Learning to see the abundance in every season of life
Same thing, day after day. The same annoying colleagues, frustrating classes, and neverending to-do lists. Sitting in class tracing over the previously penciled artwork on your desk while you wait for the next bell to ring. Just another day in the office. Just another math test.
When you feel stuck or you’re waiting for your next season of life to begin, it’s easy to grow bored, confused, frustrated, or scared.
What if this is as good as it gets?
What if things never change?
The Bible describes the effect of these seasons on our emotional state saying, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12).
We were not created to live average, half-empty lives. Jesus offers us more than that. An abundant life is part of the gift Jesus died to give us (John 10:10).
What We Get Wrong About Abundance
By definition, abundance is “having a copious quantity of something; plentifulness.” In society’s eyes, abundance is measured in the number of things or the amount of control we have over our lives. Abundance is plenty of money, tons of opportunity, excitement, and success. This is what our culture says will bring happiness.
But when Jesus talks about abundance, He is speaking of something much deeper. Abundance is not a matter of accumulation, but a matter of the heart.
Abundance is not a matter of accumulation, but a matter of the heart.
When we find ourselves waiting for abundance, we’re assuming the future holds some kind of satisfaction we will enjoy when we finally get there. So we stress about what we need to do to reach that place, and we work to get somewhere only Jesus can take us.
When we grow exhausted and defeated — which is where striving always leads — we look at other people who seem to have abundance and we give up. We think, I could never have that. We start to believe abundance is for a select few. So we stop looking, expecting, or asking for it.
But Jesus tells us abundance is possible in every season of life, regardless of our circumstances.
Finding Abundance Right Where You Are
Jesus is not hindered by the limitations at our jobs, the walls of our schools, or our lack of employment or education. God has plenty for us and plenty to do in us right where we are.
Maybe you aren’t doing the job you want to do forever right now. Maybe school doesn’t seem to be opening the doors of the future like you imagined it would. Maybe the word “future” is just plain terrifying and confusion overrides clarity.
God has plenty for us and plenty to do in us right where we are.
I am no stranger to these worries, and I am finding that my anxiety is usually a result of mixed up priorities, not a lack of answers. When I pursue answers instead of the one who holds them, I find anxiety instead of peace. Discouragement drives my actions when I focus on a shortage of opportunity instead of the neverending invitations for personal growth, spiritual growth, or loving others.
Jesus is what we need most, now and in the future. We may not realize that our craving is actually a Jesus-sized hole, but it is. It’s through pursuing Him that we find fulfillment in all areas of life (Matthew 6:33).
And do you know what? God never stops moving. Just because life seems monotonous doesn’t mean God has stopped working in or through us. God promises to finish what He starts in us (Philippians 1:6), and He tells us that endurance strengthens us, creating a hope that will not disappoint (Romans 5:4-5).
Tips for Making the Most of Every Season
God is not playing a chess game with us. He is a good Father who wants good things for His children. If we keep looking to Him, we will find ourselves experiencing abundance in ways we never dreamed possible.
Jesus died to move us from death to life before we ever even asked Him to save us. Why would he want anything less for us now?
Five truths are helping me find the abundance in the waiting, and I hope they’ll do the same for you.
- Shift your perspective from what you don’t have to what God is doing now. A practical way to do this is to find one thing to be thankful for or one way God showed up in your life each day.
- Focus on pursuing Jesus over pursuing what you want from Him.
- Make a habit of giving uncertainty or frustration to the God who holds your future. Keep a journal or tell God out loud why you’re frustrated. He tells us to be honest in our prayers, and He means it.
- Surround yourself with people who encourage you to grow spiritually and limit the time you spend with people who push or expect material success from you.
- Remember, there is never a shortage of opportunity when it comes to personal growth, spiritual growth, or loving others.
Romans 5:2 says “Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.” Wherever you are right now is a place of undeserved privilege because you are standing with Jesus. Focus on what’s now, and know that when the time is right, Jesus will reveal your next step.