LIVE more abundantly

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I have a million jobs. I’m a firefighter, student, Starbucks barista, writer, self-published author and owner of a small publishing company – and these are just the jobs that sometimes pay me.

I never planned on all these jobs, except the firefighting. That led me to the writing, then to the book, and now I have this story that I’ve dedicated my life to telling.

Last year when the books were new, I got very frustrated. I woke up every day feeling like I’d failed. I make coffee for a living, how did that happen? When’s Oprah going to have me on her show already? I had my whole life planned out, then one big decision later I found myself back in my hometown, living with mom and dad, trying to get people to read my story.

I was furious with God. I’d listened to Him. I felt led to move home to publish the book. “So,” I said daily. “Now what? I’m working my butt off to tell a story no one apparently wants to hear.” I only looked at what was not happening in my life.

Then I started thinking: What does it mean to live happily, to feel complete and fulfilled? To live abundantly? Do we wait for one “successful” event to take place to feel like we’re finally walking with God?

God and I are still having this conversation. But this morning I woke up feeling content. It was quietly raining. I could smell coffee from the kitchen. I was warm and safe . . . and abundantly happy.

Ali Warren, June 2012

Comments

  1. Kate says:

    Living abundantly has taken on new meaning for me in the past six months.  I used to think of living abundantly as living with more, but I realized that living “with more,” sometimes meant less actual “living.”

    There was more to invest, more to care for, to fix, to navigate, decide on, pay for, schedule, and manage — more meant “more” alright, but not necessarily more of what I’ve come to value as “life.”

    Mary Baker Eddy says that “Love alone is life.”  And I was finding that the more things I had to think about the less time I had for simply listening.  And listening into the deep silence for healing ideas — inspiration, intuition, creativity, beauty, peace —  has become one of the most wonderful parts of my day.

    I wanted to love someone enough to listen for what God knew about them.  This activity — which, for me, is steeped in stillness and grows more lovely with patience — is everything.

    For me, living abundantly has come to mean living with less outside, and more inside.  I need less outside so that I can spend more time inside.

    This was the case yesterday.  There were so many “things” that needed my attention.  I felt almost “guilty” for stopping — numerous times — in the middle of the day, to just be still.  These moments of stillness weren’t specific to a particular issue or need — they were simply to listen.   And I refused to be pushed and pulled into thinking I didn’t have “enough” that I couldn’t LIVE (my highest sense of Life)  abundantly.

    Time after time I claimed that, as Mary Baker Eddy assures us: “Unfathomable Mind is expressed.  The depth, breadth, height, might, majesty, and glory of infinite Love fill all space.  That is enough!”

    If I was focused on these “things” I already had all that I needed — I was living abundantly.  When I finally realized that it was 3:30 in the morning I was not at all tired.  I was so refreshed and everything I needed to “do,” was done.  I’d spent hours just listening and taking each step as it was laid out in front of me.  When I looked back at my day, I felt so rich having spent the day exactly in the way that I wanted and needed.

    Sometimes living abundantly isn’t about more — it’s about “enough.”

    • nina says:

      Tried this yesterday.  Turns out it was just a matter of listening to let the quiet feeling of “enough” silence the seemingly loud and implacable “MORE!!!”  Many thanks, Kate, for leading me to this simple exercise

  2. Alex says:

    I was at the auto shop this morning, getting a new fuel filter for my car. I was having a nice conversation with the owner of the place. We got to talking about how he came to have such steady work at his shop. (They had a lot of business!) He was telling me the story of how they came to be in the space they are in, etc., and then as he told about an offer he received to move into the spot, (which, I guess, at that time was not to desirable) he offhandedly said “and I never say no to anything”. He went on telling the story, but I tucked that away. He has made a general rule for himself to say yes. To try things out. (It also doesn’t hurt that he’s honest and a warm conversationalist) One way to invite abundance into your life is to say “yes” when things present themselves.

  3. Alex says:

    I’ve been working on some family relationships for quite some time now. Sometimes it has felt hopeless. Still, the reason it has not felt entirely hopeless is this – the principle of Christian Science. The basic assertion that good is power and evil is not. It’s the simplest thing. Good, yes. Bad, no. That simple fact, sitting in the bottom of the well of my heart is what has kept me laboring away on these relationships, or at least, not giving up hope. Because I know that good wins.

    Over the years it has been a practice of patience. At first I thought that was all that would be needed. Be patient and this will sort itself out. Not so! It has been requiring to much honesty and assertiveness, faith that God (not me!) is taking care of everyone, and that the Truth (not the status quo!) is what brings happiness, health, and relief.

    A few years ago I started to see real progress happening in our relationships. I mean, stuff that I couldn’t believe. Then those pieces of progress grew and grew more. More unbelievable stuff! The simple fact: Good wins.

    The central lesson to me at this point is that we don’t know what redemption looks like before it happens. But we do know that it can happen. But in order to see redemption we have to bring the Truth to the lie. We have to have the courage to see through all the stupidness. And my goodness, we have to have patience and an unwillingness to indulge frustration.

    But nothing gives us joy like seeing growth. Seeing that inside the person who has been so frustrating is a real person who is only childlike goodness. I thank God I am seeing that more and more. And it’s real. It’s not just putting up with someone you don’t like. It’s real growth. Streams in the desert.

    • shelly says:

      Love your honesty!!   This quote by Mary Baker Eddy has been a great inspiration to me today.  And for some reason your post reminded me of it.

       

      [Against the fatal beliefs that error is as real as Truth,
      that evil is equal in power to good if not superior, and that
      faith indiscord is as normal as harmony, even the hope
      of freedom from the bondage of sickness and
      sin has little inspiration to nerveendeavor.When we
      come to have more faith in the truth of being than we have
      in error, more faith in Spirit than in matter, more faith
      in living than in dying, more faith in God than in man,
      then no material suppositions can prevent us from healing

      I looked up the word “nerve”.  It is so amazing that she uses it as a verb.  And it means to give courage for force to.   It dawned on me that she lived this quote.  That she had to pick herself up more times than we can imagine.  And she learned that is she cherished in any way that error, or evil, or discord could have ultimate power, than “even the hope of freedom from the bodage of sickness and sin has little inspiration….”   it dawned on me today that why have faith in getting better or even living for that matter if in the END, evil wins.   WOW.   That quiet, nasty suggestion.   That fatal  ie included in the word “Fatalism”.   undermines all hope.  Yet!!!!  the antidote she gives.     And what inspired me today is that it is trust in the existence of something more beautiful than we can imagine.  Trust in something that can never ever be touched by error, evil, death.   Trust that God is all that we know him/her to be.  :)     This quote just inspired me to live way more abundantly today.  Live with abundant Good.

