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Living Life Abundantly

While homeschooling my children, I discovered a wonderful series of books that were part of the Elsie Dinsmore Collection.   Little did I know that one particular book in the series, the name of which escapes me right now, would resonate with me so much as an adult.  The story was about Elsie's childhood seashore vacation with her family.   In the story, she struggled with the fact that she was always afraid and didn't enjoy things like her brother did.  She would wonder to herself why her brother was able to fearlessly run into the waves laughing and playing, but she would stay far away from the water for fear the waves would overtake her.  The story was written in such a way that you could really feel the struggle this little girl felt between her fears and her wish to be different so she could enjoy life.  I have a lot in common with Elsie Dinsmore...

I always marvel at "free-spirits", those who can travel the world alone, going on adventures to new places meeting new faces.  They are living their lives to the fullest and enjoying every moment of it.  The very thought of going anywhere by myself can strike fear in me - let alone getting on a plane and flying somewhere alone!  It's not that I have opportunities right now to go on such trips or that I need to "run away", but when I do hear of people who travel alone on some great adventure, I admire them and like Elsie, think to myself, I wish I could be like that; how many wonderful experiences do I miss out on by allowing fear to stop me...

It seems the times I will rally myself to overcome a "fearful situation" is when I need to do so for my children.  One such instance happened when my son was a small boy and wanted to go on a roller coaster at a children's amusement park.  By roller coaster standards, the ride was fairly tame, but by Karen's standards, it was mountainous!   In fairness to me, it still had pretty good dips though.   I overcame and got on that roller coaster with my son and actually enjoyed it!  I remember thinking to myself at that time what a special and fun time I would have missed out on with my son had I let fear stop me.   A more recent instance happened a few years ago, when my grown daughter and I flew from Texas back to the East Coast while my husband flew out to the west coast.  That was actually a really big step for me and gave me confidence.  Confidence in my Lord...

You see I know God is with me at all times and He is indeed my strength, but there are times I have to step out in Faith to feel His presence and His strength so that my confidence is in the Lord, not what I perceive I can or cannot do.

  "It is the Lord who goes before you.  He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed."  Deuteronomy 31:8

While doing my Bible study homework in Galations, where we are now studying the fruits of the Spirit, I recently read the following verse in 1 Timothy 6:17, "Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God who richly supplies us all things to enjoy."  I then found myself reading the last part of the verse over and over, "But on God who richly supplies us all things to enjoy..."

It was then that I was convicted that there are things in my life that should be enjoyed, but instead the very object of my enjoyment becomes a burden rather than a joy.  I end up being more driven to pursue the enjoyment thereby creating discontentment if it doesn't go according to my expectations.

I guess I could throw up my hands here and exclaim, "I am a mess!".  I either have opportunities to enjoy, but I'm afraid to pursue them OR I pursue too much those things I enjoy!


"For I do not understand my own actions.  For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate."  Romans 7:15

In Tim Keller's book, Galations For You, he states that the flesh creates "over-desires" where a good thing can become our God, but that the Spirit has God-centered passions and yearnings which are just as strong as our fleshly desires.  Therein lies the struggle...  Tim Keller went on to say that we, in our flesh, glorify, adore and yearn for all kinds of created things, conditions and people, where the Spirit glorifies, adores and yearns for Jesus. The Spirit speaks of the beauty and greatness of Christ.

When the Holy Spirit is within us, our ultimate desire is to please God - to walk in the fruits of the Spirit.  Our Pastor shared a wonderful analogy today regarding the fruits of the Spirit.   He commented about the very snowy winter we had this year, and the piles and piles of snow that have been on the ground since January, but yet beneath the snow, as it finally starts to melt away, the daffodils have already pushed up, even though they were buried for so long in the snow, undetected.  He said it is true of the believer who has the indwelling Holy Spirit.  The fruits of the Spirit are "buried" within all believers, sometimes undetectable.   We are still capable of walking in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control, and only need to cultivate the fruits of the Spirit by "walking in the presence of God".  This gave me such encouragement!


"He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit. "  Jeremiah 17:8  

"If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit, Galations 5:16,18"  


How do we cultivate the fruit of the Spirit and walk in His presence?  By remembering that we belong to God.  Whenever the Apostle Paul would encourage his disciples to return to the Lord, he would do so by reminding them that they "belong to God".   The gratitude and love we should feel for our Lord and Savior who bought us with such a great price, His treasured possession, will spur us on to grow in our relationship with Him, to walk in obedience to Him.   Staying in the Word of God, memorizing God's promises, praying, all will bring forth the fruit of the Spirit.  Even on hectic, busy days, I may only read one verse of scripture, but the Lord will still meet me there in a profound way!  When the desire of our heart is God and God alone, He meets us where we are.  

