That was the topic of today’s devotion. It’s the second part of a three-part mini series within my devotional book, and today’s message really hit me.
The point of the message was that there is a battling going on inside of you between your flourishing self and your languishing self. “Your languishing self feels uneasy and discontent. You’re drawn to bad habits like mindlessly watching TV, drinking too much, misusing sex, excessive spending- things designed to temporarily anesthetize pain. Your thoughts automatically drift in the direction of fear and anger. Learning doesn’t feel worthwhile. You think about yourself most of the time.”
In contrast, flourishing takes place:
-In your spirit. You begin to feel like you’re getting ideas and inspiration from an outside source: God’s Spirit. You feel like you have a purpose for living; you come alive.
-In your mind. Your thoughts are full of joy and peace; you have a desire to love and learn.
-In your time. You wake each day with a sense of excitement, and you realize you're never too young (or too old!) to flourish.
I can identify with both aspects of this message, and sometimes I’m on both sides in the same day, even within hours of each other. That’s the whole point of it being a battle. It’s not over in just one instance, it takes time to overcome, and there will be times where its unclear which side is winning. But for myself, I am confident that my flourishing side is winning. Why? Because these descriptions of a flourishing person fit me almost perfectly.
A few months back I had an ‘epiphany’ of sorts. I was driving towards the ocean with my best friend, and suddenly I looked around and thought, ‘This is what I want. This is the life I’ve been imagining.’ As it turns out, it’s very similar and complimentary to the life that she wants too, and we’ve been planning and working ever since to make those dreams and ideas a reality. Never before have I had such a moment of clarity. Never have I had my eyes opened wide to see what had been hidden for so long. It was as if all of my ideas and dreams had been blurry, covered with some kind of film so that I couldn’t see them clearly, and then in that moment, the film was removed and everything was shining brightly.
I am enrolled in classes again for the fall, starting to work towards a brand new degree and certifications. I’m excited about learning, excited for what the experience will bring me. I can’t wait to see how the classes will prepare me for the future I have.
I used to really struggle with trusting God to provide for me and for my family. I spent almost every day worrying and stressing out about how we were going to pay our bills, where the money would come from, how it would all work out in the end. I didn’t have the energy to think about or plan for the future, because I was so busy worrying about the here and now.
Now, I wake up each morning with a sense of peace, and a deep knowledge that God will provide for us. No matter how bad things look, I know that we’ll get through it. I know that God has it taken care of already. I never had that peace before. I never knew what it felt like to fully and completely trust God with an area of my life. Now I do.
I think the most unobtrusive change has been my mindset, and the things I think about. It used to be completely focused on money, bills, stress, making myself feel better. Now though, its all about the future. The plans that I have, the ideas I’ve discovered, the things I can do right now to prepare for the future I have. I hardly ever think about myself anymore, and when I do it’s usually to ask myself what it is that I truly want for my future. I’m always checking to make sure that the goals I have are aligned with my values, to make sure that I’m not getting carried away with unrealistic worldly goals. I’m trying to keep up with God now, not with the Jones’.
All of these things, though they seem small on their own add up to one big answer for me: I am flourishing. It’s funny that I never really thought of it that way until now. I knew that my life had gotten better, that my mindset had been improving for a long time. I just never equated those things to having a flourishing life. Now that the question has been asked of me though, the answer seems glaringly obvious. Funny, the way our minds can process information and situations in such bizarre ways.
What about you, though? Do you identify more with the languishing side, or the flourishing side of things? Which side is winning? If it’s not the flourishing side, what can you do to change the battle?
“My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” John 10:10
Disclaimer: The passages and quotes used in this post are from Daily Devotional The Word for You Today by Celebration, Inc. (Feb 8th passage.) It is not my intent to plagiarize from anyone.