       

  4. Kate says:

    one of the ways that I’ve been exploring this Radical Act is in consideration of Mary Baker Eddy’s statement “Love alone is Life.”  I’ve been allowing myself to love, not must abundantly, but MORE abundantly.  To not let myself become complacent about what I think I am already doing to love (and live) abundantly. This was most clear to me one morning when I had been up all night “with” a friend and felt I needed to rest.  This was a model of loving that I had become comfortable with — stay up all night (with a friend in need) get some rest the next day.  But this particular morning (after my friend no longer needed my help) another opportunity (not a need) presented itself for consideration.  I thought about the difference between “Love alone is Life”  and “I lived/loved abundantly last night and now I need to rest.”    I asked myself which would be living MORE abundantly — and had a wonderful day.   I discovered that I could expand my sense of abundance not just go beyond a false sense of limited living.

  5. Julio says:

    After multiple failures over many years a no-profit organization founded by Christian Scientists witnessed the realization of a dream: A sheltered-care nursing facility opened up to serve its spiritual healing community.

    This sheltered-care, Christian Science, nursing facility leased a building within a larger non-religious, high-end, retirement community that occupied several buildings newly built for its purposes.  This was quite unique, and it afforded the Christian Science facility to radiate Christ’s healing power, grace and beauty within a larger, secular community.   The management and residents of the larger community commented often how much they valued our spiritual, healing presence among them.

    I was one of two individuals who spent a year negotiating with the executives of the retirement community to bring our dream to fruition.  We countered the multiple hindrances and setbacks during that year with thorough reliance on the intelligent guidance of superlative Mind-God.

    It is Love-Mind which advances our lives and noble goals.

    Our Christ-like living coruscates with the might, valor, creative brilliance and resources of Soul.

    Let us value the fact that our well-intended goals and efforts represent more than a denominational religious view, but the universal Christ in action.  The triumphant and forward thrust of Love-Truth will carry us to the finish line.

    We belong to Mind’s all-inclusive army of spiritual healers.

    • Shelly says:

      What a courageous move and trust in God’s perfect supply for everyone!!   That we may all follow this example.

  6. Megan says:

    This is such a great post! Since graduating college in 2010, I’ve struggled with similar issues. I’ve held several jobs at once—few of which have actually related to my ultimate career goals—and I’ve had to live back at home with my parents. Though I constantly turned to God for direction, I felt a lack of success and sense of fulfillment. I found myself waking up every morning feeling like a failure. Naturally, this not only affected myself but others around me, too. So, how did I turn that around?

    I thought of Mary Baker Eddy’s hymn “Satisfied,” which begins, “It matters not what be thy lot, So Love doth guide;” I also stumbled upon a pin on pinterest that said, “No one is in charge of your happiness except for you.” What this told me was that I had to choose to see and express the good each moment of every day. So, I started showing more compassion to my family members, stopped stressing about my own outline, and focused on giving my all to each moment. Since this attitude makeover, I feel a wealth of success—fullness of joy and satisfaction in loving the people and experiences at hand. My employment and living situation hasn’t changed, but I’ve found that true success is measured by how I reflect Love in my daily experience. Seeing how I can help others and improve someone else’s day gives me more purpose and wealth than any job could ever do. What’s more, with this changed perspective more career prospects have come my way. Reflecting Love never means to give up your dreams, but it means to be patient, aware, and grateful for all that you have right now!

    • Tricia C says:

      Megan, I know lots of people in your situation but not with your spiritually shifted view.  I hope you’ll share with others the open secret to success and happiness….you already have it all!  Shine on!

  7. nina says:

    Last month a friend came over to walk the beach at sunset.  It was a hot, humid Carolina night.  After dark she said, “Come on, let’s swim,” and tore into the water.

    But I’m no fool.  I know that night = sharks, not to mention gators, and I’m having none of that.  Still, she’s a bin-yah – “been here forever” in the local lingo.  This seriously outranks my come-yah status, so I follow her meekly into the bathtub-warm water.  But only up to my knees.

    She dives in.  Swims out, then back, and stands up in the shallows.  Whoa!  There’s no moon, but for a second it looks like she’s wearing a glittering sequin dress.

    She crouches down neck deep and waves her hands in the water, generating faint streaks of light.  I wade out a little farther and imitate her, then start clenching and unclenching my fists underwater.  If you want to see what we saw, look here at 1:45.

    It’s bioluminescence.  Minute plankton emitting sparks of light, like swarms of underwater fireflies.  Half a century in South Carolina, and she’s never seen it here.  I’ve never seen it at all.  We’re thrilled – so thrilled that we call each other up and talk about it for days.

    I go out again on subsequent nights and wave my hands in the dark water, but see nothing.  Bioluminescence, I’m told, is a sometime fleeting thing.  But I’ve lived on this beach for years.  How many nights has there been pure magic out there . . . not stirred into being?

    So much beauty is never revealed to the eyes of fear.  Bless my friend for her brave, brave heart.  And for helping me live more abundantly!

    • Tricia C says:

      Ahhhh Nina,  sharks, gators, snakes, turtles, bioluminescence, the ocean itself.  You are truly blessed indeed.  And I’m blessed with a new term for immortality – “bin yah”.  Thanks for that :)

  8. Rachel says:

    I love this radical acts. I recently had an opportunity to work with this idea during a transitional phase of my dance training. I put lots of prayerful work into my decision of where I could best bless and had finally decided to change studios and begin attending a studio in New York. Initially, I was preparing myself to have to live in a closet sized space while I attended the school, but all the while keeping my eye on God and knowing that all my needs would be met. Me and my mother worked closely with the school to sort through some of the homestay options they had provided as well as an apartment with some other dancers located in New Jersey. There were multiple issues with almost every option they provided, but I knew I was willing to live wherever I needed to as my provision was completely from God and could not be anything less than a perfect blessing. The confusion continued for a while, and finally decided to ask for help on the Christian Science Facebook page. Numerous people responded with such warm, loving ideas and declarations of God’s provision, I became very clear that wherever my right place was, all of the material necessities be taken care of in entirety. “Divine always has met and always will meet every human need.” The next day I received a call from the school and learned that they had a beautiful, spacious apartment that I would be able to stay in during my time at the school. I am so grateful for the healing not only of knowing my right place and of God’s provision, but in knowing that this provision is a hundred times more wonderful than we could imagine. I now have a new understanding of living more abundantly, and trusting this abundance comes from God.

  9. Amy Brice says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience, Nina! How gorgeous! It’s resting on my thought, still. You have a way of expressing yourself with words that is very profound. What a wonderful testimony of Life and Love.

    • nina says:

      Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. said: “A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged; it is the skin of a living thought.” Here we all share “living thoughts.”  Which means, to live even more abundantly. To God the glory!

  10. nina says:

    Last Sunday I participated in an amazing memorial gathering.  Talk about Life abundant!

    The person who passed was a dear friend, my yoga teacher for 15 years or more.  She always taught beneath a sign that said:  “Reverence is the nature of my love.”  And reverence is exactly what she felt for each student.  She bowed to our “borrowed light.” She showed us our sacred nature.  She taught me how and why to love myself – my real child-of-God self – and she did the same for many, many others.

    So when our teacher ended up in intensive care on the darkest day of the year, more than a dozen students met in tense clusters under the bleak hospital lights.  For years we’d been connected, but always through her.  Now we searched each other’s eyes and began to find . . . unexpected treasures.