I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing."  John 15:7-8



Interestingly, in the last month or so, the Lord had been prompting me to pray every morning to "walk in the fruits of the Spirit", I would like to say that I was the most kind, good, joyful, peaceful, gentle, faithful, self-controlled person you ever met, but that wasn't the case...  I have, however, noticed some of the fruit starting to spring forth.  God is so faithful to answer us when we desire to walk in obedience to Him.


"But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  Hebrews 11:6

Like the Holy Spirit, I want my life to be one that glorifies, adores and yearns for Jesus more than created things, conditions or people.

I want to have abundant life in Christ Jesus without fear, discontentment from unmet expectations or carrying self-inflicted burdens.

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."  John 10:10

After spending time studying the fruits of the Spirit, I see now that much of my fear, discontentment and the everyday burdens I carry, are because I am squelching the fruits of the Spirit by wanting to have full control of my life rather than trusting control of my life to my Sovereign Lord.  When I wholly surrender my life to Christ, relinquishing control, the rest of the fruits of the Spirit will grow and flourish.

"All to Jesus I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
in His presence daily live."

Judson W. Van DeVenter

I hope to memorize and live out the following Bible verses to help fertilize and grow the fruits of the Spirit within me that I may live my life abundantly for Christ.  May you be encouraged as well.

LOVE:  "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another:  just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another."  John 13:34

JOY:  "For the joy of the Lord is your strength."  Nehemiah 8:10b

PEACE:  "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts..."  Colossians 3:15a

PATIENCE:  "And we urge you brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all."  1 Thessalonians 5:14

KINDNESS:  "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."  Ephesians 4:32

GOODNESS:  "So then as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, especially to those who are of the household of faith."  Galations 6:10

GENTLENESS:  "To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people."  Titus 3:2

FAITHFULNESS:  "Only fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart.  For consider what great things He has done for you." 1 Samuel 12:24

SELF-CONTROL:  "Every athlete exercises self-control in all things.  They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable."   1 Corinthians 9:25

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As I took a lunch break before closing out this post, I decided to download an app that sends inspirational Bible verses to my phone.  I wanted to have more opportunities for Scripture to "pop up" and to be accessible throughout the day, even when I'm at work or busy in general.   I laughed with sheer joy when I opened the app and this was the "random" verse that came up.

"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, He may give it to you."  John 15:16

I can't think of a more fitting closing to this post.  Thank you Lord for providing!  :-)

You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eLivefree Thursday,Everyday JesusSDG GatheringInspire Me Monday, Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me GraceA Little R&RTestimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryBlessings Counter Link-up Party,Faith & Fellowship Blog Hop

Comments

  1. May we let His perfect love cast out all fear so that we can live life abundantly! Beautiful post! Linked up with you at Donna Reidland -- hope you'll stop by Saved by Grace for a visit!
    God bless,
    Laurie
    http://savedbygracebiblestudy.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind words and the wonderful reminder that Perfect Love casts out fear!

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  2. What a wonderful, edifying post! I am so thankful to have "met" you, Karen, and can't thank you enough for the dear encouragement you left on my blog. God bless you richly!

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    1. Thank you so much! It is so nice to "meet" you too! :-)

      Happy Easter!

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  3. What an awesome coincidence...ok, probably not a coincidence at all, but a beautiful grace note from God :). I, too love the Elsie Dinsmore books :).

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  4. Thank you for the beautiful post, Karen! I struggle with fear and worry also, and of wanting to be someone, or something, else so I could enjoy life more. Luckily I have found courage in God and I have noticed that He puts me in situation where I need to step out of my comfort zone.
    Sometimes I would so much like to be less fearful and more fearless. But we all have our different places He meant us to be. And He made us just right for the place He puts us in.

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    1. I'm finding that there are many kindred in the area of worry, but I remind myself that it was worry that caused me to cry out to God where He met me and saved me. And worry that continues to cause me to "stay close" to my Lord and depend on Him. So with the Apostle Paul I boast in my weakness that the Lord would be glorified.

      Indeed, the Lord establishes our times and our borders.

      Thank you for your encouraging words!

      Happy Easter!

