You were meant to do more than just survive. You were meant to thrive.
You were not meant to struggle to make it through the week, the day, the next hour. You were not meant for your world to feel like a weight, for the break of dawn to be the starter pistol for another meaningless rat race. You were not meant to be shackled by anxiety, worry, and fear. No, you were meant for so much more.
You were meant to have life and to have it more abundantly. That is the promise of the eternal God.
You were meant to dig deep and to reach out.
You were meant to know God and to make him known.
You were meant to point to the one hope, the one anchor, the one true source of joy, peace, and contentment for the entire human race. His name is Jesus.
I’m not saying you won’t have trouble in this life. Only the false teachers of the prosperity gospel claim otherwise. They promise prosperity while using Scriptures written from prison or during some of the lowest moments in the lives of godly men. Out of Jesus’ twelve disciples, only one escaped martyrdom, and he was exiled to a desolate island. I still can’t figure how that entitles us to buy a Benz. Without exception, all of us will have some bad days. But Jesus tells us to take heart. He has overcome the world, which means we can thrive amid it all (John 16:33).
When I was in high school, the word thrive was not in my vocabulary. It felt like the best I could do was to survive. As I struggled with attention deficit disorder and dyslexia long before most folks knew of their existence, school days felt like a mix of labor camp, summer camp (recess and lunch), and the next embarrassment that lurked right around the corner. At times, my life still feels that way. At times, I feel like I’m still trying to survive.
If we are honest, we can look back on the last year and say we only survived it. We survived work. We survived school. We survived with most of our relationships intact.
In fact, a lot of us are in survival mode right now:
If I can just get to this weekend…
If I can just make it to the first of the month…
If I can just get to summer vacation…
If I can just finish this project…
If I can just beat this sickness…
If I can just make this payment…
If I can just get the kids through college…
I remember looking at the clock in high school and thinking, Only eleven more minutes. I don’t think they’re ever going to pass. I’m never going to get out of this place. I’m going to grow old and die in this room. If I can survive just eleven more minutes, I’m done with this.
I went to my class reunion a few years ago. As I talked with a group of friends, we looked over to the bar. Around it stood ten guys who are the exact same people they were as seniors in high school. They never grew up. My wife, Melanie, and I sat with a friend named Karen. Back when we were in school, Karen was quiet — nice, but reserved. Believe it or not, I was too. Neither of us really did much in high school, which is sad when I think about it. It wasn’t until later in life that we emerged from our shells. At the reunion, Karen looked at the guys at the bar and shook her head.
“You know,” she said, “it seems like some people never left the beach.”
We listened to the guys at the bar say things like “Man, I was glad to just punch that clock Friday” and “Dude, I can’t wait till summer. We’re heading down to Panama City Beach.”
Every day, they’re just surviving.
You were not made to survive life. Or to survive work. Or school. Or your family. You were not made to exist until you can get over the next hump or get to the next break.
You are not living the life you were created to live if survive is your word. You were made to thrive.
Point to Remember: We were meant to thrive and not just survive.
*Guest Post by Mark Hall