    She passed under our loving watch.  We planned the memorial together.  One day, in a flurry of emails about food and décor, I started to hear a faint new heartbeat.  It was barely perceptible, and fragile yet.  But it felt like a new community preparing to be born.

    Then Sunday, on our teacher’s birthday, 150 people gathered at the edge of a vast salt river that dazzled in the afternoon sun.  On the beach we formed a V like flying birds and did a “moving prayer” – a slow, yogic dance choreographed by our departed friend.

    As if summoned by our single, primitive drum, several dolphins appeared near shore and began to mirror the humans in their own joyful dance.  Through an hour of solemn ceremony, the dolphins leapt and dove and gaily gyrated their tails – none too patient with our mourning.

    My heart was with the dolphins.  It was our friend’s birthday, yes. But also the birth of this new community, born in the light of the Love she so brilliantly expressed.  I said so to the gathered group, then read this benediction: http://hirak.blogspot.com/2011/04/ee-cummings-thank-you-god-for-most-this.html

    More than a dozen people rushed up afterwards to say:  “YES!” and “I feel healed!”  We all laughed and gorged and spent hours more enjoying beach, bonfire, music . . . and one another.

    Honestly, I’ve never experienced such a perfect conspiracy of the “divine ‘Us.’”  Women and men.  Dance and poetry.  Sun and sea and sky.  The dolphins asking that we remember our joy.  And we accepted that invitation – together, as a community.

    • Kristin says:

      Oh Nina! What a beautiful sharing. Thank you! And I love that e.e. cummings poem. My dog was just tugging at the leash and scratching the door wanting to walk this morning when I read what you wrote, and we went out and so enjoyed the spritely live green trees and the true blue sky together. “One marvels that a friend can EVER seem less than beautiful.” writes Mary Baker Eddy. This thought really came alive for me at a memorial service. I could feel my friend’s beauty alive in my heart. And I can feel your beauty too.

      • nina says:

        There’s another piece to this story.  I’ve prayed on that same beach, often in that same dazzle of sun-on-water, more than a thousand times.  The harmony we experienced that day was so . . . extreme . . . it felt as if all those people had stepped into my prayer.

        Words fail me here, but it was something like watching the cosmic balance tip for everyone present, with harmony asserting itself as the only reality.  It wasn’t just the dolphins.  It was perfect weather despite a bad forecast; perfect arrangements despite misunderstandings; and the perfect poem gifted to me by a friend who didn’t even know my need.

        It felt like a “tipping point” in my Scientific understanding!

  11. HB says:

    I’m excited to live this one today.  I could use more abundance in my life.

  12. Tessa says:

    I’m on a road trip with my best friend – my husband – right now, and yesterday we took the scenic route.  300 miles on the Natchez Trace Parkway through Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi, and all along the way I marveled at the late-Fall trees, rich and rust-colored, that lined the Trace and the gentleness of the journey.  It gave me time to think over our first year of marriage and how it has been the epitome of abundant living, even during times when the voices around us were whispering that life was anything but…

    Abundance is fullness and plenty, and something in the word always makes me think of having a such an overflow of blessing that you just can’t help yourself from sharing it.  When Jay and I married last September, we felt that way – that “our cup”, our lives, were so full that we couldn’t wait to share it and the life-lessons we have been learning with the world.  Holding that thought in your heart is a powerful way to live.  Opportunities have opened up this year for us to do all kinds of amazing and stretching things – record our first CD, perform at the Annual Meeting of the Christian Science Church, work together on a 2012 Presidential Campaign, and so many other big and small adventures that I could go on forever. The basis of this abundant year has been Christ Jesus’ gift of guidance that life be lived abundantly – all blessings shared in the knowledge that Life, God, is All-in-all – that life, good, IS abundant for all of us.

    But what has been most noteworthy in all of this is that living Life (another way to say it would be “reflecting God as the image and likeness of Life”) abundantly – without reservation or fear or selfish interest/worry – has meant that that abundant feeling didn’t crash or drain away even when my wonderful Dad passed away suddenly 6 months after our wedding.

    Jay and I, and our family, learned deep lessons during that time – and since.  We learned that it was the very abundance of life – absolutely abundant love and care expressed by our whole community – that lifted us from darkness to light, death to life, against all odds.

    Have you ever wondered how to respond when something terrible happens to a friend or a neighbor – or, heck, to a total stranger? One of the most prized lessons I learned from this experience is that you respond with abundant love.  You bake them dinner, you come and help them serve all of the family and friends who arrive in town, you pour your love into a card and then include a laminated poem like “Death is Nothing At All” in it so the family can carry it around and lean on it like a staff, you sweep their walk, you just silently hug them and then go buy them groceries,  you love, you love, you love in any and every way you can think of.  The abundance of care and grace and kindness that flooded our home after my Dad passed was a resounding confirmation that Life is abundant and that death is less than nothing.   In the abundance of eternity, Dad continues living abundantly, and so do we.

    We had a huge celebration of life for Dad (I call him “Papa).  I worked on the program and with the help of my husband, his mom, and many other family and community members, we greeted that day in this beautiful hall and waited for Dad’s friends and family to arrive.  There were 250 seats.  We stood at the doors, ready to hug everyone that came in. And they came.  They just kept coming, and coming, and coming until there was standing room only, 3 people deep along the walls.  We were in awe to see the results of Dad’s abundant living of compassion, of care, of gentleness, and of humor roll in on waves upon waves of friends, family, and acquaintances who came to celebrate life with us.  There must have been 500+ people gathered in that hall by the time we started. There was such joy in that room that people marveled at how full they felt after the New Orleans jazz band marched us all out at the end.  It was beautiful.  It taught me that the real power in life is not held by those who are aggressive or driven by material interest, but by those who live life abundantly – who live kindness, openness, and gentleness with such a bountiful sense that no one is ever left out. That is my Dad, and though, as one card we received read, “his life is different now”, we know that he continues to reflect God in all of those wonderful ways that he always has.  His abundant life continue to inspire us daily.  Our cup continues to run over with goodness.

    It’s a funny thing to read this Radical Act and to have my first thoughts be of our year of marriage and my Dad’s passing, but both have taught me so much about what it really means to live life.  Living abundantly is the only way to really live.  Each of us can do it, I promise. In fact, I’m certain that it is how we’re meant to live – thinking of others even when you’re worried about yourself, continuing to listen attentively even after your phone beeps cause it received a text, welcoming a traveler (like me and Jay!) into your home on a moment’s notice, committing time to civic engagement and the progress of your country, praying for others when your heart sees their need, and dropping everything you’re doing to love another person when their world suddenly turns.  If you live this way, listening for God’s guiding in each step, oh, what a Life you have ahead of you to live.

    • John says:

      Thank you so much for sharing this story, Tessa!  I’m so moved both by the substance and inspiration of what you wrote, and that you’ve taken time away from your trip to share with all for us here.  This is a Radical Act that has greatly attracted me as well, but it’s been tough to know how to verbalize the insights and Radical-ness I’m exploring and realizing.  Your post helps me see more clearly the simple naturalness and grace of living abundantly.

