September is a glorious month because it holds this feeling of a new season. You can sense summer slipping out as autumn slides. The smells in the air are nostalgic. The cool mornings flood me with memories of backpacks, freshly sharpened pencils, a new trapper keeper, and if my mom splurged, the 64-count crayons. Oh, the wonders and potential this doorway month holds.
As Ebbie and I enjoyed our morning walk the other day, I heard the phrase. “Live where you love.” I thought this was interesting and a bit weighty because we typically think, “Love where you live.” However, I felt the Holy Spirit gave me a different insight into this phrase. You see, at times, I can get caught up in feelings of discontentment; when the days are long and gray, I love looking at warm climates on the weather app. Or, when my house feels crowded or overwhelmingly cluttered, I am on Zillow dreaming of bigger dwelling spaces. Sometimes I envision our retirement in a townhome with no yard or upkeep; other times, I am looking for property to have my chickens and add a few goats and ducks to the mix.
As I consider the phrase, “Live where you love,” I could sense Holy Spirit asking me, “Are you living fully and joyful around those you love? Are you living abundantly around those you care for? Are you living the life I paid for?”
2021 was the first time since 2009 that all my children lived in the same state. Giant pieces of my heart were finally within driving distance. So, the question Jesus posed to me was personal, “Holly, are you living where you are loving?” As a wife, mom, grandma, author, gardener, chicken tenderer, ministry leader, and full-time Mimi, I can spin many plates, serve from some pretty burned-out places, and still care for them well. But this is not genuinely living well in the atmosphere around those I love. It's a horrible example to serve on fumes. Sometimes, it's required, but it is not meant to be the norm.
It’s a tricky question; are we living abundantly in the presence of those we love the most? Are they witnessing us flourishing, dreaming, laughing, resting, and enjoying a grace-filled, heaven-infused life? I can honestly answer this- Sometimes, yes. Other times, no.
In a broken, frazzled, and rat race kind of world, Jesus came to give us life and life abundant! But the natural tendency is to grumble when the internet is slow or the ice machine quits working. However, joyful, abundant life isn’t about things going smoothly or favorably. We are shown over and over in the word how to live well in less-than-ideal circumstances. And thankfully, we are given heavenly strategies to live in a temporary world.
Jerimiah 29 is an excellent example for us-“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the captives he has exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem: “Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.” Jeremiah 29:4-7 NLT
I love the line, Multiply! Do not dwindle away. These precious people were sent away from their home country, and God instructed them to thrive and live abundantly in captivity.
Living is more than existing; it's embracing life, living with intention, joy, and purpose. And that is what the children of God were told to do in a foreign land.
If you feel like you’re dwindling away or you are not living in His fullness around those you love you may need to do inventory and ask some hard questions and be willing to answer them honestly and make the changes and pivots needed to recalibrate.
Here are three to start with.
Why am I discontent?
Why am I frustrated?
Why do I feel empty?
Sometimes we are dealt an unfair hand, and we can feel like an exile floundering to find our place. We can feel stuck and enprisoned; however, Jesus gives us the promise that we can flourish and live well for those we love, even when the enemy is hunting us.
Sisters, determine now, "I will not dwindle away!" We will build houses, plant gardens, have babies, and live fully for those we love the most.
“A thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy. But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect —life in its fullness until you overflow!” John 10:10 TPT