Nobody has to tell you that, because you can honestly just feel it:
Abundance is an expansive ocean and you’re an island surrounded by its unendingness.
There is blue as far as you can see — if you can see.
All their eyes around the table were ocean blue at Sunday dinner, all the kids and cousins. I felt like I was standing at the edge of something deep and wide and long that went on forever.
And our smallest, her eyes are an island of brown — and here we are all, surrounding her in a thousand ways, engulfing her in love, endlessly, forever, lapping up on her shores and feeling ourselves abundantly, wildly, lucky. Blessed.
You can do that at Sunday dinner. You can look around at your people, look at all the brave ragamuffins and beautiful misfits who you get to call yours, and you can feel it pounding like a tidal wave of truth in your very own chest:
Abundance is not to something be attained — abundance is something to awaken to.
You can end up wanting to memorize all the faces, memorize this waking to the smell of fried chicken and warmed rolls and the faint scent of polished shoes and perfumed wrists and old cologne.
You can hear a cat can meow from behind a bedroom door and the dog’s thumping his tail in the mat in the mudroom and there can be more than a basket or two of laundry there by the washing machine and the stove can need a deep scrubbing and there can be a splaying of bills across your desk.
But there is breath filling your lungs and there is time, even yet, and there is still light and hope, and why did you get this one breath, let alone another two, and there is rising today, the sun, and all the possibilities, and resurrections everywhere, abundance rising out of ashes, and you can’t doubt it.
You can believe this, witness this. You can feel it like a rising tide that carries you forward even now:
It is not what we get, but what we give thanks for, that gives us the abundant life.
Overflow with gratitude and it will quench every inch of your life.
How is there all this light? How is there all this light in all their eyes?How is there all this love and how could we want to live anywhere else but in the love that is the tsunami that floods everywhere because He who is in us is greater and His great love cannot stop rising in us.
You can watch how they pass down the water pitcher.
And you can take that pitcher in hand and you can fill your cup and I am telling you, that elusive abundant life that kinda runs through your fingers like water running on and on?
This can fill you and you can feel it like an ending of emptiness:
Abundance is about riches, not about money. And if your hands are full of the riches of Christ, how can your heart not be full of the abundant life?
And you just might hear the universe murmur that — if tired hands don’t feel full of the riches of Christ, those weary hands might take His, and long hold the tried and true Words of Christ, and linger longer at the nail-scarred feet of Christ, and feel the wounds of Christ trace all the tender scars like He is finding His people and you’re finding yours.
Scars speak a private language that only the wounded know and Christ wears His scars because He is abundantly fluent in broken hearts.
You could look around you right now.
Abundance is not about your hands being full, but your heart being full.
And your heart can fill with here and now, and there’s grace in this moment for those willing to wake.“Abundance is not about having excess. Abundance is about realizing you have enough.”
Tilt your head on a tilted planet and watch how the angle of light hits things really proves we don’t have to angle for things — there is enough if enough of us live given.
Honest to God, there’s enough breath in the lungs to murmur your thanks to God.
Get lost in people’s eyes today and in swaths of sun on any afternoon, and lose track of time and get lost in a good book, and smile abundantly, till your cheek hurts, because you are alive after all.
And you have time to feel wind on your face and you have time to reach out to one person and remember how we all belong to each other and each of us gets a place to belong and the abundance of your life is not measured in the ways you gained — but in what you gave away.
I’d heard it said once that passion is the way to abundance and when I asked if she knew that passion literally means suffering — she nodded and I knew right then that I would give the rest of my life to understand how suffering is the way to abundance.
When I looked around a table full of my people, when I look into the faces of all the people, and I listen to their rabble and their laughter and their dreams and their brokenness, you can see how everyone is a hero every day because life is hard and everyone needs a witness to their courage so none of us are alone.
And that’s what filled me at the table:“The abundant life is only found in loving abundantly.”
I hold my cup and abundantly feel that for all of them, right now, just as they simply and wholly are.
Is that when it happens, not in my cerebrum, but in my gut, in the pounding chambers of my heart?
Yes, I can feel that’s when there’s a knowing in the core of being, what a preacher said once on a Sunday morning. Held up a cup up and poured it full of water– and then dumped it out. And said that this was genuine koinonia. Not sipping hipster coffee out of styrofoam cups out in the foyer. But actually pouring out of cups, being filled and emptied and filled with the abundant life.
This was what that Greek word for community, koinonia, literally looks like, what it literally means: a pouring out and a pouring into.
Isn’t that what happened in the beginning, all of the expanse of space rang with the words, “Let us make man in our image.” Let us.
Wasn’t that all our genesis and isn’t that the beginning of all abundance: We were made out of community, to be in community.
You were made out of an abundantly loving relationship to be in abundantly loving relationships.
The water pitcher is being passed all down the table. It’s being poured out. Cups are being filled.
I am breathing, waking, witnessing, seeing, filling, feeling.
Can the abundant life be as simple and as profound as giving abundantly and letting yourself be abundantly filled to give and pour out? It is loud around the table and there is love being poured out and passed around and empty places are being filled.
And this is the moment I understand it, how suffering is the way to abundance — because to passionately love is to suffer. Because to love is to live given. And this doesn’t make me afraid — it makes everything feel deeply right.
The little girl with the brown eyes in this ocean of blue, she taps my shoulder and says it loud over the din, “Mama? What about me?”
She’s holding out her empty cup to me.
And I pour some of my water into her cup. And the grace of it washes over me:
The abundant life is about giving your thanks, giving your life, giving your heart. Only the given life is the abundant life.
And I nod to her — but I am nodding to me.
If you want abundant life, give your life away. Anyone can do this, so anyone can have the abundant life.
And then, all around the table, we take each other’s hands, hold each other’s hand, bow our heads.
And I know my farming man is praying at the end of the table, giving thanks for the food, for us gathered, but all I can hear, all you can hear, is this ocean of abundance kissing the shores of everything:
Abundance is about pouring out, because only what is poured out can fill with abundantly more.
How to live large-hearted in a world that can be self-centered?
We’re excited to announce a new Bible study in partnership with IF and RightNow Media: Every Good Gift: Living Generously in a Self-Centered World, starting October 7th. This 6-session study contains teaching videos from Ann Voskamp and features real life stories!
Each week we’re going to talk about what it looks like to be generous with our hospitality, spiritual gifts, money, and time.
How this study works:
1. Pull together a group and do it together! Buy a copy of the study book and access all of the teaching videos FREE by registering with RightNow Media, available next week! There’s even a leader guide in the book for you.
2. Study on your own and on the go with your daily emails. You will receive the first email on October 7th and we’ll study together for the next 6 weeks!
You find yourself at a crossroads every day — and what you need to know is the way to abundance.
How do you find the way that lets you become what you hope to be?
How do you know the way forward that lets you heal, that lets you flourish, the way that takes your brokenness — and makes wholeness?
How can you afford to take any other way?