I just had a mini-vacation. While out in my yard, I stopped and felt the wind and the sun on my face. I sat in the grass, listening to the birds singing, and soaked it up. It was pure bliss. I knew, at that moment, I was experiencing what Jesus called “abundant life.”
Abundant life is a promise from Jesus in John 10:10. He said the thief comes to kill, steal, and destroy, but He came so we can have abundant life. For myself, the thief killing me is my to-do list and the mystical “what ifs” that swirl in my head. When those what if’s get going, I’m not experiencing any kind of life I want to live.
What if is the mantra of us anxious over-thinkers. We keep ourselves juiced up with cortisol and adrenaline, imagining all the things that could go wrong. For those more prone to depression, they beat themselves up with “shoulds” of the past. “Shouldn’t have done that and should have done that.”
And so our lives go, bouncing between shoulds and what ifs. When those beats are playing in our heads, we are not living in the present, and we aren’t living the lives Jesus died to give us. Instead, we give our lives away to the monsters of doubt and fear living in our heads.
Sadly, this kind of thinking is considered normal. But as a Christian Therapist, I know much of what we accept as normal is downright abnormal! Especially should-ing and what if-ing, because as thick as the Bible is, those are two expressions you won’t find in there.
God doesn’t should on us, nor does He what if us. In fact, Psalm 139 says, “You know every step I will take before my journey even begins. You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way, and in kindness, you follow behind me to spare me from the harm of my past (TPT).” In Christ, the past can’t harm us, but we can hurt ourselves with chronic should-ing.
The Bible doesn’t speak words of depression or fear; it speaks words of power, like “even if.” Those words were spoken by three Hebrew boys who were threatened to be thrown in a furnace if they didn’t worship false gods. Their response, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. But EVEN IF He doesn’t, we will never serve your gods (emphasis mine).”
Stop bowing your knee to the false gods of shoulds and what ifs. There is so much joy when we experience God in the everyday. Donald Miller said, “I once listened to an Indian on television say God was in the wind and the water, and I wondered at how beautiful that was because it meant you could swim in Him or have Him brush your face in a breeze.” Go swim in Him, feel Him in the air, and let Him wash you in “Sonshine.” It really is an abundant life when you live in the moment with Him.