The Responsibility of Abundance

Today I have one final thought on the topic of abundance.  This month’s journey of discovering abundance has opened my eyes and heart to the challenges and opportunities of abundance, and I hope you’ve experienced the same.  Today we’re talking about the big challenge of abundance: responsibility.

“It is not only my right and my privilege to walk in the abundance God has for me, it is my responsibility…” Jan Denise

What if everyone had abundance?  What if I told you that everyone is abundant, but not everyone takes advantage of it?  I know that many people are stuck in their small, debilitating worlds, and can’t get to the abundance that they could tap into.

See, abundance, just like much of life is directly tied into your ability and willingness to be responsible for your life and the actions you do and don’t take.  Abundance usually doesn’t just drop into your lap, just like money, you have to do something to have a successful relationship with it.

If you’re alive, you’ve got a choice: to be or not to be responsible in your life.  I’m not only talking about the boring types of responsibility like paying your bills on time, I’m talking about the fun stuff like the responsibility to have fun, to enjoy life and be yourself as well.  We all have responsibilities in life, but many of us pretend they’re not there and try to ignore them or downplay them.  When we do this we’re missing out on major opportunities to find fulfillment and abundance in our lives.  When we choose to fulfill our responsibilities in ways that aren’t as filled with potential as they could be, we limit who we are and who we can become.

So your challenge at the end of this month is two-fold.  First, to accept responsibility for your life.  You’re the only one truly responsible for it, no one else can take on all of the things that you should.  Second, to live with abundance in mind.  If you’re living from a lack mindset, you’ll never accomplish or find all that your heart desires.  But when you open to the possibilities of abundance, the options are endless.

The Abundance of Fulfillment

“To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance.”  Matthew 25:29

This verse reveals one of the greatest keys of abundance and life: when you use your talents, abilities and life to the fullest, you’ll never be without an abundance of blessings.  When you live life to the fullest you’ll never be at a lack for anything.  Whether we’re talking about money, relationships or work, God created us with a purpose, and when we are fulfilling that purpose, we find abundance.

So then, the trick is to apply what we’ve talked about over the last 3 weeks and on the blog in general.  It’s great to have big dreams, it’s also great to have big goals and want to achieve big things.  The issue arises when we just let them stay as dreams.   If you want abundance, you have to take action.

Why would God want to bless you for doing nothing?  Just like at work or in life, if you don’t do anything, or become anything, you don’t get anything.  Yes, sometimes you’ll get a rare blessing ‘just because’ from God, but honestly, you won’t feel fulfilled if all you get are “freebies”, and don’t live your life.

As we look to the summer, don’t be afraid to get down and dirty.  Make plans and set goals, get out there and do big things, or little things.  When you’re ready to have a fulfilling life, start taking action to make your dreams a reality.

Abundant Blessings

“When you focus on being a blessing, God makes sure that you are always blessed in abundance.” Joel Osteen

This week in the USA we’re celebrating Memorial Day and remembering the soldiers who have fought, and some who have given their lives, for the rest of us.  I’m very thankful for all the soldiers who give up their normal lives and leave their homes to be in other parts of the world and country and are willing to die fighting for us.

On Monday we talked about accepting the abundance that comes into our lives, and I believe soldiers (and their families) have to go through a similar process of acceptance when the decision is made to join the military.

This decision making and acceptance process isn’t something those of us without people in active service are affected by, but that doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate and respect their sacrifice.  Occasionally when I flip through channels on TV I’ll see a home makeover or similar show where they’re doing a project for a Vet or their family.  I’m always touched by the outpouring of support shown to that family by the whole team and crew.  No, we don’t all do our part in supporting military families, but the awareness campaigns  and support by many groups (Wounded Warrior Project, Southeastern Guide Dogs, Our Military Kids etc.), has really helped to begin changing that.

In your life you probably have or have had people who have been a blessing to you.  This week I challenge you to do something for them.  Maybe start a scholarship fund in their name, donate to an organization that they like or support, or send them a gift and thoughtful card.

A big part of remembering, which we do for Memorial Day, is about remembering the blessing they were to us and blessing them abundantly in return.

