Are You Flourishing

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jesus mountain.jpgAre You Flourishing? By Kristen Johnson

I’m blessed to be the MOPS (Mothers Of Preschoolers) coordinator for my community. Each year, we have a theme to focus our meetings around.This year, our theme is a Fierce Flourishing. MOPS encourages us to notice goodness, celebrate lavishly, and embrace rest. Great concept for this year.  I’m really enjoying it!

Who doesn’t want to flourish?  I think we all do. We all want to have life to the fullest.

So why is it so hard?

I’ve been asking myself this during times that I do not feel like I am flourishing. I want to flourish and have joy in my life. But I feel like we, as women and moms, have some big obstacles in our way.

First, women live in their minds. As moms, we are constantly thinking through our to-do lists and schedules. We think through and process social interactions, as well as interactions with our families and significant others. In my case, I process conversations and, let’s face it, sometimes that leads to negative thoughts. These negative thoughts, either about myself or the other party, taint my entire outlook on the day sometimes. And sometimes, it is just hard to let some things go.

Secondly, and maybe the is just unique to me, but it is all too easy to throw my own pity party. I dwell on what I don’t have or what went wrong or what I’m missing out on, and I feel sorry for myself. Not only does this take away my joy, but it steals joy from those closest to me. In other words, nobody thrives during a pity party.

Last, sometimes I just feel blah. Could be a rainy, gloomy day. Could be a string of rough days. Sometimes you just don’t feel it. I have found that usually when I’m feeling blah, I’m not spending time with God like I know I should be. I have let life and schedules crowd Him out from my day.

After God made me aware of these problems that steal my joy, I found something to be excited about. It had me all excited last week, and its carrying over into this week. I really wanted to share it with you all.

In a Jesus Calling I read last week, one of the scriptures was Colossians 2:2-3. It’s Paul writing to the church in Colosse. He wanted them to “have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. In Him are hidden all the treasures of knowledge and wisdom” (emphasis added).  This got me thinking about those treasures. Knowledge and wisdom are two of the greatest gifts God gives to believers. And how do we get them? Through Jesus.

These verses brought to mind another verse. I had to do a little searching on biblehub.com, but I found it. In 2 Corinthians 1:20, again Paul says that Jesus is God’s ultimate yes. “For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding ‘Yes!’ And through Christ, our ‘Amen’ (which means yes) ascends to God for his glory.”  Jesus is God’s resounding YES! Sounds like celebrating, if you ask me.

And again, this point was brought out to me in my Bible Study Fellowship homework last week. We were studying the letters to the 7 churches in Revelation. These were letters Jesus asked John to write to 7 existing churches, and they also speak volumes to believers today. We were in chapter 3 with the final letter to the church at Laodicea. This church can only be described in one way: blah. They were neither on fire for God, nor had they completely turned against him. They were just blah. Living life as they always had, not acknowledging that they needed anything from God. To be honest, it reminds me of many churches and Christians today. The term “Sunday Christian” comes to mind. Someone just going through the motions but not completely allowing God to have their lives. Just someone living a blah life. Not flourishing.

At the beginning of this letter, like all 7 letters, Jesus reveals a truth about himself to the church. He says, “This is the message from the one who is the Amen” (Rev. 3:14).  He was telling that church, a church that experienced great wealth, that He was every promise of God fulfilled. In other words, He is the secret to real wealth.

Jesus is the Plan. He is God’s yes to us. He is the key and the answer to every promise God ever made to His people.

He promises in the Old Testament several things. To never leave us. To forgive us. To bring us peace. To give us joy. To give us hope and us strength. To extend to us unfailing love.

Jesus fulfills every one of these promises. And in these promises alone, we find life to the fullest. We find a life that flourishes. Let these verses remind you of who Jesus is.

Because of Jesus’ work on the cross, God will never leave us. “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us'” (Matthew 1:23).

We are forgiven by the blood Jesus shed for us. Romans 5:8-9, “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation.”

We have everlasting peace. “”I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid,” John 14:27.

We have non-circumstantial joy. “So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God” Romans 5:11.

We have eternal hope and strength for today. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.”

We have the never ending, never failing, never conditional, love of God Himself. “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

If you have Jesus, all of these promises are yours. These things, these truths, excite me and give me joy. To me, Joy = flourishing.

But what do you do if you aren’t feeling it? First, you have to accept Jesus. Jesus fulfills all of God’s promises, but if you don’t know Jesus as your Savior, the forgiver of your sins, you aren’t guaranteed these treasures. Please contact me if you want more information about this!

If you’ve accepted Jesus, the yes’s are yours. Yay! But, how do you experience them? I like practical advice, so here’s what works for me. This is how I experience the yes’s of God:

  1. Ask to see them. Ask God to show you them, to open your eyes to them.
  2. Look and expect to see them. By spending time with Jesus, you can notice these yes’s in your life. Wait expectantly. If you aren’t paying attention, you won’t see them. I know for me, it’s like driving sometimes. If something else is on my mind when I am driving, I can go right passed my destination. Once my distracted state of thought even got me lost in the country! But if our focus is on Jesus, we will catch the yes’s. We won’t miss them
  3. Thank Him. When you experience even a glimpse of these promised treasures, or any blessing of God really, thank Him. It keeps this cycle of flourishing going. It allows you to live in a constant state of abundance.  Even in the bad times, ladies, the blessings still flow. We might just have to look a little harder.

I hope this message excites you as it does me! We can know the secret to a life that is flourishing. It is Jesus Himself. I’m jumping the gun here before Christmas, but really ladies, (and myself), he is the greatest gift we’ve ever been given. We have everything we need in him. Let’s all seek him and look forward to a life that is flourishing!