By Ashley Synowicki
When I first began thinking of what thriving looks like as a Christian woman, I thought of the fruit of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control). Then I considered how does one DO that? How do you get love, joy, peace, etc.? Do you commit to praying throughout the day, have a super meaningful quiet time every morning, try harder tomorrow, be more organized, memorize a different Bible verse on a weekly basis? Those are all wonderful disciplines that will undoubtedly have positive benefits in ones’ life, however I don’t think that they’re the answer to thriving, at least not from a Christian perspective. Thriving doesn’t require you to perform well or check things off a list. I thought of how often I’ve striven to implement all those qualities in various ways in my life. I’ve definitely had days where tasks were accomplished and I followed the “rules”, but something was missing. Thriving isn’t looking or acting a certain way, but living life abundantly from the inside out.
I would suggest to you that you don’t really have to DO anything to thrive . . . except to remember–to allow our sweet and nurturing Father to remind you of what is already true.
He relishes telling me that I am holy, righteous, adopted, set apart, redeemed and dearly loved. He reminds me I already have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. No need for me to go figure out a way to have more patience for a challenging child, manifest more self-control, or be kind to that difficult person. I am all of those things because He is all of those things. I am His daughter. I am filled with the Holy Spirit. Even if I don’t “feel” those things, it doesn’t make them any less true. And if you’ve accepted Christ as your Savior, you have them too.
As I was thinking over these things, the LORD brought this passage from Ephesians 2:4-6 to mind:
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised up with him and seated us with Him in the heavenly place in Christ Jesus.”
Our Father is SO good! The first thing in this passage that struck me was in verse 5 where Paul says “we were dead,” as in past tense . . . meaning this is no longer true. We were dead, however after receiving the Holy Spirit are now alive with Christ. How many times have I acted as though this wasn’t already decided? As if I could work towards earning or keeping eternal life. He’s where life comes from, and that’s where I go to live an abundant and thriving life.
The next part though is what really blows me away. In verse 6 Paul writes that we are raised up and seated WITH Him in heavenly places. What an incredible truth – that eternally speaking we are already in the heavenly places with Him. You see, our eternity is already sealed. It is 100% secure. When I allow my Father space in my life and give Him authority, He gently reminds me of what is already done. It’s when I remember to have an eternal perspective on my life that I can really begin to thrive.
I had a dear friend highlight this verse for me and point out Christ’s posture in the heavenly places. If you didn’t catch it before, He is seated. At first, that seems like an insignificant detail. However, after pausing for a moment, I realized that His being seated is a posture of confidence and shows His work is complete. He isn’t worried, on guard, still working, preparing, striving . . . it is finished. And did you catch that he seated us with Him too?
When I remember who I truly am (the adopted and cherished daughter of our heavenly Father alive for all eternity with Christ) and continually remember to keep an eternal perspective on what is already done, then I am free to thrive. I am free to enjoy Him and the day, life, body, home, family, friends, job, etc. that He has for me.
Thriving looks a lot different than what you might first expect. It looks more like me taking a deep breath, relaxing, and pausing, even if only for a few seconds, while the world and others around me are loud and demanding my attention. It’s allowing Him to whisper to my heart and believing what He tells me. Remembering who He is, and therefore who I am because He lives inside me. I don’t have to DO anything, WORK at anything, I don’t have to TRY harder. I just have to be reminded to rest in what is already DONE.