Accepting Abundance

“I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13

These verses speak about one of the hardest challenges we face throughout our lives: acceptance.  It’s very hard for us to accept the truth about someone, the truth about what we believe, the truth about ourselves and the truth about our future.  One of the hardest acts of acceptance is related to abundance and receiving what is given to us.  Whether pride gets in our way or we just refuse to accept good stuff when it comes to us, we’ve gotten bad at accepting reality when we’re approached by it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big believer in hope and second chances.  I believe we all have the strength and ability to make drastic changes in our lives so we don’t need charity and we can be generous with others.  I encourage you to be able to be self sufficient, not needing others to provide for your needs.

The challenge then comes in when we do have needs and can’t meet them by ourselves.  I believe the one of the biggest blessings in this world comes from the people around us. It’s relieving, even thrilling, to know that I don’t have to know how my computer works when I turn it on in the morning, or how to fix my car if it isn’t working right, there are others who can take care of that.  But it’s up to me to accept that I need their help and ask for it when the situation arises.

Accepting who you are, where you are, what you are, and what you can and can’t change about life are challenging. It’s not easy to get past or through that pride and sufficiency to relying on others. But when you know they can be depended on and have built a network where it’s not a burden for you to rely on each other, but rather a joy, the abundance that will fill your life and theirs will be such a blessing.

Work Towards Abundance

Work is one of the places where fear often reigns king.  We worry about whether or not we’ll be able to keep the job or the client, whether we’re doing a good enough job, whether the competition is stealing our secrets or what people are saying about us on social media and review websites.  There have been a few companies that have done well turning that fear into actions and transforming the relationship with and position of the employees and staff members.  I believe these transformed companies are not only the future of business and work, but also the healthiest and happiest places to work.  If you’re in a job or career where abundance and enjoyment is the farthest thing from your mind, start with these inspiring words:

“Talent is always conscious of its own abundance, and does not object to sharing.”  Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

“Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.” Wayne Dyer

“I have an abundance mentality: When people are genuinely happy at the successes of others, the pie gets larger.” Stephen Covey

To change workplaces around the world to be places we actually want to work at, places we’re happy to spend our money at, and places where we feel abundance not lack, we have to first change our attitude.  Work needs to become a place where we all learn and create together, where we work as a team and not against each other negatively, and where we all celebrate each other’s successes rather than grumbling about how much more they make or how much better their job must be.

If you’re fortunate enough to work for one of the more advanced companies that make an effort to create an atmosphere of abundance, health and growth, be thankful!  If you don’t you’ve got a choice whether you want to stay or leave.  But even before you make that choice, it’s up to you to turn around your attitude where you are.  If you can’t, don’t bother switching jobs, it won’t be any better anywhere else.  If you’re the boss, know that unhappy employees mean lost business.  The transformation to abundance at work starts right now with you.

Provision and Abundance

“The Lord will always guide you and provide good things to eat when you are in the desert.” Isaiah 58:11

I don’t know about you but I’ve spent some time in life’s deserts.  You know, those places that feel like they’ve never seen another human or never been touched by the light of day.  I’ve been blessed to always have a roof over my head and have never gone hungry, but I’ve always felt led to follow the path less traveled.  When we go out there on our own, we often get to places that haven’t been explored before, which can be both exciting and scary.  It’s fun to blaze a trail and discover new things, but it can also be intimidating to feel like you’re so far from the abundance of what stands for normal life.  Yes, I could choose to travel the well-beaten path with many others, but that doesn’t inspire me, and I don’t want to live a life not well-lived.

Whether you follow the path or make your own, it’s encouraging to know that God will be there with you through thick and thin, strength and weakness, abundance and lack.  God won’t leave you high and dry (unless you choose to ignore the rescue party), He will always be there for you.

If you’re in one of those dark times in life when it feels like no one understands or no one will answer your call for help, know that there are answers out there.  Don’t ever give up looking for help, and don’t be afraid to accept that abundance when it arrives on your doorstep.