      Thank you so much for being here!

  13. Mimi says:

    I used to get financial aid for school. I panicked when I was turned down last year, but since the responsibility has been on me, I’ve had more resources than when I was counting on others to supply them. Now I’m counting on God. I’ve been able to give to others this year too more than before.

    • nina says:

      Isn’t giving to others always the thing that snaps us into knowing how much we’ve got?

      Years ago I was playing a fun spiritual board game with a bunch of friends. I was in between jobs and feeling soooooo poor, but the card I pulled said, “What are you rich in?” All my friends looked at me expectantly.

      “Food,” I said, because I’d just served them a magnificent feast. “Beach” I said, because they’d all traveled a distance to enjoy where I live. “Dogs,” I said, and they smiled, because I have two big, beautiful retrievers who wouldn’t fit into their busy lives. “Free time?” I ventured, and by now they were jealous, because they’d been living nose-to-grindstone forever.

      I didn’t mention, because I didn’t want to rub it in, what it’s like to half-waken at night and hear the water lapping; or feel its salty breath always blowing through the house; or see the water glitter in every kind of light; or feel continuously rocked by the tides; or have so much time to get to know God.

      What are YOU rich in, today?

      • Amy says:

        I’m rich in friends who are like family. I’m rich in all the unique wonderful special things surrounding me in France, a country I am visiting and adore. I’m rich in the satisfaction of just having had a delicious chocolat and menthe crepe. And I’m rich in free time that I normally don’t have and I’m using the mental space to think about God.

        • deloris says:

          I’m rich in:
          Grandchildren, Soul, Taro, and little Otis, born in August.
          And two wonderful sons and their wives.
          Health, I’m doing great.
          Friends — wonderful, wonderful friends.
          Work — it doesn’t always come steadily, but it’s work I love doing.
          And, of course, the love of God. That’s infinite!

      • John says:

        I LOVE this!  I am always a big fan of gratitude, but this subtle yet in-your-face demand, “What are you rich in?” can’t help but inspire a deeper look at what we have.

        Today, I’m feeling very rich in family.  I was impelled awake earlier than usual this morning, and felt like spending that time in just deep and joyful prayer – listening to God.  The morning flowed so naturally from there, to rising and feeding the furry family members – all very smooth this morning! – and then some lovely morning conversation with my wife before my brother surprised me with a Facebook chat telling me he was available to hang out!  He is in Afghanistan right now and we haven’t gotten to Skype in months.  Our conversation was so wonderful (and more from that will come later!) and I was just so grateful to get to know and be in such a warm and inclusive family.

        The best thing is, if you know what you’ve got, then you can give it!  Now I get to spend today considering and loving how I can give this sense of abundant family!

        • dpz says:

          My 4 year old daughter and I are rich in…….butterflies.

          Last Sunday we went to the beach, to a quiet  cove we love.  She bobbed in her lime green inner tube, begging me to spin her round and round.  I obliged while she shrieked and giggled.  Then we looked up and found the sky filled with Monarch butterflies,  dozens of them.   Unusual, because the spray the government uses here to control mosquitoes leaves Monarchs dead in the grass.

          Butterflies are the universal symbol of transformation.  Each goes to sleep a lowly worm and wakes up a winged beauty.  And Monarchs — true royalty.

          Blue cove, blue sky, my daughter in her happy orbit, tawny wings everywhere like confetti.  In that moment we were truly rich — graced by Kings and Queens of possibility.

      • Kristin says:

        This message means a lot to me. I have been thinking about it for a few weeks.

        I was listening to my iPod when I read it. Some teen age friends of mine loaded it with songs. Somehow it got on the mode where their songs were all mixed up with my old favorites. It was kind of surprising, but soon my toe was tapping. My arms were lifting in a woot woot wave. I was up and dancing.

        I realized that I have rhythm!

        And rhythm is beautiful and powerful and all around and ever continuous. And even if I am between life phases I am safe.

        A friend pointed me to Psalm 8 where the writer says “I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous, your handmade sky-jewelry, Moon and stars mounted in their settings. Then I look at my micro-self and wonder, Why do you bother with us? Why take a second look our way?”  The Msg.

        Isn’t it because we are all “an active portion of one stupendous whole”? MBE My. 165:16

        As I was dancing I felt part of the harmony of the moon and stars and of your “glittering” tides and everything and everyone.

        Autumn is here… another season. I am cozy in its warm colors and warm cider and warm fires. And rich in rhythm.

    • Rachel says:

      Mimi that’s wonderful!! I love the idea that good can unfold in ways so much better than we could ever imagine once we rely on God for our needs. There is never a moment we can be living in anything other than God’s abundance.

  14. Amy says:

    One of the RAs that I’ve embraced since June has been MULTIPLY loaves and fishes. And I noticed today how — no surprise — this has led to me living more abundantly. When traveling, my accommodations exceeded expectations, guests in my home have taken care of ME, free cat sitters have shown up for exact days I’ve needed them and not for any longer. And this morning right after I tossed my deodorant in the garbage and thought it was too bad that I had to buy another because I have so much at home, my host said, “Not because you stink or anything, but I bought this new deodorant and they gave me a free one so here you go.” And I especially love how her giving didn’t take away from her supply.

  15. Kate says:

    I am really happy I checked in on RAs tonight…it’s like wandering down the beach and coming upon the disciples, around a bonfire, still lingering over the morning meal long after sunset. Sharing stories, encouraging one another, washing feet…and, I think they would have been laughing a bit at how silly it was to think that one (or the other) ever could have been a favorite, chosen to sit on the right (or left) hand of the master for any other reason than to serve the others…or wash feet.

    That’s what I feel when I come here…the camaraderie of disciples. The dissolution of the ego on the shores of Galillean Sean, the surrender of ambition for the company of fellowship in Christ.

    For me, this is “to live abundantly” to have a place where I can go…any time I wish…and find family, feel a sense of belonging, be reminded of a greater purpose, to stumble into a sacred space of understanding and compassion…a place to serve.

    thank you…each of you…for fanning the fire…and letting me warm my heart in your company…

  16. Radical Acts Rocks!

    I feel like I come to the party late in adding to all these wonderful comments and acts made over the summer as the leaves outside my window are starting to turn, but I wanted to show up…I mean who wouldn’t want to be in this company :-)

    Living more abundantly, for me, has been radically acted upon by defining what is living. In my teen years I became serious about my religion or path of spirituality. But, in more ways than I would like to admit, it was something I used to make my life work more harmoniously…abundant of what I thought was good. Going deeper into the study and practice of the Bible and following Christ, and reading and meeting people who had fully said “yes” to God opened me to a different view. And then God began a change in me.

    The whole reason I became spiritually engaged was not to be the reason I remained so.

