It's so easy to get caught up with negativity that we never take the time to celebrate the good stuff about life. But with Thanksgiving coming up (at least for those of us in Canada), I thought it would be fitting to start a new series on "Living in Abundance" -- exploring the difference between "seeing the glass as half empty or half full".
But first, let me clear things up: "Abundance" has nothing to do with the amount of possessions, friends, or achievements we have. It's about gratitude: being thankful for what we have rather than dwelling on what we lack; celebrating how far we've come rather than dreading how far we have left to go. It's an ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT. Simple, but powerful. It can transform our lives.
PART 1: IDENTITY
Life essentially boils down to one question: "Who am I?" Whether we consciously realize it or not, we spend our lives trying to figure out the answer. Our human hearts want to believe that we're not just mass-produced, identical items on a conveyor belt. We're individuals, blessed with a unique set of talents, personalities, and destinies. We believe that we're not just like porcelain dolls: if one breaks, another replaces it. We yearn to believe we're irreplaceable.
So how do we figure out our identities? We compare ourselves to others and see what's different. We call each other by different names. We take up different clothing styles. We listen to different music. We hang out with different friends. We do anything that states, "I am not identical to the person next to me."
And there's nothing inherently wrong with that ... until we stay fixed on the words "I am not ..." when making self-comparisons. It seems trivial, but saying those words repeatedly can sometimes take a toll on us. It tempts us to forget everything we are and to focus, instead, on everything we are not.
As a result, we form our identities based on a perspective of "lack" rather than of "abundance", and we start perceiving ourselves as inherently lacking. This is obviously where the DANGER comes. We give up trying to figure out who we are, convinced it's not even worth uncovering, and after that, a domino effect for the worst begins.
We never step into our true selves, into the fullness of who God made us to be, and we consequently never fulfill our God-given destinies. As a result, the world misses out on the way God wanted to bless it with our lives, and we miss out on experiencing even a fraction of God's love for us. We miss out on seeing ourselves through His eyes. We miss out on re-identifying with who God originally created us to be.
It's natural for us to want to form an identity, to figure out what makes us unique, and sometimes comparing ourselves to do so is inevitable. But rather than focusing on everything we are not, let's celebrate everything we are! Rather than thinking: "I am not like this" or "I cannot do that", think: "I am like this" and "I can do that". These are small changes, but the tiniest adjustments will make all the difference.