Living abundantly is a hope for people who have gone through hard times or suffering. Living abundantly is defined as life abounding in fullness of joy and strength of mind, body and soul. It can also motivate a person to seek a change in their life.
How does one go about creating an abundant life? This is something I’ve worked to incorporate in my life since my divorce in 2003. I longed to know what the abundant life meant and how it could be lived out on a daily basis. Along the way, I learned lessons on living abundantly through hard times. I don’t always do it well, but know the basics enough to keep them front and center.
Cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
An attitude of gratitude means making it a habit to express thankfulness and appreciation in all parts of your life, on a regular basis, for both the big and small things alike. (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-merle/how-to-have-an-attitude-of-gratitude_b_8644102.html)
This can come about in a variety of ways.
- Get up each morning and say thank you for the beautiful day.
- Having quiet time in the morning, before the day gets started to reflect on things for which you’re grateful.
- Keeping a gratitude journal to document the amazing things are going on in life, or the blessings of a simple things such as home or health. This can help keep a grateful perspective.
- Having friends who speak truth and vitality into your life. Friends can also help keep you accountable to maintain joy in the trials.
Come together over shared experiences.
God connected me with other women who had been abused or had been through infertility. In meeting these women, I started to see patterns that centered around God’s amazing love for them in their stories. Some of them had realized it; some had not yet experienced redemption in their stories and were still working through their intrinsic value in God. But, each woman was unique and gifted in her own way. Despite rocky paths filled with hard choices, these women smiled such radiant smiles that God’s healing handiwork was evident on their faces.
These commonalities help bring us together when we share our stories. Our stories are what help bridge the gap when we think we’re alone in our trials. If we take the time to remember we’ve got others around us who want to help, that can bring joy to lives in powerful ways.
Find joy and hold on tight.
Going through trials ultimately gave me a new perspective on joy. God took me on a two year journey of learning what it meant to have a spirit of joy despite life circumstances. This led to my greatest perspective shift when it came to living abundantly.
We need the right attitude toward trials and pain and understanding of trials. Trials come in all shapes and sizes—they may be small but can cause big change. The goal is to lead our mind to think of it as all joy. Joy is the supernatural delight in God. We will face trials, but joy is our choice!
Joy is the gift of His presence, and envelopes and protects us. Joy knows He is with us on both the good days and the horrible ones. We need to remember that He is good and that He is with us. “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength” (Proverbs 17:22, NLT). Begin each day in joyful expectation and watch what God does.
Find freedom in Christ.
Look to God’s truth in Scripture to find freedom. His words offer sovereign truths which can break us free from the bondage of this world. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1, NIV, emphasis added). As we study His Word and look for freedom, we will discover a few truths to help us along our journey: Christ came to set us free, He binds up the brokenhearted and He reveals Himself to those who choose to follow Him.
Go out and have fun doing what you love.
Enjoy the journey you are on and find something that you love to do. This can be done with or without money. Whatever hobby, dream or passion you have, do it. Some days I just need to get out in nature and hike. Being outside brightens my spirit, allows me to focus on other things than myself and pray while I hike. Hiking with family and others is also tons of fun.
All of these things take time to cultivate in our lives. Keeping gratitude present and holding onto joy can bring us farther in the journey than we realize. Coming together over shared experiences and having fun doing what you love can bring meaning to your life and others in abundant ways. Most of all, finding freedom on the other side of trials will help show you how live abundantly. May we all strive to live a beautiful life.