Dr. Mel Tavares
Are You Surviving or Thriving?
Do you feel like you are thriving or would you describe yourself as someone who is just trying to survive your present circumstances, barely hanging on without toppling over?
Are you able to sing and dance your way through the days or are you struggling to paste a plastic smile on your face as you tell people 'I'm fine'?
Do you lie down at night able to count the blessings the day has brought or do you fall asleep crying, with tears of hopelessness streaming down your cheeks?
If you are in the category of surviving, I want you to know you are not alone in the battle. Never before has there been such a struggle as this past two years. Maybe you've had to survive COVID. Perhaps it's been trying to cope and survive a lay-off. Perhaps you've faced housing insecurities and/or food insecurities. Maybe you are one who has been separated from loved ones residing in nursing homes or hospitalized, no visits allowed. It's possible that none of these examples apply to you and the battle for survival is a mental battle or a spiritual battle. Whatever the situation, I want you to know that you have been created to thrive!
"But, how?", you may be asking yourself.
A Tree Planted by The Water
The answer is to stay close to the Lord God, reading the Bible and meditating on those verses 'day and night'. Let's read the passage in Psalms.
Psalm 1:1-3 (ESV) says "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers."
Does this passage mean that we literally are supposed to think about and meditate on Bible verses 24/7? No. Not in the literally sense, however the more we read and the more we study and ponder/meditate on what is meant by the verses, the deeper our spiritual life will be.
In John 4:10 (ESV), while speaking to the Woman at the Well, Jesus said “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
The Holy Spirit is the Living Water that our souls need to thrive. The more time we spend in the presence of God while reading the Bible, the more the Holy Spirit can speak to us and revive our thirsty souls.
There Is No Other Way This is a rough world we live in and times are hard. Maybe you are like I was, trying every possible way to make myself happy, fix the problems, set goals, achieve, earn lots of money...
In John 14:6 (ESV) Jesus said "Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." It's plain and simple. Once I got tired enough of trying to survive and figure it out for myself, I gave up doing it my way and asked Jesus to take the wheel, proverbially speaking. Unsure about this Jesus stuff? I've explained it, plain and simple.
Does a life lived for Christ, serving God automatically mean you will thrive? No. Go back to the top of the blog post. You have to take the intentional action step of reading the Bible, praying, and seeking God to begin to thrive. You are meant to live a thriving life. Make the decision to start now!
Resources Sometimes specific life circumstances are better overcome with target specific counseling or support. I recommend Grief Share for those who've lost a spouse or family member, Divorce Care for those recently separated or divorced, and Celebrate Recovery for those struggling with addictions of any type, or emotional hurts and hang-ups. All of these are resources widely available across the nation.
I recently released a 30-Day Devotional entitled 'Lessons From The River'. If you have not already purchased your copy, I recommend you do so today. You will find life-giving lessons of how to thrive in this life, regardless of your circumstances. These are 2 minute reads that are intentionally designed to allow you to meditate on (ponder, think on) the quick object lesson as you continue your day.