Thursday, March 27, 2014

How Do I Live Life With Abandon?

Hey Friend,
 
When I was in my teens, one of my favorite outdoor sports was snow skiing.  I grew up outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and just to the east of us was a really nice, mountainous ski resort.  My friend, Nina, and I went on many a high school ski trip to this beautiful destination and became pretty good skiers after a few years.  We rose quickly from "bunny slope" to black diamond runs in pretty short order - oh the fearlessness of youth!
 
On one particular visit we were feeling quite full of ourselves having conquered all the black diamonds on the one side of the mountain.  All that was left to dominate was the formidable North Face of the mountain.  Those slopes were usually reserved for the experts, but we were feeling pretty fearless that day so we took the chair lift to the top of North Face, took a deep breath and with wild, reckless abandon, pointed our skis downward and took off. 
 
Fast forward our cocky adventure and my friend wound up in the emergency room with her leg in a cast.  There is a difference between living life with abandon and living life with reckless abandon.  
 
When we think of living life with abandon, we often think of words like:  Courageous, Zealous, Undaunted, Bold, Brave, Confident, Fierce, Generous and Joyous.   Sure, these are some adjectives that could describe someone who lives life with abandon, but there is something more...something so much more.
 
The apostle Paul lived with abandon, not abandon to his natural base instincts or with disregard to moral code.  Rather...
 
He lived life with abandon to the task God had given him.
 
He surrendered himself totally to this goal with disregard even for his own life.
 
Abandon involves a task or goal and it also involves surrender.

Luke 9:23 reads: (Jesus speaking)  And he said to them all, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me."  To live the life of abandon that Christ was speaking about we must do several things:

Deny Self:  Choose God's direction not our own.

Take up our crosses:  Make a true commitment. Am I willing to carry my cross of faith in Christ even unto death?  Tough question!

Follow Him:  Imitate Christ's example.

Anything else is simply lip service...

Living life with abandon means we don't play it safe.  We say "Yes" to God's Holy Spirit when He moves in us.  We have a higher calling beyond ourselves and we want to make our lives count for something! 

Quiet, introverted, contemplative people can live a life with abandon just as well as the bold, extroverted, demonstrative people can. 

This is not a performance, it is living life with a purpose.

In a college class, we were asked to write our own eulogy.  Kind of morbid I thought at the time, but it made me think...what will I want people to say about me when I'm gone?  Do I want them to say, "She could write and at one point in her life she had a mean backhand in tennis"?  Or do I want them to say, "She was completely sold out for Christ"? 

Living life with Abandon involves burden, sacrifice and surrender so it is not for the faint of heart.

Are you with me?  Are you ready to give all that you are...every part of your heart and place it in Jesus' hands?  I hope so, because you know what?  The world needs YOU!!  If you encourage me, I'll encourage you and together we can make a difference.  Be blessed my friend...

In His love,

Bev

ps.  It's spring "give away time".  Leave a comment and your name may be drawn to receive a DaySpring scripture mug and Starbucks gift card.

Also, for some inspiration in living life with abandon - listen to the lyrics from the Newsboys single, "Live With Abandon" on YouTube.

 
 
 

10 comments :

  1. Hi Bev,

    I've been thinking about your words all morning, chewing on them. Your words are so true. I know I am to raise our two small boys. I was at Micky D's supper club with another mom of small children. I was trying to maneuver my two boys thru McD's and talking them through what needs to happen, and my expectations, when a woman who was older than me, told me to keep up the good work, told me to keep to the course, before I know it they will be 20. (Bless her, being in my 50's and having her think I am a young mom made me thankful she thought I am a young mom) I know I am raising the next Godly generation, but so much of my job is mundane, and stuff I just am not good at doing. I have a ministry that I love doing, and benefits women, but I will have to do that very part time, almost put it on hold. I know I have a ministry to love my husband, and serve him and I am grateful for him. We have had more downs than ups, so I know I am to do all of this, but, because this is so ordinary, I'm not sure where the passion comes in. I think I am missing something.......

