Last week we began addressing this issue of “WHAT abundant life?” If you missed that post, you can read it here. There are many good comments there and suggestions for ways to deal with adversity.
Adversity does come for all of us. Often my life is much like the picture of this covered bridge–in need of repair! But God promises us more. We’re focusing on this verse from John 10:10 which read
I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
Life doesn’t always feel abundant, and as much as we want to believe that promise–often it’s difficult to do so. As I admitted last week, I do not have all the answers to this topic. I would like to tell you that my life is rosy-perfect and I don’t struggle with these sorts of trials. That would be a lie. So all I can do is point you toward scripture (which never lies) and tell you a few things that work for me.
- I keep a simple journal – one page each day. At the top of the page, I put 5 things I’m grateful for THAT day. If and when my day heads downhill, I can look at that list and remember that God does care for me. (I also put how much I’ve slept on this page – so I can see any patterns that might indicate I need more rest.)
- I surround myself with positive people. This doesn’t mean that I ignore or am rude to negative people. But in my free time? In my rest time? I surround myself with people who remind me of our hope and joy in the Lord. If someone is persistently negative, I pray for them – but I might also “unfollow” on Facebook.
- I do things that bring me joy. On that journal page, below my gratitude list, I put my to-do’s, which are often quite long. Below that, I put some rewards–things I love to do that make me happy. Play the piano, read a book, go for a walk, crochet. Then I allow myself time to do these things. I allow my soul to rest.
- I stay in God’s word. We need to hear it, read it, sing it, and be comforted by it.
- I focus on helping others. Even when something in my life is breaking my heart, I try to find a way to help someone in our community. Helping others will ease your burden.
- I’m honest with friends. For instance, I had a terrible week–trying to work something out with the insurance company. It BREAKS my heart that this problem is occurring, and I spent over 6 hours on hold. I started crying on hold, which frustrates me even more, as I’m not a person who cries easily. Yesterday evening, I told 2 of my friends about my terrible week. I didn’t dwell on it, but it helped me to share.
These are all things I do to help myself when life does not feel at all abundant. Some may work for you. Some may not. But at the heart of them is a question that my mother asked me long ago, “Do you believe in God or not? Do you believe he cares for you?” My answer for that was, “Of course.” Her answer was, “Then act like it.” My mom is tough and brutally honest at times, but those words of wisdom have seen me through the last 25 years and some very, very difficult times.
Which brings me back to writing. By nature, the books we write are somewhat idealic. Yes, our characters have problems. Yes, they struggle to overcome, but in the end things always come together nicely. The boy gets the girl. The family lives together happily ever after. The friendships remain strong and true. Of course what we’re writing is FICTION and on top of that, my books are ROMANTIC FICTION. They’re meant to encourage and offer you a few hours of escape. Unfortunately, we all know that life is rarely so simple. My hope and prayer is that the moments of truth you find within my fiction will encourage you, remind you of our Father’s promises, and bring you hope. Maybe they’ll even restore your belief in the abundant life we’re promised.