Bargains and Abundance

“I’m starting to realize that God isn’t in the bargain business.”

I’m overwhelmed by the goodness of life right now. There have been times when that hasn’t been the case, when the silver lining was a bit more difficult to find, but that is not the place I’m living in right now.

You know that verse that talks about Jesus coming to give you life, “and that more abundantly?” I really can’t quit thinking about the idea of abundance.

There’s this mindset I have about needing to get the most “bang for my buck.” How far can I stretch this dollar? What’s the best possible outcome I can expect to receive with my meager offering? Let’s make a deal…

Early on I learned that “you get what you pay for.” I settled into the idea that I didn’t have much, but I would do what i could with what I had. So when I’m in need (or want) of something, my mind is pre-set to look for the deal… the bargain.

Maybe that’s not a bad little mentality when you’re in the market for a new sleeping bag, but not with every aspect of life. If I think hard about it, this is the filter I use for just about everything.  I don’t always believe I live in a place of abundance. My default is to start from a place of need rather than a place of plenty. So if it’s time to get a job… and I really need a job…  I tend to believe that jobs are scarce and I’ll probably take one of the first offers I get: working at Kmart. (true story.) There might even be a better job offer, but I’m pre-programmed to believe that I don’t have the necessary skills to do it well. I lack something for that job, so I better take what I can get.

If we want to get really vulnerable, we’ll talk about how I’ve always viewed new relationships. In setting out to make new friends, what’s the best I can get? Somebody who believes that they are in lack or in need of… coolness, beauty, popularity, athletic ability, whatever … doesn’t believe they have what it takes to be friends with someone who has an abundance of those qualities.

So it’s no longer, “I don’t have enough for that”, it’s “I’m not good enough for that.”

Then there’s my relationship with God. The whole promise of grace has always been hard because I’m looking for the best deal I can get with what little “good” I’ve got to offer.  I’m measuring out the best “bang” of grace for my “buck” of obedience and sacrifice. It hasn’t always been my first instinct to believe that there is an abundance of grace to be poured out.

I’m looking for the bargain…  I start to measure… I start to settle

I’m not good enough to get the biggest dose of His love and grace possible so I’ll settle and believe that I’m barely covered and I better drop to my knees every time I think about doing something wrong.  I’ll settle and believe that I’ve got just enough authority to ward off the lies of the enemy to get me through tonight, but he’ll probably come back with more.  I’ll settle and believe that the freedom I received at that service on Sunday isn’t the kind of free-for-all-time deal I was hoping for, it was just for this week.  He’ll bless me with just enough support to cover my bills, but I might have to borrow some cash from mom and dad to get the oil-changed in my car.  I’ll settle for marrying this man because he’s the only kind of man that would be interested in me.

Sounds horrible huh? The sad part is I never understood how far-reaching this mind-set actually was. God’s been doing so much in my life over the past few years and I honestly believe I have freedom, authority, and grace… but every once in a while I find some random corner that has been effected my this mindset and I still operate from lack rather than abundance.  Maybe those areas are the potential of a future husband, the provision of a safe car that works properly, or the joy that’s available in the midst of major life transition.

I’ve caught it sneaking up on me here and there. While I have started to grasp the idea of a good life, have I really understood what it means to live an abundant life?

You know what? The truth is that God is not in the bargain business. He’s not trying to play “Let’s Make a Deal.”  He gives me an ABUNDANCE of blessings because I’m His daughter. There’s no other reason.  I can’t do enough things right to earn the favor of abundance and get what I need or want. What I receive from the Lord, I receive because of who I am… I am His daughter.

I think I’ve misunderstood that verse…

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

– John 10:10

Jesus didn’t just come and do all that He did and be all that He is, just so I could have an entry pass into a store where I can only afford cheap knock-offs and taste-less generic renditions of the real life I dream of having.

When He came… what He gave me was a chance at the Super Toy Run in Toys-R-Us with no time limit. I get to run up and down the isles, filling cart after cart with all that I need and want. All the best things in life are available to me – the best in relationships, the best in health and wholeness, the best provision in finances and the never-ending buckets of joy, peace, strength, boldness, and courage.

I’m never in lack. He loves me to much to leave me hoping for more joy… or settling for second-best anything. I’m not saying I’m due for a brand new Ferrari here, but I believe the Lord absolutely wants to provide a safe and functioning vehicle. And it’s not so much about what He has available to give as it is about me finally believing those gifts are available.

Somebody challenged me recently and said, “Ashley, don’t ask for 3 good gifts when the Lord has 20 good gifts for you.”

It’s actually a bit easier to hope for better things in life if you’re in a super sucky place right now. I think what I’m realizing in this really sweet spot of life is that there just might still be more… the well of goodness might not run dry after all. What if the idea of living “life more abundantly” is really about believing there’s still plenty more of the good things in life available to you even on your very best day?

I’m starting to ask and believe for more. I”m not asking for more because I deserve it or because God is obligated to give me anything… There’s no name-it and claim-it to this. I’m asking for more because I’ve recognized my identity as a daughter has already given me access to an abundance of life.

What are you lacking? What do you need? Is God big enough and is His storehouse plentiful enough to provide? What are you asking for and are you asking for the fullness of what is actually available to you?

12 thoughts on “Bargains and Abundance

  1. oh, friend. i love this. so much.

    just so good. to finally get to a place where you realize that this isn’t a game of give and take. it’s a life of blessing. a life of love. a life of abundance.

    yup. might even have to read this one again today. 🙂 loves you.

    • man life is so good. So many abundant blessings everywhere I look. I’m overwhelmed by how much more there is even though it’s great already. I read somewhere else today that God likes to speak to us and tell us things that are to good to be true. I don’t want to be a person that doesn’t believe Him when He speaks those things that seem to good to be true…. because they are totally true.

  2. So perfectly said, Ashley!! Our Dad has been challenging me on this one the past year or so, and wow, it’s really changing my whole perspective! That’s what I want to believe every day, that He is determined and excited to bless me beyond what I think I need or deserve. Thanks for sharing this! 🙂

  3. Ashley, I have really been enjoying reading this lately. I just didn’t read blogs until recently and I am so glad I am now!! And your photos are beautiful! Thank you for sharing your heart … I can identify with so much of what you wrote and what I’m left with at the end is … hope. : ) Thanks!

    • Sarah! Thanks for reading my blog… and I think you might get a little addicted to blogs if you keep signing up. I use Google Reader to keep them all straight and it declutters my inbox. Much love girl!

  4. You, my friend, are so right. Absolute perfect timing for me to read this today. I can see this lesson you’re learning being poured out in your life. You just keep right on giving away all that joy that is being poured out over you. I’m so glad to be on the receiving end of it 🙂 Love you, friend!

  5. Wow baby girl, this is awesome, and so hit home. You know I never ever looked at it the way you put it—-What I receive from the Lord, I receive because who I am…..because I am his daughter. Those are the most powerful words Ashley, I never really thought about about it this way and man is that powerful. I am his daughter and he is my father. I was always taught you dont ask for yourself. It has been just within the past two years that I have learned differently. I am new at this and boy have I been reading some powerful stuff lately, and I love it. I am starting to not be able to get enough of our fathers words, if that makes sense. Love you baby girl, and thanks again for this post

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