Am I living an abundant joyful life or do the stresses of life overwhelm me?
Today I do. But not so long ago I didn’t.
Sometimes life can be very overwhelming. But the way I respond to any stress is different now than how I used to do. For years I would “white-knuckle” the problem and try to power through it. I’d buckle-down and grit-it-out and do what ever it took to solve the situation. I’d get angry, bitter and resentful at anything that got in my way.
Here’s what I’ve learned.
The Bible says we will have trials and tribulations in this world. We live in a fallen world and so we will experience negative things. But as my heart has gotten fuller and fuller with the love of God, my reactions to events in life has gotten more and more peaceful. I no longer react by kicking and screaming and blaming the first person I see. I now pray to God and tell Him thank you and ask Him to make a way in, through or around the situation and that I trust that He will protect me, cover me and give me what I need (not necessarily what I want).
Yes, I have a role to play in solving stressful situations. If I lose three customers in one day, that can cause stress and my role would likely be to get on the phone and try to secure new customers. But I don’t have to stress about that…I can simply do what I need to do and then trust God for the outcome. He helps customers say yes…all I do is present my stuff. I am learning to trust God more and more. I am trusting Him more because I am learning that He loves me A LOT. Like really a lot. And I’m learning that He is trustworthy.
Do I give others my time, treasure and talent on a freely and often?
Again, I have to say, not long ago the answer was no. I did not even think about giving my time, money or talents to anyone else. I was too busy focused on my little world and all my problems. I’d give $10 here and $5 there, but not $500 or $1,000.
Today, I love giving.
I’ve learned to be content with what I have and not be so wrapped up in having more. I’ve also learned that God owns “all the cattle on a 1000 hills” so really if He created all of this, then He owns my money. My job is to be a good steward of all He gives me.
I am not perfect in this area, but I give away my time (maybe 10-12 hours a week) to those in need, I give away my money (maybe 12% of gross income) and I give away my talents to help others who need them.
Jesus is the best place to look for how to give. All He did his waking hours was give. He gave healing, comfort, joy, wisdom, peace and most of all He gave His life on a cross so I could have my sin debt paid for. That’s the ultimate giving of one’s self.
Is loving God and others first in my life or am I busy taking care of myself?
Maybe you guessed my answer. Only a few short years ago, I was all about getting what I thought I needed. More customers, more jobs, more attention, more respect, more acknowledgement of my worth from others, more ego-stroking, more of pursuing what made me happy above all.
But as I moved closer to God and got to know Him personally, I have come to want what He wants more than what I want (much of the time). I want to love Him and honor Him. I want to obey Him. I want to respect Him and serve Him. I also want to love and serve others around me. I am second now. He is first.
I have to take care of my needs and respect myself, no doubt, but if I am totally loved by Him (and you are too) then we can begin to give more than take, because we have all we need – HIM.
If I died today I am 100% sure I’d go to heaven?
When I was 13 years old or so, I gave my life to Christ and asked Jesus to be my personal savior and I accepted His payment of sin on my behalf. The pain He bore on the cross was partially my penalty. I didn’t have to suffer death for my sin problem. Christ paid that price for me.
Today, if I were to die I can say with no doubt that I’d go straight into the loving arms of Jesus in heaven. I am grateful He chose me, prompted me, put people in my life, gave me a solid home to grow up in….He created opportunities for me to know Him and for that I am forever grateful.
So, what about you?
Maybe this is an opportunity planned by God for you to know Him personally as your savior.
If you want to talk more about these important life questions, feel free to call me sometime. My number is 678-833-4310. The choice is yours to follow Christ and allow Him to give you life or not. If you’re not sure what all that means, I’d be happy to share more of my story with you and answer any questions I can.
Love and peace to you, Bill