Abundance is a wonderful word, evoking feelings of plenty and prosperity. We picture lush floral gardens, tables overflowing with delicious foods, and lavishly decorated homes overlooking stunning vistas. For much of history, humans have diligently pursued abundance because of an underlying belief that life can be improved by having “more.”
Certainly, there is a sufficiency threshold, below which life can be very difficult. If we lack needed food, clothing, shelter, medication, security, etc., we will naturally long for access to these things. When life’s necessities are scarce, a desire for abundance is rational.
At the same time, once we have as much as we need, the influx of more can actually turn into a burden. For example, some rain helps the crops to grow, but too much makes them rot. Or, a bit of snow at Christmas feels festive, but a blizzard snarls traffic and knocks out power.
Most of us can relate to the idea of “too much of a good thing,” such as…
- When you have so many friends that you can’t invest the time you would like with any individual person.
- When you are traveling and a restaurant serves you far more than you can eat, but you can’t take it home because you are staying in a hotel with no refrigeration.
- When you suddenly you have more clients than you can handle and feel like you are letting everyone down.
- When a blog post goes viral and crashes your site.
- When a suitor heaps on so much flattery it feels disingenuous.
- When we want to paint the house white, but it turns out there are 100 colors considered “white.”
- When you have more clothing than can fit in your drawers or closet, so you stash it in piles where it gets wrinkled and forgotten.
- When you finally retire but then suddenly have too much free time and experience a loss of purpose or direction.
Abundance, therefore, is a sweet spot where we have more than the bare minimum, but not so much as to be overwhelmed. Admittedly, this can be a tricky balance to strike, and at any given moment, we will probably find ourselves leaning too far in one direction or the other.
However, we can be on the lookout for indicators that our lives have gotten too crowded, such as:
- When our credit cards are maxed out.
- When a day’s schedule has to happen exactly as planned in order to work out.
- When we feel guilty about possessions we think we should deal with.
- When our space is so cluttered that we stop inviting people over.
- When we find ourselves wasting time trying to find items we know we own.
- When we have layers of items hung on a refrigerator, wall, or bulletin board.
- When the closet is packed with clothing that we hardly ever wear.
- When a room cannot be used for its intended purpose because it has become a dumping ground.
- When items we genuinely like get damaged because we haven’t been able to properly store them.
- When we have no space in which to enjoy our hobbies.
- When we are spending large amounts of money to store items offsite and we can’t remember what we are keeping there.
- When we cannot clean because our surfaces are covered with belongings.
- When family members complain about the state of the home.
- When we feel overwhelmed.
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When it comes to an abundant life, it isn’t how much we own that matters, but the ability to enjoy what we own that matters.
Is there an area of your life that could use some pruning?