    Thanks Bev,

    Hugs,

    Joanne

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  2. Joanne,
    If it helps, I kind of wrote this blog post to myself as a way of encouraging myself in what often seems to be my very lackluster life! When I read between the lines in your comments, I don't think you are missing anything (but I know it can feel that way). Every day you are denying yourself and taking up your cross to follow Christ in 3 separate ministries. Raising two small boys in a godly way, in this culture, is monumental. Ministering to your husband is our highest calling after worshipping God. I'd love to hear more about your other ministry that you are doing part time.

    Sometimes I wish I could put all my eggs in one basket and do one thing really well, but sometimes God calls us to minister in several directions...this does not mean you are not living life with abandon...you ARE!! You imitate Christ in so many ways - especially how you encourage me!! You love on people and that is one of the purest forms of abandon. You put your life in God's hands and you life selflessly. I can't think of a better definition of abandon!!
    Blessings and ((Hugs)),
    Bev

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    Replies
    1. Hi Bev,

      That is such a kind reply. The women's ministry is a class I teach that helps women deal with their past, learn new ways to live their life, renew their minds, learn new tools for communication, understand other people, learn to forgive, deal with anger and process anger in a healthy way, define and describe a healthy relationship and marriage, learn to set up healthy boundaries, etc. Each class is thirty weeks long, three hours a week and we give homework to learn how to use the tools. It is very hard, but it is only Holy Spirit led or I could not do it because the stories are heartbreaking and the women feel so alone and I know I can't fix what hurts, only Jesus can heal them. I love on them, confront them, and pray for them. I love seeing the women grow, and learn to trust and feel safe.

      Blessings and (Hugs),

      Joanne

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    2. Joanne,
      What a wonderful ministry to women!! God has entrusted many vulnerable lives to you (your boys, the women, etc.). Sounds to me like you are truly embracing the task(s) given to you. That to me sounds like being "sold out to God" and living life with abandon!! God bless you in all that you are doing to further His Kingdom!
      ((Hugs)),
      Bev

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  3. Hi Bev,

    this simple question is on my mind since I got up some bad habits. What should I write?
    You encouraged me like always!

    I have to tell you something:
    Since I got up my bad habits (oh I had so much!!) my life on work is so different. I say No to much more things, I don't laugh on bad things anymore and I walk away, if someone start doing things God can't laugh about. But that makes me more alone inside. Everytime I feel alone I remember thst my abandon is for Christ and that's the price.
    So over and over again I say Yes to the Lord and find my strength in choosing His will.
    Thank you for your sweet words!
    Blessing & ((hugs)),
    Sonja

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    Replies
    1. Sonja,
      You are so right when you say that taking up your cross and following Christ comes at a price. In this world we will feel like salmon swimming upstream. God will honor your decision to imitate Christ in your workplace. Your co-workers will notice that there is something different about you. You have the privilege of being light in a dark place. Though you may feel alone, you are never alone if Christ is with you.

      I also encourage you to seek out others with your same beliefs so that you may experience the joy of community in Christ and your soul will be fed and you will not feel so alone. I will pray for continued strength for you as you choose His will and I will also pray for friends that share your walk with Christ.

      As for past bad habits, God is the ultimate in bringing beauty from ashes. Be encouraged.
      Love and ((hugs)),
      Bev

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  4. One of the exercises which reminds me of God's faithful provision and presence is to write a lifeline with significant life events instead of years. Such a blessing to see how God is woven all throughout that line!

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    Replies
    1. Lulu,
      What a wonderful idea and exercise to capture God's faithfulness and provision. As we see His faithfulness over the years, it encourages us to live our lives with our hearts in His hands.
      Blessings to you,
      Bev

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  5. Missing you, friend! And this is good right here. I know the desire to live with abandon for Him is was led me to finally let go of this eating disorder of mine because I know it was one of things holding me back. I just want him to have control over every part of my life. I want Him to be my everything. He is...but not sure I always live in a way that reflects that. I'm grateful for His grace. Love you and hoping we can connect some day soon. {Hugs}

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  6. Beth,
    What a praise that God is giving you victory over your eating disorder. He will honor your heart's desire to let Him have control over every part of your life! You DO live in a way that says, "God is my everything" and what a testimony it is to those around you. Remember we are ALWAYS a work in process...no perfect people need apply.
    Love and ((Hugs)) to you my friend,
    Bev

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