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  5. I resonate with you about the unmet expectations. I think sometimes I have the expectations out of fear - I create this ideal of "with this, I will be satisfied" instead of just watching to see what God will do. I also love this" Like the Holy Spirit, I want my life to be one that glorifies, adores and yearns for Jesus more than created things, conditions or people." Me, too!

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    1. Thank you for sharing your own heart. :-)

      And thank you for the words of encouragement!

      Happy Easter!

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  6. Hi Karen, fear and worry are big hindrances.
    I love that hymn, 'I surrender all'. Many times in life we are faced with situations beyond our control. All we can do is to surrender.

    The harder we try to take control, the more we lose it. What is best is to Surrender to God's Will.
    Happy Easter Karen.

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    1. The word surrender has been coming up a lot for me in my own personal study, through worship songs, in my Bible study and here through you. I love when God continues to minister to us in a particular area.

      Yes it is so true, the more we try to take control, the more we lose it.

      I have been blessed by your visit. :-)

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  7. I have had similar thoughts on traveling, Karen. I am amazed at how people just get on a plane and go. I was like that even with driving, because I don't like it and tend to let myself choose to stay rather than go. Until I had to and I realized I could do it. :) I still don't get on a plane to go anywhere, and if I do... it will be a little difficult at first, but I am learning like you to enjoy. I am grateful for the grace he gives us in the learning.
    Blessings,
    Dawn

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    1. Oh, I'm with you there too about the driving. And like you, there was a time that, ironically enough, I had to drive to the airport alone, an hour away, to pick up my daughter's boyfriend at the time who was surprising her having flown in from California. I had to leave at 4:30 a.m. because he had an early flight. I had no choice, but the Lord was so merciful to me. Songs that I enjoyed came on the radio it seemed the whole ride up. And your right, once you do it, with the Lord, your confidence boosts.

      Thanks for sharing your heart.

      Happy Easter!

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  8. Last year I missed an opportunity to enjoy my granddaughter when I told her swimming in the ocean was not something I did anymore. Since that day, whenever I can, I swim with her. The joy of laughing and spending time with her far outweigh any cold. God is good and provides exactly what we need when we need it. Happy Easter.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your heart.

      I have been blessed by your visit.

      Happy Easter!

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  9. Praising God with you for all that He has taught you here...and then you have turned around and taught me. There is so much but I love the emphasis on "enjoy," enjoying. I have been shone my need to study Galatians 5:22 lately and your post has given me some wonderful food for thought and Scriptures to look up.
    I want to enjoy that study too.
    Visiting from Janis'...
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

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    1. I love it when the Lord uses many means to impress His Words in our heart and for directing our further study as He meets us in the Scritptures

      Thank you for your kind words

      Happy Easter!

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  10. I have struggled with fear and surrending it to God. Lately I've been trying to let go and trust His plans are greater. Reading his word daily and crossing paths with faithful bloggers has made a huge difference. Love this community and feel God is blessing me in a whole new way. Thanks for being part of that.

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    1. Thank you for the welcome!

      I was just saying to my daughter that through blogging communities I am realizing that I am in no way alone when it comes to my anxiety. There is comfort in knowing others share the same struggle and that we are all yearning and looking toward the God of Peace.

      I agree! I am loving the relationships I'm starting to form with kindred sisters.

      Thank you for visiting!

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  11. Karen-this was a beautiful post. I feel the same fear that you do over and over and it is only through God and with God that I am able to step out in more confidence. It is a great reminder that we abide in God and He in us. I am so blessed you shared this at The Weekend Brew. Happy Easter!

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    1. Thank you for the kind words.

      Indeed, it is the Lord that goes before us and is with us, He will never leave us or forsake us.

      Happy Easter!

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  12. Happy Easter, Karen.
    May you continue to live abundantly! :)

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    1. I hope your Easter was very blessed.

      Thank you!

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  13. Ha! I love the "random" little God snippets he sneaks in there. I totally identify with this post, Karen. So appreciate you sharing it.

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  14. This. "Even on hectic, busy days, I may only read one verse of scripture, but the Lord will still meet me there in a profound way! " YES! God meets us in even the smallest gesture of moving toward Him. I'm grateful you linked this up with us at Grace & Truth!

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! :-)

      Thank you for visiting!

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  15. Sweet words. I am soaking in so many of them. Thank you greatly for sharing so in depth and teaching my heart little nuggets. I am visiting from Suzie's site today and I hope you have a blessed weekend.

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    1. Kelly, Praising God for His leading as I wrote this blog post.

      You are so very welcome.

      Thank you for your kind words of encouragement.

      Blessings to you too!

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