I may not be there yet, but I’m closer than I was yesterday.  ~Author Unknown

The journey of writing my cookbook, publishing it, and staring my new career as an author, speaker, and cooking on TV has truly had its peaks and valleys. There have been days of wanting to give up because few people respond or no one seemingly cares about what I have worked so hard on. Sometimes, it feels like the dream is going nowhere. In the moments of desperation, when you are ready to give up, an inspirational sermon, a quote, a book, or an encouraging word rekindles the fire.

A few months ago, I heard a sermon that really spoke to me about my life and the journey I am on.  I learned that there are 3 stages we all have to go through to achieve the abundant life.  Each stage is very important to guide and direct us on how to make it to the next phase. Without each one, as painfully difficult as they may be, we would not be able to handle what is ahead of us on this journey.

 

  • The “Not Enough” Stage –  This stage is often overwhelming and one I know quite well.  In this phase, we live each day feeling like we are drowning and there is no way out. Emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion persists. No matter how much time or hard work put into what we are striving to achieve, failure seems to take center stage.  I remember the days, months, and years of feeling like a mouse on a wheel constantly running around and around. Even after being overcome with exhaustion by working overtime, it still wasn’t enough.  The bills could not get paid without help from others. The thought of going somewhere to get away for a much needed vacation was a cruel joke, and the inability to “live” life like others was the norm.
    Those days really humble you when you have to ask others for help or sacrifice everything you want to do. Money, success, and happiness are elusive. God uses this time to teach us to rely fully on Him for all of our needs. He is molding us for what lies ahead. When we have nothing and have reached full reliance and satisfaction on God, He moves us on to the next phase.  The “Not Enough” stage is what makes us stronger, leading us to grow in our faith.
  • The “Just Enough” Stage –  In this stage, we live each day not knowing if or how we will make it financially, emotionally, or spiritually, but God provides.  When it comes  to having food to eat or just plain survival, the struggles continue. In this phase, we are barely paying our bills and have to pick and choose what is most important to get by. This phase can seem like it’s never ending. Some days, I wonder how I will have the strength to speak to groups, but God provides miraculous stamina to pull me through. Chris and I still have those moments when life reverts back to the “Not Enough” stage, as God puts us through trials and sharpens us to put our true dependance in Him.
    In this phase in our life, we have seen many more attacks on us spiritually, mentally, and physically, that try to derail us from living the abundant life. As the abundant life approaches, more and more obstacles will slow your progress. God allows more arrows to be thrown at us to test our faith, to see if we take control in the struggles, or to make certain that we persevere with Him through the storms. While this painful phase seems eternal in the moment, we recognize that we have not been forgotten. It is the “Not Enough” and the “Just Enough” stages that teach us to not take the abundant life for granted and prepares us for what lies ahead.

 

  • The “More than Enough” stage – When we reach this stage we will recognize it, being given all that we need emotionally, mentally, physically, and financially to live each and every day. Expect the most obstacles to emerge in this stage. We are able to handle those situations that attempt to knock us down, distract us, or test our faith. We have learned from our life’s journey that has brought us to this point, as we go to God with our every aspect of our lives. We will not take what we have been blessed with for granted due to those previous trials. We willingly give back to those who helped us along the way, lend a hand to others in need, as well as faithfully live the way God has asked us to live.

I am looking forward to living the abundant life, but in the meantime, I am going to make the most out of what I am given and strive to have complete reliance and dependence on Him. For I am not there yet, but I’m closer than I was yesterday.