    The work of Spirit, with many haltings and failings on my part, was to have me not only understand that God was in charge of my life…but what the implications of that were. Sometimes the landmarks I was chasing became ones I had to let go of. I still have tried to “use” my religion. I don’t like to confess that but it is what it is…I wanted to work things out, at my pace, to my design, expending as little of my heart and control as I need to. There were parts of my life in which I didn’t necessarily want God to be involved. I rationalized this pattern by doing comparisons with others who I thought were not as spiritually active or sacrificing as was I, and that was like an enabling drug to the reign of my self-will and ego.

    Indeed this piety all too often involved a pattern of judgment (of myself first, but it never stopped there). There were lots of opinions to entertain as to what I or others should do. The animated practice of viewing others (and myself) with opinion was very time and energy consuming, and sometimes that level of activity was a substitute (I now see) for genuine spiritual activity.

    So in recent years the concept of grace has granted a greater sense of abundant living to me. Grace is defined by Strong’s Bible Concordance as the influence of the divine, felt in the heart, reflected in the life. For me this has involved a passionate love for following Christ…as I am — in any given moment — able to see and fulfill that call. The Christ example inspired Ghandi, was admired by Mohammed, and is honored by Jews. It is not a religion about Jesus…but a searching after the religion “of” Jesus, how he saw God, life, the value and wonder of each person, the purpose of bringing those on the edge back into relationships and community, and how the kingdom of which he preached might be seen as here on earth as it is in heaven.

    One illustration comes to mind…and I will wind this up. For me it was a radical act. Some individuals in a position of authority had rendered a judgment on someone for whom I cared deeply. It was costly. Life did not feel abundant. Then I heard the individuals making the judgment were catching a lot of criticism for doing so. One side of me suggested “well good, that is what they deserve.” In more enlightened moments I thought of it as what might be necessary to change the judgment. Then my superior and theirs asked if I might reach out to them. Wow…that wasn’t the way I thought it was going to go.

    So in reflecting and listening I remembered the Jesus-patterned response. So I wrote a letter to those individuals in which I expressed my sincere appreciation for their willingness to serve in positions that received such criticism, took long hours, and were so demanding. I enclosed the letter in a basket of baked goods for their next meeting.

    The decision of their judgment never changed, but my decision to do that changed me. A gospel hymn has a refrain that speaks of sinking, as in an ocean, and feeling that “love lifted me.” My burden, my life, was changed by Grace felt in the heart and acted upon in that moment of my life when my life and good did not feel abundant. That experience has become a touchstone for me throughout my life since…and has helped me in moments of timidity to feel more bold. To remember that the support I have for genuine good, real abundance, in my life is only as strong as the control (the resentment, judgment, despair, anger, pride, and personal influence) I am ready to release.

    Blessings to all you Radical Actors and Readers!!

    • Tricia Chantha says:

      Releasing and letting Grace take the lead in your life! What a great illustration you’ve given for a key to living more abundantly. Gotta love those touchstones! Thanks Dick!

    • itsaboutgood says:

      Brother Dick!
      I’m so glad you came to the party – you’re just who I wanted to meet!

      I have a wristband I got from a huge ecumenical event called United Night of Worship here in Boston that says “Love lifted me” with the website http://www.unitednightofworship.com.

      Love really lifts us – infinitely! It keeps lifting us! Just when we think we’ve got “Christ’s Christianity” we are asked to go even higher! Always! Infinitely higher!

      I am learning much about this, too and am beginning to realize that Church, true church, is the key to this journey. We must have a community. And that community has to be about living abundantly, having fun, and saving the world!

      Again, so glad you came to the party. We love and value that you’re in the room with us, brother.

      :)

    • nina says:

      I love this Radical Act. Because it involved food. :) Because it rocked your world without a material outcome. And because it taught me a new spiritual equation. A=C….the feeling of abundance roughly equals the amount of crud released.

      WELCOME Dick . . . there’s no such thing as late to this party!!!

  17. Amy says:

    I’d ordered some clothes for my daughter from a store we recently discovered–and love. They came, but in duplicate. My first reaction was a groan…now I had to send one set back to get my money back. One more chore on my eternal list. :(

    Then I looked closely at the packing lists. They were the same. I checked my account. I’d only been billed once.

    I’m not proud of it, but I felt like I hit the jack pot. I felt like my life was a little more abundant than it had been before I got the packages. Maybe this was payback for the times I’d been overcharged at a store and didn’t realize it until too late. Or maybe even for the times when I lost something…or things had been stolen.

    The euphoria was quickly replaced by nagging doubts. And then I woke up in the middle of the night knowing I couldn’t keep the stuff. At first I was sorry I was so honest. ha ha. But then my life started to feel fuller. Seriously. Honesty and integrity make my life richer, not extra stuff. Especially DUPLICATE stuff!!!

    It felt great to wake up from that temptation to focus on accumulating belongings and instead to align myself with Truth.

    My life is ever so much richer.

    • Tricia Chantha says:

      Amy – love your confession :) and your recognition that honesty and integrity make your life richer. It makes me think of an experience I had recently –

      My husband and I went on a rare beach bike ride late one afternoon. After a strenuous ride, we had just settled down to a pre-sunset picnic when I noticed what looked like an injured pelican nearby. It was in an odd spot, against a wall at the end of the bike path where many people were exiting the beach within inches of the bird. I’m a wildlife lover and it made me sad both to see the bird in such an unnatural environment and the people just going by with hardly a second glance. I mean, these are big birds! As I took a first hungry bite of my sandwich, I knew I wasn’t going to enjoy it because of the pelican predicament. I turned away from the bird and got quiet to pray and then noticed waaaaaay off in the distance a life guard stand with a life guard who appeared to be packing up for the day. I jumped up and started to slog jog my way across the sand towards him. Panting when I got there, I explained about the bird and he didn’t want to deal with it but said he’d get me the number for LA Animal Care. But then he noticed a police beach cruiser driving waaaaaaay off in the distance and said they’d get a better response from Animal Care than he or I would. So I slog jogged again through the sand towards the moving vehicle, waving my arms until they slowed down and I arrived panting to their SUV while they smirked at me. I told them about the bird and showed them waaaaay off in the distance where it was and they agreed to call for it to be rescued and started to drive towards the bird, leaving me to walk the miles (seemed like it anyway) back to my picnic blanket by the bird.

      I was pleased to hang out with the cops while they waited for the rescue crew until it got so dark we had to bike back to our car. I felt a simple, grateful sense that all things had worked together for good and I’d been willing to do my part (and get an additional workout!). All I had to do from here was pray. And I was happy.

      And now, speaking to your insight as to what makes your life feel fuller– as we drove along the Pacific Coast highway in Malibu, with a peaceful easy feeling (as the song goes) I looked out my window to see a convertible Maserati pull up alongside. I heard a voice, as it were, ask “what would make your life more happy, helping a bird or owning that Maserati?” and it took no thought at all – definitely helping the pelican.

  18. Kate says:

    I’ve loved reading these posts as the summer has unfolded…

    In early June, our daughters and I left the Midwest with four laundry baskets and a few canvas bags of sundry shoes, books, etc. for a summer of adventure…trips, camp, tournaments, visits, etc.

