The word Thriving is a powerful word. To thrive means to prosper and flourish.
Several years ago as I was reflecting on my crazy beautiful health journey, God asked me a question I had never heard before. It was a question I was not sure how to answer. One early morning, God asked me if I was surviving or thriving in life? Of course, I thought I was thriving. I was busy trying to navigate this crazy beautiful journey. I was sharing the story God had given me to tell. But after thinking and praying about this question, I realized I was busy living life, but was I thriving in life? Big difference.
So I started asking myself some tough questions. Do I feel good about myself? Am I living with purpose? Am I satisfied with where my life is at this moment? Am I all that God is calling me to be? Truly answering these questions, put me on a path to truly thriving in life.
God wants each of us to thrive in life. We were created for a purpose. We were created for community. We were created to overcome the obstacles in life. We were created to be fully alive. Let’s take a look at a few of these points.
Created For A Purpose. God created each of us for a purpose in life. We were not created to just walk through life like zombies. No, God has amazing plans for each of our lives. Some people find their purpose early in life. For others, it takes awhile to truly find your purpose. That’s okay. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. I would encourage each of us to spend some time today, asking ourselves “Am I living life with purpose?”
Created For Community. Have there been times in your life, that you have been so busy that you felt disconnected from your community? I know I have experienced those moments. We were not created to be alone. No, we were created to do life together. How would you answer the following questions? Do you have a community of support in your life? Is this community building you up or keeping you from your purpose in life? Are you willing to make changes in life to belong to a positive and life building community? Life is too short to be surrounded by a negative community.
Created To Be Fully Alive. As I walked through this question of surviving or thriving, God reminded me He created us to be fully alive in life. God wants us to experience freedom and complete fullness. Unfortunately, we will all walk through seasons of life where we are just surviving. This is just part of life. Part of the marathon. I would encourage each of us to not stay in that season of just surviving for long. This is where you Community comes into play. God gives us all passions that are meant to drive us. What are you passionate about? When you find the answer to that question, you will be fully alive.
Created to Overcome. There is nothing we face in life, that we cannot overcome with the help of God. But OC, you have no idea what I am facing in life. True, I do not know what your currently facing in life, but I do know that God is bigger than any storm we will ever face in life. I know that is easy to say, but not always easy to live out. I have been striving to live out the Overcoming Life, for the past 17 years with my ongoing health issues. It has not always been easy, but God has been with me every step of the way.
Deciding to live a life of Thriving will not always be easy. There will be seasons where we fall back into the just surviving mode. That’s okay. As we discussed above, just don’t stay in the surviving mode. Seek after God, reach out to your community, make the choice to overcome. Decide that being fully alive is more important than just surviving in life. ~OC
What is keeping us from living the complete life? I know that is a big question, with many potential answers. But God designed each of us to live a complete whole life.
Here are a few things, I believe can help us live out the life God created for each of us.
A New Chapter. Too many of us are living in the past. We continue to relive past disappointments. Past failures. Or sometimes we live in past successes. We all know someone, who is eager to tell us about winning the 5th grade all county championship thirty years ago. Don’t get me wrong, we should celebrate past successes. We should learn from past mistakes. But we cannot live in the past. The great thing is, we have the opportunity to start a new chapter each morning. So close the chapter on your past and start writing a new one.
Worthy. Has anyone told you lately you are worthy? That you are important. No matter your past, God finds you worthy. He sent his Son down from heaven to die for us. I think that proves how worthy we are in God’s eyes.
Comfort Zone. I believe to live the whole life that God created for us, we have to step out of our comfort zones. We have to be willing to take some chances in life. God designed us to be creative. To be adventurous. We cannot truly experience life, if we stay in our nice comfortable zones.
Labels. Stop wearing the labels the world puts on us. How many people continue to wear the labels put on them as a child? Not smart enough. Too short. Too weird. Too heavy. Too tall. Your from the wrong side of the tracks. So many people continue to wear these labels into adulthood. Today, I encourage you to take those labels off. Trash them. You are more than a label. You were created by a loving God to live an incredible life. To Dream. To Succeed. To Thrive.
Courage. It will take courage to start feeling Worthy. It will take courage to step out of your Comfort Zone. It will take courage to take off the Labels you have been wearing for years. But I promise you it will be worth it.
Today, I encourage each of us to think about these four points. To start living the incredible life, God has created us to live. Will you make a commitment to living wholeheartedly? ~OC
I made one of the best decisions of my life twenty years ago. I had the honor of marrying my best friend Laura West Shoemaker. Oh, what a journey it has been. So many amazing moments and memories.
Laura and I met in January of 1999 and were married by September 1999. Crazy I know! I am sure a lot of people thought we were crazy when we exchanged our vows. Remember, we had only known each other for nine months. But we knew God had brought us together, to walk this journey called life as husband and wife. Of course, we had no idea what a crazy beautiful journey it would be.
Imagine being just a few years into your marriage and your life changing forever. That was what Laura and I experienced in 2002. Finding out that my body was beginning to betray me was life changing, but not in the way you might think. My health journey has been a struggle for both of us. At the same time, the journey has been an amazing gift. A gift Laura and I have decided to embrace with enthusiasm. Most days.
From the very beginning, Laura and I decided that my health struggles would not define us. Our story would not be a sad one. No, we made the choice to keep living. Not just living, but to truly Thrive in life.
Our faith has been a major part of our marriage. From the very beginning, God has been the center of our relationship. We did meet at church after all. God has walked with us every step of our crazy journey. Through the good times and the challenging times
From the highs of exchanging wedding vows twenty years ago to the continuing challenges of dealing with life threatening health issues in 2019, the journey has been one amazing ride. I would not change a thing. The good days and the challenging days have brought us closer together. This journey has been filled with so many amazing memories. No day or moment taken for granted. Each day celebrated. Each moment cherished. I am grateful God has allowed us to walk this crazy beautiful journey together. Let’s keep living this adventure and making amazing memories together. Love you girl! ~OC
Last night, I had the pleasure of being on my friends podcast Man Up, Already! I would encourage everyone to check out his podcast. Some really great material. Below is a link to my appearance on the podcast. ~OC