Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Thriving or Surviving??

I have been in three different states (Tennessee, Indiana and Ohio) the past three weekends speaking to women of all ages and backgrounds and life stories.  Even though the women lived in totally different states…they all had two things in common.  The women were either thriving or surviving......or somewhere in between thriving and surviving!!  (OK, so maybe they had three things in common, not two!)

For the most part every living thing or relationship or organization is either thriving or surviving…or somewhere in between.  Marriages are either thriving or surviving.  Churches are thriving or barely surviving.  Families are thriving or simply surviving.  Businesses are thriving or just surviving to make the quarter sales.

How about you?  Right this moment….do you feel like you are thriving?  Spiritually healthy?  Strong?  Powerful?  Free?  Or do you feel like you are barely holding on….barely holding things together?  Barely surviving?

Take a look at the scale below….put a mental ‘dot’ on the place you feel like you are right now.  Then….ponder….what would it take to move closer to thriving?

Thriving_____________________ Surviving

Second Timothy 3 talks about women who are vulnerable, weak, and silly (I’d venture to say that they are barely surviving!!) who are burdened with the guilt of sin, controlled by many desires and always learning but never coming to understand the truth!!  Yikes!!  No wonder they are vulnerable and weak and silly!!  No wonder they are simply surviving!!

So….how do we move toward thriving rather than staying stuck in the cycle of simply surviving each day?  Do the opposite of what the women Paul was referring to in second Timothy were doing!!

First of all, we must let go of the burden of sin!!  Christ died so we could be free from sin NOT be burdened with it or by it!!!  Recognize it!!  Confess it!  Repent of it!!  Let it go!!  Freedom!  Running without carrying all of that extra baggage!!  Stop carrying around guilt trip bags!!!  Leave them with the baggage keeper!!  Put them on the conveyor belt never to be heard from again!!!

Second, we must stop allowing our desires control us!!!  The desires to be richer, smarter, cuter, younger or thinner can control us!!!  The desires to have more things or a better job or more children or a church with nicer people are controlling us!!  The desire for time on Facebook or twitter or Instagram is controlling how we spend our time!!  The desire for a godly marriage or fruitful ministry can even control us….(sad that it is possible to be married to a minister and not have a godly marriage or to be a part of a ministry that is bearing no fruit.)  What controls you?  What controls me?  We know that scripture teaches that the Holy Spirit is what should control us…not anything else.

Third…we must stop learning without understanding Truth!!  It is not enough to go to church or Bible studies…we must come to understand truth!!  Crazy, isn’t it, that it is totally possible to attend church, lead Bible studies, teach Sunday school….and not understand Truth!!  Stop.  Ponder what you are reading in your study.  Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand the truth!!!

No wonder we are barely surviving!!  I truly believe that God wants us to thrive!!  He came to give us life abundant!!!  So….stop.  Take a simple personal assessment and determine where on that scale of thriving/surviving you are…then…take action and thrive my friend, thrive!!!

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