    It was one of the most abundantly beautiful, satisfying, healing, adventure-rich, tremendous summers…EVER. We each did everything we’d never even had the imagination to dream we’d get to do this summer.

    We lived simply and expansively…and when we returned earlier this week, I discovered that we could have done it with less than half of what we’d originally taken. Our needs were so simple…more simple than I could have guessed…and I am a pretty simple person.

    And EVERY need was met in a surprising way. Our need to give, to be generous, to serve…was greater than our need for food, shelter, clothing…stuff. And yet, when we put our real needs in front of the “lesser needs” the “take no thought” needs…everything was provided for. “Trust[ing] Truth and have[ing] no other trusts.” (as Mary Baker Eddy encourages) is, I believe, the key.

    I am so grateful for these Radical Acts and the demand the have put on me to trust God more radically every day.

    with Love, k

  19. Ali says:

    This has been one of my favorite threads. I wanted to share a beautiful story that is a perfect conclusion to my original post. All of this has happened in the last few days.

    I was invited to go to Charlotte, NC to meet with an organization call Fire 20/20. This group is based out of Seattle and works toward creating a completely inclusive and diverse fire service by the year 2020. This group found me through my story and were adamant about me coming to share my experiences and thoughts. It was the marvelous opposite of my first few years in the fire service, where I was not allowed to have a voice. I was deeply loved among these beautiful lights, who have all fought their own battles because being different in this job of ours is not accepted. My opinion were valued with them, my experiences treasured and I have never felt so incredibly loved! It wasn’t just coming from these unexpected angels, but from a much higher source.

    So now, instead of trying to change the culture one fire house at a time, I get to do as a part of a giant group. And in this group, I am not the only one who has ever been kicked out of a fire house for being different. What always made me different now makes me the same. After knowing these people for less than 24 hours, they decided that they were going to pitch in to make a monetary donation to my publishing company to allow me to take the biggest step forward of all. It took me a while to wrap my head around it and accept it, but God was telling me so strongly. That afternoon I walked around dumbfounded. I sat through board meetings in shock. I had never felt that kind of love before. I had never felt so accepted, so appreciated, so supported, so free. It wasn’t even the result of their action that got me. I was just so truly thankful for Love; for the abundance of it.

    That afternoon I got a highly anticipated email that will most likely result in a national day time talk show interview and will be Where Hope Lives’s introduction to the world. The phone call came as a direct result of their offer to help radically expand the way I was telling this story. I was so moved by their love for me.

    I feel like I’m walking around on a cloud, or like there are wings on my feet. My closest friends all noted that I seem very different after returning from Charlotte. I feel it too. It’s as if EVERYTHING has aligned. I truly TRULY felt the abundance and freely given Love of God and I have never been more thankful.

    All is truly abundant.

    • nina says:

      Ali I’m so excited for you! How funny that your blog at the top of this page says: “When’s Oprah going to have me on her show already?”

      It’s no surprise that this happened when you committed to LIVE more abundantly. It seems like each of the 18 Radical Acts is a doorway into a more highly developed state of consciousness. We can’t undertake any of these acts AND keep carrying our old mental baggage. It doesn’t fit through the opening.

      Much love, and please keep posting as this abundance unfolds…..

  20. Debby says:

    We so often think that something that’s radical also has to be, well, big. And, sure, big things can be radical. But so can small things. Everyday things. After all, most of us spend more time in the grocery store than we do combating international criminals!

    So can we really be radical about seeking the kingdom of heaven in a grocery store. Well, yes. I have a friend who’s really good at it.

    For example, just the other week she was looking for steak or a beef roast for a meal she was planning. Well $16 a pound for steak was a little much. Then, because she’s always listening to God, she heard this little voice, “Look over there.”

    “Over there” was the section where the significantly-more-expensive cuts of Angus beef were displayed, so at first she thought, “Not there, that’s where the expensive stuff is.” But the nudge to look came again, and this time she went and looked. I’ll bet you’re not surprised that she found a lovely Angus-beef roast—just the right size—with a $2.00-off coupon attached to it.

    My friend makes a habit of listening for God’s direction in everything she does, right down to which stores she visits and in what order. This does more than get her good bargains on beef roasts or zucchinis, it keeps her in practice for the big things.

    If we’re really trying to follow God, to seek the kingdom of heaven, in even the tiniest aspect of our lives, when something big comes along, all the practice we’ve already done will ensure that the big things won’t seem so big, because by then following God’s direction will be so natural that it won’t occur to us to do anything else.

    Now that’s radical!

    Debby

    • Michelle says:

      So true, we often set up radical acts to be a big thing! Same with prayers, I think. Or healing. They tend to get ranked as big or small – ones that really count and others that don’t. I used to trip over the words “small beginnings” in this passage from Science and Health for the same reason. Who wants a small healing when praying about a big need? But I had it wrong, I think.

      Here is the passage. “If man seems to incur the penalty through matter, this is but a belief of mortal mind, not an enactment of wisdom, and man has only to enter his protest against this belief in order to annul it. Through this action of thought and its results upon the body, the student will prove to himself, by small beginnings, the grand verities of Christian Science.”

      I came across that statement after reading Fruitage and all the healings people had – of big deal things – by simply reading Science and Health. I couldn’t see that those people had to start with little healings before building up to big ticket ones. Then I thought, Wait a minute – maybe small beginnings doesn’t refer to the results, but to even the first efforts at prayer. Maybe even a small beginning at protesting the belief of material penalties for doing good allows us to prove to ourselves the grand verities of Christian Science.

      That seemed to make more sense in light of the accounts in Fruitage. There is no prayer, or effort, too small to demonstrate the grand verities of Christian Science. I figure if I give more consent to what my prayer can do, my eyes will be more open to the abundant fruits in healing.

      • Amy says:

        I heard a Christian Science lecture once years and years ago and the speaker said that’s all that’s required is for us to do better, to think better. Not WAY better, but that a small shift in thought that’s progressive can result in big healings. I’ve always remembered that. And it’s proven to be true in my life.

  21. Bev says:

    I just read your story, Nina, and left you a note! Loved it! Thank you so very much! XOXO!!

  22. nina says:

    Here’s a “live more abundantly” story I hope you’ll all enjoy: http://time4thinkers.com/duet/

  23. itsaboutgood says:

    Hey All,
    What a great conversation – and no better place to have it!

    It really is all about the individual journey. We all can agree on that. I had plenty of travel, struggle, rejoicing, and revelation to bring me where I am now and LOTS more to go.

    Bev, I’d love to know more specifically what makes the step programs so effective and how they demonstrate fellowship for you. What are you getting through them that you can’t get anywhere else?

    I admit, I have only attended one meeting like that, and it was only for a little while. But I know they do great good and serve as important communities and bridges for people during times of transition. It seems like the Love expressed through those events helps to quiet the fear and anxiety during times of human anguish and spiritual development. That seems to be the aspiration of churches and other places of worship, also.

