a long overdue delete of facebook. For me, a typical day in the life of facebook went one of two ways-- methodically check my feed every 20 minutes.  Sigh, when no one has updated their status since the last time I checked.  Because really, what are people doing with their time?  Ha.

Or, send me into a complete anxiety attack when I've read yet another post about a child diagnosed with cancer or an infant who has passed away from SIDS.  Before I come off as completely cold and heartless-- let me say that I do care about those types of issues.  But I believe there is difference between constantly immersing yourself in the tragedies of this world and then going to the other extreme-- living a life of complete naivety. There has got to be a balance.  Reading posts and articles about rampant sex offenders and catastrophic tsunamis weren't just keeping me informed-- they were becoming Satan's tool for bringing me to a place of constant fear and anxiety.  In an effort to do something life giving, I decided it was time to take the power back.  And I did. And it was so worth it.

Jeremy and I feel that God has really been leading us to a place of shedding safety nets in order to really trust Him for his provision and direction and to really truly pursue abundant life. We've made some pretty bold decisions in order to give life back to our ourselves.  Jeremy quit his job in order to continue his dream of becoming a full time marriage and family therapist. We got a dog. I'm going to go ahead and just put it out there that the dog has been much more life giving for my kids that it has been for me. Sorry, Miya. We've got some pretty big things on the horizon that I can't wait to share will you all in the next coming months.

But beyond the big things we have done or look forward to in the coming months, so much of our past year has consisted of small things that have brought so much life.  Hiking with our kids. Experiencing a mountain sunset.  Capturing my daughter on camera as she stands in awe of the rainbow after a mid summer thunderstorm. So much life can be found in these moments when we are intentional about finding what makes us most passionate.

For me, moving forward in this continued pursuit of what is most "life giving" means taking on some dreams and passions that God has been shaping in my heart for the past several years.  I'm returning to my work with the elderly after a nearly year long maternity break.  I'm so excited to be part of the new campus launch of our church--Red Rocks and I'm praying about how I can be used to minister to other mommas in our church. I'm also so excited to keep pursuing my involvement with Love146-- which is our Denver based task force, working to end sex trafficking here in our own backyards.  I'm pumped to begin training for my next marathon along the Big Sur Coast of Calfornia.  And certainly not least, but something I'm so ready for is to get back into the blogging world.  Writing is something I'm so incredibly passionate about and I have felt God leading me to take it on more regularly as a way to reach other mommas.

I express all of these dreams knowing full well that life can take turns we never imagined.  I'm open and excited (and a little nervous) to trust God in a new way. Mostly I'm looking forward to writing and sharing how He continues to bring life to me-- and through me-- as I work with people I love and get involved in causes close to my heart.

"The glory of God is a human being fully alive.  And to be alive consists in beholding God."
St. Irenaeus 

So what does this mean for you? Maybe it means prayerfully considering a risky career leap to do something that will bring God more glory and ultimately you more life.  Maybe it means starting a family or taking that trip you've been wanting to take for years. How will you pursue your most abundant life?

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