It happens almost daily. You routinely scroll through your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram feed, while having breakfast, in transit, or even while taking a restroom break. That’s when you see status updates, photos and videos of others doing things – doing great stuffs. They are sitting in business class lounges on their way out of the country, starting a MBA course in a top-class University, eating in expensive restaurants, showing off their new hairstyles, shoes, clothes and expensive wrist watches, celebrating love with their spouses - and all with perfectly filtered photographic evidences to show for it. You then start to ask yourself “Why not me”? “Why am I not doing these things”? “Why do I seem to be behind on my dreams compared to my friends and contemporaries”?
Do you wonder then that your personal (and perhaps social) life is not as robust as theirs? Do you think about how to achieve a seemingly elusive balance of living a Godly yet productive life, while remaining sane? I bet you do, and that’s why I am writing this piece.
The outcome of this can be serious – people overwork their bodies, overspend their monies, overdraw their credits, overload their emotions, overcrowd their days, and overvalue the opinion of others!
You see, my friend, we all face these “tough scenarios” almost on a daily basis. The issue is how we react or respond to them. Most folks will not like to be left out, and they keep trying their best to keep up with the Joneses. The outcome of this can be serious – people overwork their bodies, overspend their monies, overdraw their credits, overload their emotions, overcrowd their days, and overvalue the opinion of others! As a result, they become overstressed, overanxious and overwhelmed. That is not a good place to be!
In the midst of our fast-paced life and the desire to keep up, how do you maintain your sanity? How do you live life in the overflow? How do you ensure that you are not overwhelmed, overstressed or overanxious? Let me offer a few tips/ advise that have been of tremendous help to me over the years, and especially in the last few months.
Stay Connected to Jesus, everyday
A cluster of grapes will eventually die once it is disconnected from the vine – no questions asked. It is just a matter of time. If you try to go through life on your own power, you are going to be overwhelmed. A vacuum cleaner (for example), cannot fulfil its purpose unless it is connected to a power source. In the same way, you cannot really fulfill your purpose without a constant connection with God. And you need to do this frequently and consistently to leverage its power. This involves spending time in God’s presence everyday – praying, worshiping and hearing from God (reading the scriptures) and obeying His leading.
A vacuum cleaner (for example), cannot fulfil its purpose unless it is connected to a power source. In the same way, you cannot really fulfill your purpose without a constant connection with God.
Stop Grumbling and Start Being Grateful
Gratitude is the healthiest emotion. An attitude of gratitude positions you to enjoy life in the overflow and get rid of worry and anxiety. It releases the “feel good” hormones in the body. One study shows that making a list of 10 things you are grateful for makes you feel much better than before the exercise. I have since formed the habit of consistently writing a list of 10 things I am grateful for and discussing it with my wife and children. Just last night, at the dinner table, each of us talked about 2 things we are grateful for. We are grateful for health and for salvation. We are grateful for the gift of friends and family. We are grateful for provisions and for comfort. We are grateful for peace and tranquility in our home, and a lot more. What are you grateful for? May I challenge you to write your own list of 10 things that you are grateful for, and do it frequently? Better still, read it aloud to yourself. It is therapeutic.
Stop Comparing and Start Being Content
It is foolishness to compare yourself with others. I didn’t say this. The Bible did (2 Cor 10:12). Comparison really gets you in trouble. Many people have turned comparison into an indoor sport – we compare our shoes, we compare our degrees, we compare our cars, we compare our children, we compare our looks, we compare our careers, and even how green the lawn is. Comparison results in either of 2 outcomes. You find someone in life who seems to do doing a better job than you – and you get discouraged. You will find people who you seem to be better than – and you get full of pride. Heads or tail, you lose! Don’t do it. There is no other time in the history of the world where comparison is as big an issue as now. The social media drives this a lot. Everyone wants to share something, and others are checking themselves out versus this. Someone posts photos of her wedding, and others are grappling to follow and do much better! I encourage you to STOP this unhealthy habit. Learn to be grateful for all you’ve got, rather than concentrating on a few things that you don’t have…. yet.
Stop Being Stingy and Start Being Generous
Stinginess is evidence of a shortage mentality – “I only have enough, and if I give it away, it will never be enough again!”. That is not the way the universe is wired. God is very generous and he wants us all to be like him. The more generous you are (with your time, with your money, with your compliments etc.), the more God is going to bless you. Do you know that the little gift of yours might be a major breakthrough for someone else? Listen, your heart grows bigger each time you give to someone else. There are too many people in our world holding on tightly to what they’ve got! That’s why they are overwhelmed – as all they think of is getting, and getting and getting a little more. How far can one go with that?
If you form a daily habit of doing these things, I guarantee that you will live life in the overflow, and enjoy abundant life.