    Isn’t Christ calling us together in a unified body rather than a bunch of labels? And isn’t each individual going to best be true to that calling if they listen for themselves to what God is saying to them whether if it’s at a twelve-step meeting, a Wednesday night testimony meeting, or a praise and worship service in a high school gym? The real core of fellowship is about our individual relationship with God seen through one another rather than our individual relationship with one another in order to get to God.

    I’ll give a small example here. When I did prison ministry work some of the chaplains I would go with would say different names when announcing services. Some were very adamant on saying “Christian Science Church Service” and would not budge on that point. Others would say “Christian Bible Study” and then others would just listen to the Holy Spirit to guide them, and sometimes the prison deputies would call out very different things then what they said! But once the service started something happened that quieted all the labeling, all the pride and fear, and brought all those in attendance together in Christ. The desire to share this activity with others regardless of labels trumped all other circumstances. It allowed for a diversity of expression from the same Spirit. And I think we’re ALL talking about the importance of this very point!

    I’ve always loved this statement from No and Yes,

    “The two largest words in the vocabulary of thought are ‘Christian’ and ‘Science.’ The former is the highest style of man; the latter reveals and interprets God and man; it aggregates, amplifies, unfolds, and expresses the ALL-GOD” (No and Yes, 10).

    Now isn’t the “highest style of man” something that is worth standing for – regardless of the material mudslinging that the name faces? We can cherish this “highest style of man” spiritually, not through a crucifix around our neck or a book we wave around at others, but in genuine practice of the Science of Mind-healing.

    “All true Christian Scientists are vindicating, fearlessly and honestly, the Principle of this grand verity of Mind-healing” (No and Yes, 5).

    Are we vindicating, fearlessly, and honestly, the Principle of this grand verity of Mind-healing the best we can?

    I certainly must take pause and pray for more strength, more humility, and more courage to witness the work of this Mind-healing brighter and more clearly in my own life.

    Can we all pray for one another to see this work more gloriously revealed to us? And isn’t that TRULY living more abundantly?

    Blessings and love to all true seekers of the Light,
    :D

  24. Bev says:

    Thanks, Nina! I’m so grateful I just spoke from my Heart! And thanks for steering me to that film review. I just watched it and found it very thought-provoking! Yes, Jesus was a Jew and a wonderfully enlightened man! He was able to raise his consciousness to such a height that he was able to Heal thru contacting the Source, Divine Mind! This is what Mrs. Eddy discovered and named Christian Science or Divine Science or Divine Metaphysics. It really has nothing to do with Jesus being a Jew or a Christian, but everything to do with learning how to raise our thought to the Highest Level – the consciousness we call “God” and to find that this produces healing of the mind and body! Hallalujah! We now know how to be Free!

  25. nina says:

    I’d like to offer an AMEN to Bev’s statement above:

    It’s the implication that being a “Christian” should be the goal for everyone, and that if you aren’t…a Christian, well……you just haven’t really made it! … The label “Christian” is … so dividing and arrogant these days that the true message can’t even get thru!

    Hope you’ll all check out this film review and the discussion starting beneath it: http://time4thinkers.com/communicating-the-christ/

  26. Amy says:

    Oh I’m glad you posted again Bev. I didn’t mean to make you feel that I felt anything but a thoughtful discussion was going on.

    I will read that article. The points you brought out are right in line with a blog on this site by Margaret Rogers. In it she tells the story of how a young couple with a small child called for help. They had no income and no resources. Margaret at first thought about maybe giving them some money. But then she realized that they hadn’t asked for money, they’d asked her to pray. So she did. And immediately things adjusted for that family.

  27. Bev says:

    Oh, Amy and Michael! I certainly didn’t mean to imply that either of you was less than loving! Since this is a website for Thinkers, I just felt free to express some of my thoughts and to think outside of the “box” or form of the Christian Science/Christian Religion. Really, that article in the August,2012 C.S. Journal is quite excellent and right on! It just lifted my heart to read it, as it fits so perfectly with the spiritual intent of CoDependents Anonymous and all the other 12-Step Programs. Here’s one of the quotes from that article: “Sometimes we are unwise helpers because we do not have a big enough trust in God’s ability to govern and guide His own creation. We may imagine that the people in our lives need our constant intervention to stay on the “right” path. We may not trust God’s timing, and if we don’t see our own predetermined outcome in someone else’s life, we may think that our prayers have not yet been answered. Sometimes, though, the greatest help we can offer is to give up our opinion, planning and efforts to control others.” And here is a quote the author includes from Mrs. Eddy: “…..’Let them alone, they must learn from the things they suffer. Make thine own way:….’” Miscell. pp.327-328. Blessings, Peace and Love to both of you on your Journey! And thanks for having this website where all may Think freely and express their thoughts!

  28. Amy says:

    And speaking of how the printed word doesn’t always convey accurately, I wanted to tell you that I know Michael (itsaboutgood) and there is no one who loves more freely and who connects more easily with people of all different faiths and backgrounds…and no faith at all. He loves fiercely and it’s felt. :)

  29. Amy says:

    Ah, there’s more than one definition for the word, “help.”

    help

    verb (used with object)
    1.
    to give or provide what is necessary to accomplish a task or satisfy a need; contribute strength or means to; render assistance to; cooperate effectively with; aid; assist: He planned to help me with my work. Let me help you with those packages.
    2.
    to save; rescue; succor: Help me, I’m falling!
    3.
    to make easier or less difficult; contribute to; facilitate: The exercise of restraint is certain to help the achievement of peace.
    4.
    to be useful or profitable to: Her quick mind helped her career.
    5.
    to refrain from; avoid (usually preceded by can or cannot ): He can’t help doing it.

    I think we are saying the same thing, Bev, but my words aren’t conveying that to you. The print word is tricky like that.

    Peace.

  30. Bev says:

    P.S. Read the article by Tarn Wilson in the August C.S. Journal, “When The Heart Yearns to Help”. It fits so perfectly with what I have learned in CoDependents Anonymous!

  31. Bev says:

    Dear Amy,

    Yes, we can always support each other on our Journey – and that is what the 12-Step Program and many other paths are about. To “Help” someone implies that they don’t have their own inner wisdom and that we know more about what they need than they do. Truly – “helping” can often be “enabling” and often can interfere with the lessons another is learning! Everyone has a Higher Power and has access to the guidance they need. We can lovingly place them in their Higher Power’s hands and then Let Go and Trust that God is guiding and governing their lives, just as He/She is doing for us!

  32. Amy says:

    I’ve seen friends’ lives transformed by understanding more about the Christ so I’m not going to hold back what I know. ;) Yes, totally, we are all free to work out our own understanding and we each have our own unique relation to God, but help is nice, too. You were helped by the 12 step program. What if everyone kept that a secret from you because they thought you could figure it out on your own? I know I want as much help as I can get!