Personal Abundance

“No matter how small you start, always dream big.” Stephen Richards

I believe that abundance begins with each of us.  We’re responsible for how open our world is to abundance flowing in or out.  A big part of how open we are to abundance is how closed or open we are to the possibilities the world holds for us.  We often open ourselves to these possibilities through the dreams and desires of our hearts.

I’ve had many dreams throughout my life, I’m sure you have too.  Dreams are often the fire that gets us up again in the morning or the energy that gets us through the long days.  But when that fire goes out, look out!  The world around you will look bleak and empty.

I think we humans are wired, if you will, for dreams. When we have dreams we’ve got that special passion that keeps us going, but when our dreams complete or seem so impossible that we let them go, our world seems to end.  I think there are a few lessons we can learn from all this:

1-never stop dreaming.

2-be willing to let go of or finish a dream.

3-be willing to have a new dream.

You’ve probably heard the saying “when you close a door, a window opens.”  There are varying forms of that saying, but the truth it reveals is the same: there is always at least one opportunity open to you, it’s up to you to find it.

The biggest and best dreamers know that there’s always a way if there’s a will. What do you will for your life today?

Abundance, Lack and the Church

This month one of the topics we’ll be considering is abundance.  Today I have 2 verses from 2 Corinthians for us to consider:

“Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need.” 2 Corinthians 8:14

“And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” 2 Corinthians 9:8

These verses speak to the seasons we go through as people on Earth.  Sometimes we will experience times of plenty, other times we’ll be in need. During our time on Earth as believers of Christ we aren’t guaranteed a pain-free, joyous experience, rather we’re promised we’ll experience many of the same difficulties those who aren’t followers of Christ will.

However, part of the essence of the church is to care for all it’s members.  Unfortunately there are many churches that are not really caring for their people, thus we have unhappy, and unfulfilled (and unfilled) churches.  Instead people are hiding their true needs and pretending that they’re in plenty all the time.

This is unhealthy and not what God has called us to.  Yes, we should believe that we will be cared for, because God does promise to care for us.  But God doesn’t say that by our own hands we’ll be filled, but rather that God will provide.  It sounds scary, but that provision may be waiting for you within the walls of the church you attend each week but never reveal your needs or weaknesses to.

So what does all this mean?  It means that we need to be generous when we are in seasons of plenty, and be willing to expose our needs to others when the seasons of plenty have dried up.  Yes, it can be scary to admit your need, but once you know you have others you can rely on, and others know they can rely on you, we’ll all be in a better, and healthier place.

This week I encourage you to reach out to someone in need, or admit your need.  It will take some time but together we can all turn the church back into the caring and sharing center it used to be.

Love and Abundance

This month one of our themes is abundance.  It’s a tough word to consider, especially in this world with so much fear and perceived lack.  This month I hope together we can discover the truth about abundance, and find it in our lives.  Our thought today comes from Elbert Hubbard:

“Life in abundance comes only through great love.”

I believe that we’ve gotten caught up in the scripted Valentine’s Day type love and have forgotten about the love that happens the other 364 days of the year.  The kind that goes through trenches, climbs mountains, relaxes on beaches, does homework, cleans dishes, plays with kids, and collapses after a hard day at the office.  Love is about much more than that happy emotion that is promoted on Valentine’s Day, it’s really a way of life.  Unfortunately it’s not the way that many people choose to live.  For some, love is an afterthought, a waste of time or pointless.  Yes, love has gotten a bad rap, and some people do use love as a bribe or say they’re loving but their words and actions go against the very principles of love.

To truly find abundance in our lives however, we’re going to have to learn what love really is and what role it plays in our lives.  Love takes learning, patience, change, willingness, hope, encouragement, work, at least two people, and time.

But what does love have to do with abundance?  Personally, I know that when I’m not feeling loving towards my partner or another person, it’s much harder to accomplish tasks or discover possibilities.  Instead, I get frustrated, annoyed, and impatient.  But when I’m in the flow of love in at least one area of my life, it’s much easier to make connections, do my work better and be a more supportive team member and partner for my family and clients.

If you want your world to open up with possibilities, try being more loving.  You’ll be amazed by how the world opens up for you, and those around you will be amazed by how well you’re working together again.