What if Saving the Good China Leads to Just Getting By?

china cabinetI’m from one of the last generations in which we were taught by our mothers to save the good china for special occasions, and the guest towels for company.  In the meantime, we lived with the mismatched dishes and the natty towels we took with us when we first moved out of our parents’ home– replacing them only as absolutely necessary with equally inexpensive “every day” stuff.  The theory behind it goes like this: Things used regularly will eventually break, chip, rip, and fade. However, by preserving those special items we acquired as wedding gifts, there will always be something pretty to look at, and to help make guests feel special. Sound familiar?

If you can’t relate to that one, perhaps this will resonate– See, this is the same kind of thinking that leads to “waiting for the right time” to have kids, planning to travel “someday”, or even, “when I’ve achieved my career goals, THEN I’ll give to charity…buy a home…do what I’ve always wanted to do”.  Do you see the problem?  If we follow this train of thought, it doesn’t take long before we begin to believe that life is about “getting by”, waiting for the next special occasion, or, from the earlier example, that maybe we  don’t deserve good things.  Having an ABUNDANT life becomes once again, just a nice idea.   Could we ourselves be the ones who make us feel as though we’re operating out of LACK, because we’ve deemed so many things “off-limits” until Later?

I think sometimes we get lulled along into complacency and we forget– there are no guarantees that we’ll have a Later.  This moment, this day, THIS is the life we’ve been given. What are we waiting for?  And significantly, what if the world is waiting on us to do what we were meant to do?

Now, please don’t misunderstand. I am not advocating a willy-nilly disregard for others; I am not suggesting anyone run headfirst into debt, start a family without a plan, or impulsively quit a job to travel the world.  But maybe it is time to start using the good china and recognizing your blessings. 🙂  Maybe it’s time to wrap yourself in a fluffy towel after your shower instead of that old threadbare thing, and even enjoy your favorite beverage in one of those crystal glasses that’s been waiting, behind glass.  Maybe to begin entering fully into the life God promises, your participation is needed!  Let’s choose not to bring the spirit of Lack upon ourselves– just getting by with the hope of Someday or Later  Instead, let’s encourage one another to take reasonable action steps towards living in the Here and Now!!

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“Don’t Be a Sphincter”- learning about Abundance

dog's lifeWhat? You were expecting a photo of something else? 😉

This is our family dog, Cosmo.  In dog years he is nearly 63, and yet every day he wholeheartedly gives special attention to each member of the family without holding back– from wrestling with the boys over dirty socks, to greeting my husband with a paws-on-knees ritual when Tim gets home from work, to “singing” at me as we prepare to go on our walk.  He is the living embodiment of Loyalty, even when we take him to the “dreaded “groomers, and  no matter how many times we’ve left him behind with a sitter to go on vacation.  To put it simply, Cosmo loves with everything he’s got.  When was the last time your tail wagged joyfully with each person you encountered, and throughout your entire day?

Now, I certainly don’t want to be flippant or carry the analogy further, but I have learned something from paying attention to this behavior.   When we give of ourselves– whether it’s our time, our money, our love, our service– we should be giving fully, freely, and without reservation.  Don’t you think in part this is what is meant by living a life of Abundance?  Rewards would include great freedom and joy, acceptance, and a growing awareness of one’s true purpose in life!  Unfortunately, however, many of us function more like sphincter muscles, holding back with a tight grip, and ever so cautiously, rationing out our giving.  This isn’t living out of Abundance, this is getting by from a place of Lack.

Sometimes we do suffer from an actual shortfall: an illness robs us of a long life; the loss of a job wipes out our savings, or our marriage ends and we wonder if we’ll ever have love again.  The thing is, even in these circumstances, there are countless cases where the people facing such hardships still don’t abide in lack.  This sense of depletion or “have not” is often more of an attitude than an actual condition.   Lack comes from fear, and old baggage, and bitter disappointment.  Lack tells us that if we give away, there won’t be enough left for us.  It tells us when we love, we’ll be hurt, and it reminds us of all the things we wanted that never came true.  Lack makes us feel that we’ll never keep up with the Jones’, and most significantly, it makes us question whether God (or His love) is even real.

Fortunately there is an anecdote to Lack and it can be practiced immediately, ushering in good health and Abundant living!! A thankful spirit and a grateful attitude reminds us of God’s promises and His presence.  Gratitude tells us we can trust in Him, because He has already shown His faithfulness and provision.  Gratitude shows us miracles all around us, happening every day.  When we’re truly thankful, we know how blessed we are, and out of that joyful Abundance, we can generously pour ourselves into others, filling them as well!

Happy tail-wagging, Everyone!  🙂