From Surviving to Thriving

Recently one of my vehicles wouldn’t start and needed a jump from another vehicle.  That was fine for the first time.  But then it happened again, and then again.  Realizing that the battery was pretty much dead, I borrowed a charger and plugged in the battery overnight for a full charge.  The next morning it started right up on its own.  Great! Problem solved.  But when I went out a few hours later to run an errand, nothing.  The starter wouldn’t even turn over.  There was nothing I could do to bring this battery back.  In the end, the only solution was to get a new battery.  And now the vehicle starts up perfectly every time.

But I got to thinking during that time when I was trying to constantly jump-start and charge a bad battery.  I was going around and around to no success with simply trying to get that car to survive, when what I needed was a solution that would get my car to thrive.  I would hop in the driver seat just hoping that when I turned the key, something would happen.  But what I needed was to turn that key with the confidence that it would not only start this time, but would also continue to start the next time and the time after that.

In a small way, this episode with my car reflects something much larger in the last two years of my life.  Since I first received my cancer diagnosis in early 2015, my life has been in survival mode.  There has been month after month of chemo, radiation, more chemo, and two major surgeries.  And the priority through those two years has been making it through to the next day.  I turn the key this day, hope I have enough energy to get by for this day, and tomorrow just hope I can find the energy to do it again.  2015 and 2016 were survival-mode living.

Now that I have been in remission for a while, and have been able to gain some of my energy back, I have been eager to get out of survival-mode living, and back to truly thriving and enjoying life again.  But I have to admit, the transition has not been as easy as I thought it would be.  After two whole years of backing away to focus on my health, normal life just doesn’t turn back on overnight.  I assumed that a one-time jump start was all would take to begin running smoothly again.  That hasn’t been the case.

What does it take to truly make the transition from surviving to thriving?  Jesus says in John 10:10 “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  Thriving begins by waking up each day in the realization that God has provided the blessings I need on this day to live fully for him, for his glory, for his shalom.  Rather than just turning the starter key and just hoping something happens, thriving is about living in assurance that, when I turn that key, God will make something happen.

picture2My car needed more than a one-time jump start.  The only way to get my car working properly again was to pop open the hood and make the necessary repairs to ensure the vehicle would not only survive, but run well enough to thrive.  Sometimes our souls need more than a one-time jump start as well.  Sometimes we all need to take time to pop open the hood of our souls and perform the necessary tune-up so that our lives can truly thrive.  How’s your engine been running lately?

till next time…
~ pastor tom