What is an abundant life?

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What is an abundant life?

(That’s a question.)

I do have my own answer, or at least part of my answer, but I will share that another time because this day is for hearing from others what an abundant life looks for them.

For some people, an abundant life is a big home in the suburbs with granite counter tops and two SUVs in the driveway. For someone else, a tiny apartment is just fine, because their abundance is the ability to travel the world. For others it may be the ability for one or both parents to stay home with the kids.

Some of us find abundance in sunny beaches stretching for miles along the blue of the ocean. For others, me included, make that a nice shady forest trail, thank you.

It’s helpful to take a moment every now and then to fully recall what an abundant life looks like. How else can you tell if you’re living it?

Whether yours is a champagne brunch abundance, a lemonade on the porch swing abundance, or a tea with scones before the fire abundance, take a few moments to dwell on it. Even if you don’t want to comment, just capture it for yourself.

Although I’m not yet to the fullness of an abundant life for ME, I appreciate the chance for course correction offered by periodically taking time to savour what it is I’m seeking.

So, this informal survey is just that: whether you want to share or not, consider taking 5 minutes to remember (or maybe realise for the first time) :

1)   What does ‘an abundant life’ mean to you?

2)   Are you living it?

3)   If so, what brought you to it?

4)   If not, what is the next thing that will inch you closer to it?

Be well.

A little revolution

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I decided it was time for a revolution.

But I don’t really like to be cold, or dirty, or hungry for very long, so guerrilla warfare was out of the question.

I also try to avoid politics as much as possible.

My revolution, however, requires a liveable country. Some place people can make a living while still having time for, you know… a LIFE. Where they have time to spend with their families or participate in the occasional leisure or community activity. And still sleep. One where we can afford quality healthcare that focuses on being well, not on being a life support system for the food and pharmaceutical industries. One where opportunity is real, not an advertising slogan.

So, alas, I must focus at least some on politics.

I try to avoid religious arguments as much as possible too. But since I’m a Christian, I have at least some responsibility both for and to the church. Thus, since we are part of the problem I find that I’ll have to focus some on us as well.

A grim prospect, indeed.

How, then, to engage in a revolution on this theme and not either lose the will to live, or end up a bitter curmudgeon brandishing my cane at anyone who nears the entrance of my cave?

It took some pondering.

I think though, that if I spend most of my time on the potentials that exist beyond these arguments, and the kind of life I hope to build through this little revolution, I might just bypass the otherwise inevitable slide into misanthropy. It’s worth a try.

So then, what ARE these potentials? What IS this kind of life? Now, I don’t have it ALL figured out yet; I’m new to the revolutionary gig.

What I know so far is:

  • It is imperative to decouple Christianity and American political parties. But I think that once we do that, we can begin to have important conversations across political lines and we can make the kinds of changes that will transform the United States into the kind of country it deserves to be.
  • I am certain that if we can stop looking at narrow ideological (or much, much worse: political marketing) definitions, we can accomplish far more of what the Christian mainstream says that we want to accomplish. (1)
  • That whole ‘be the change you wish to see’ thing? Appears to be true. Hatred, bigotry, scare tactics and oppression just aren’t cutting it in spreading the gospel of love. I think that if we accomplish more of the truly important things that our world and communities need, and accomplish them in a more Christlike manner, it will inspire a heck of a lot more interest from non Christians than the way we’re living now.
  • I believe firmly that life is meant to be abundant.  So many of the things that weigh life down and limit it are not necessary. Nor are they Godly.  And clearly they aren’t healthy. But very few people can successfully defy a rigged system alone. I think that the church should be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
  • I don’t think that all the contention that proliferates in my media, especially political and religion focused media, reflects the hearts of most of the real people in my country. I think we are at grave risk of getting caught up in it, sure, but I don’t believe it is who we are, when we are paying attention.
  • I know from personal experience that understanding people, groups, problems –  really understanding them –  usually makes them less scary. (I know, I know; it’s not 100%. Probably doesn’t work with serial killers, or Robert Mugabe… understanding them probably makes them more scary. But let’s start with the easier stuff, okay?)
  • I suspect, indeed assume, that these things that concern me about life, and the way my country is shaping up, concern at least a handful of other folks too.  And that comparing notes might be encouraging to all of us. Who knows? It might even generate some solutions!

So, as best I can tell, those are the things this blog is about.

 

(1)  Okay, I doubt I can be called a mainstream Christian in the American sense. It would offend some mainstream Christians to be placed anywhere near the same group as me. In this case, I use the inclusive pronoun only because I want many of the same things as the mainstream Christians I know of want. I promise not to try to come to any mainstream parties or stand at the back of group photos pretending to be part of the crowd.)

Who I Am

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Oh MY. These little ‘about me’ blurbs have always been so cute and cool and fun… right up until it came time to write one about me.

Egad.

Let’s agree to look on this as a work in progress, shall we? (And since I am a work in progress, maybe that’s okay…)

For now, if you happen to be someone who wandered onto this blog without knowing me first, let me introduce myself:

  • I’m a textbook introvert! And an unapologetic one at that.
  • I consider good books, good conversation, bread, tea, and cream to be the essentials of life.
  • Reading is by far my favourite thing to do; writing, conversation, and everything else dealing in good words, well used, are at the top of my list of perfect ways to spend a life.
  • I am a diehard fan of the editorial ‘he’ and the Oxford comma. (And while I reluctantly accept the need to compromise the editorial ‘he’ on occasion, the Oxford comma is a whole ‘nother story.)
  • Hiking and walking are next on my list of favourites.
  • I LOVE rain, clouds, storms, fog. LOVE. To a degree that has caused at least occasional speculation. But, since I am a vegetarian, and love garlic, and since my skin does not actually burst into flame in sunlight, the general consensus to date is that I am not, in fact, a vampire.
  • I am definitely not a morning person. Unfortunately, I am not a night person either. And being a ‘kind of midmorning-into-the-evening’ person is at the top of no one’s list of ideals!
  • I have absolutely no aptitude for any sort of team sport. Just none. Ballet, weight lifting, and hand-to-hand combat are the only sports I’ve ever enjoyed, and lazy hiking far outranks those.
  • I once bought an 84 year old house, which taught me that I also have precious little aptitude for DIY.
  • But I am a decent analyst, a good thinker, and I can write pretty well.

 

I want to be clear that I’m not starting this conversation because I’m a naturally nice, pleasant, lovely person from whom grace flows endlessly, and therefore clearly well designed to lead this charge.

Not so much.

 

My natural inclinations tend more toward irritable and crabby, difficult and judgemental. (Hence the strong interest in grace.)

Nor have I got the secret to living a full and vibrant life nailed down.

My special qualification here, if any, is that I’m the girl who talks about all those things you don’t mention in polite society and asks the questions that make decent people cringe. And I certainly have a strong passion for living a more meaningful and free life than the one I see at the end of the rat race.

Also, though I’m not naturally nice person, I do believe that if I’m going to claim to follow Jesus I have some responsibilities. The themes of this blog require, and hopefully support, fulfilling those responsibilities, so my hope is that hosting it will impose some much needed discipline and shove me a bit closer to some of my pet goals.

If they assist someone else along the line, or open an interesting conversation or two, all the better.