  33. Bev says:

    Dear Amy,

    Whether we call it the “Chrust” or the “Christ” – you are right – God loves and talks to all of mankind. And it’s not our job to “help” the world get a better understanding of what that message is. We are all free to work out our own understanding of God and our relationship to Him/Her. What a lot of C.Sers and other Christians, so steeped in the form of their religion, have gotten lost in – is the form and thus have lost a lot of the true meaning of God, of Love. The word, “Christ” is just a term that C.Ser’s use to describe, you could say, “the still small voice” that comes to Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, to all of us – no matter what we call it. Have you ever read any of Rumi? Have you ever read any of Thomas Merton? Have you ever attended a 12-Step Meeting? There are just so many words and ways to describe the One and our relationship with that One. I really feel the important thing is not the word or words we use, but how we let our lives show forth the Light and Love in our hearts!

  34. Amy says:

    Hmmmmm. I don’t think the Christ is just a label or something that belongs only to Christianity. It’s God’s message to man and it comes to us all. Do we need to help the world get a better sense or understanding of what the Christ is all about? Definitely. And I need to learn more, too. But ignoring the Christ (and Jesus who expressed the Christ so well) isn’t the answer, from my perspective.

  35. Bev says:

    Dear “itsaboutgood”,

    It was actually your ending to your previous comment (re. dancing and boogeying with the Black Eyed Peas) that set me off i.e. “if you ain’t living you ain’t a Christian”!! What about saying: “If you ain’t living, you ain’t a Human Being, a Child of God, a 12-Stepper, a Muslem, a Hindu, etc……???? It’s the implication that being a “Christian” should be the goal for everyone, and that if you aren’t (ain’t) a Christian, well……you just haven’t really made it! That’s certainly not the message Jesus brought to us, or Mrs. Eddy either, for that matter. The label “Christian” is so wrong and over-worked – it is so dividing and arrogant these days that the true message can’t even get thru! “Christianity” and “Christian” are just the terms and labels that mankind has attached to Jesus and his teachings and followers, but those terms and labels have nothing to do with the message of Jesus and of Mrs. Eddy. In fact those very terms and labels only serve to separate and divide people today, to cause wars and attrocities. Let’s break down the walls and work on coming together as a common Humanity in Peace and Love. I think that is the true message of Jesus and Mrs. Eddy, whatever the labels!!

  36. itsaboutgood says:

    Hi Bev,
    Wow – these are super powerful questions here! It’s certainly not about profession – but practice! That’s for sure.

    I’ve really struggled with this label of “Christian” and often ask these same questions. Here is a little what has been revealed to me and maybe it will resonate with someone else:

    Words are concepts, expressions of thought. Christian is a concept that has come out of a certain tradition, and has been beaten and clubbed, as well as worshipped and hailed, for centuries.

    Living in the present time, we face great challenges, great opportunities. Certain concepts have been seized by false belief. Christianity is one of them. Individualism, manhood, womanhood and intelligence are a few others (but that’s for another discussion).

    The core instruction book for planet earth, I believe, is the Bible (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth). The Bible is defined as Genesis through Revelation. Mary Baker Eddy believed this, too.

    This instruction book has been seized by agendas and untruths, but it was given to us to be an instruction manual for the human experience. I don’t think that everyone here on earth must take up the cross of the Bible and fight to keep its true message intact, but if one feels like that IS their calling than the term “Christian” serves to identify someone dedicated to that mission. By this definition, Mary Baker Eddy was, well, the ultimate Christian.

    Isn’t it important to recognize that the first tenet of Christian Science is to “take the inspired word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life” (497: 3-4)?

    When’s the last time we prayed for the Bible? That its message be not misconstrued, misinterpreted, and misused? Isn’t that what we do every time we read our Bible Lesson? And Mary Baker Eddy says specifically that the prosperity of Christian Science depends largely on the Bible Lesson (The Mother Church Manual, 31:4-9).

    Eddy, like many others, recognized the divine, universal, galactic implications in her teachings and spiritual revelations, but she was also very pragmatic. Before we reach those infinite heights, we have to develop what we have. The human race has been given the Holy Bible to figure out like a puzzle. She recognized this human conundrum and correctly titled her life-work “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” for a reason.

    Again, not everyone needs to be working on this kind of “excavation project.” But someone needs to. The film “The Book of Eli” may be a cool movie to check out. It hits home hard the point that the Bible is the most important book on planet earth and focuses on why it needs to be kept out of the hands of those who want to extend and control the illusion of life in matter. There is still the problem of evil (conceptually understood as the belief in sin, or separation from God) that must be conquered and solved in this human experience.

    As one who feels called to the Christian mission, it is important that I remain focused on saving the world from sin and death (The Mother Church Manual, 19). The best known map for this mission that I’ve discovered (and I’ve read the texts of all the other major religions) is the Bible (and it doesn’t matter what translation!)

    Thank God this isn’t done through self-professions, labels, and sandwich boards or message board posting. Jesus gave us the ultimate teaching in identifying who is really a Christian,

    “By their fruit you will recognize them…a good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit” (Matthew 7: 16, 18).

    That’s what I follow to identify Christians. It’s time we explode the idea of Christianity and let it soar completely unconfined as a mirror-image of Christ and nothing less. That seems to me to be the mission of Radical Acts – to live it instead of just talk about it.

    If Christian Science doesn’t support the Christian religion in sincere love and fellowship, who will? And isn’t doing so a beautiful expression of patient, unselfish love? It seems to me like loving our brothers and sisters, especially those who at times have persecuted us, is an important and logical step in the development of divine Love. And, perhaps most importantly, it gives others the opportunity to grow in Love, too.

    If I’ve learned anything from Christian Science, it’s that this human experience is all about step by step learning and growth, just like mathematics. Before we preach the gospel (of love) to other life forms (and I believe we will one day) we’ve got to preach the gospel (of love) to those who hold a Bible in their hand.

    Can I get an A-men?

  37. Bev says:

    P.S. And get this – Jesus wasn’t a “Christian” either! As Mrs. Eddy says, “Jesus was the most scientific man to ever walk the globe.” Did Jesus say, “I think I’ll come and start the Christian Religion so that everyone will be saved? Of course not. He came to show everyone how to think scientifically so that they could be Masters of matter and find their true spiritual identity and live a more abundant life! He came to show us how to get enlightened – how to wake up from the dream of Life in Matter and how to find our way back to God – to Truth, Life and Love! He came to demonstrate the Ascension – how to lift off right on out of this material plane of thinking. What he came to give us is for Everyone – Hindus, Muslems, Buddhists, 12-Steppers, New Agers – anyone who is open to receiving and living the Truth. I say, let’s stop trying to prove that Christian Science is a Christian Religion and just share the Science of Healing that Jesus brought to us and which Mary Baker Eddy rediscovered for all of Humanity to use! Then we will be living the Life more Abundant!

    • nina says:

      Thanks for your comments! MBE said, “In different ages the divine idea assumes different forms, according to humanity’s needs. In this age it assumes…the form of Christian healing.” Yes, and in this age, the 21st century, it’s assuming a more universal form. I share DIVINE Science, and in that form it’s always well received. Thank you!

  38. Bev says:

    I truly LOVE all the wonderful ideas shared here! Lots of Joy and Fun and Laughter and living outside the box! What I want to know is: Why do a lot of people think you have to be a “Christian” to share in the Truth and in the Love of God? Is it really about “being a Christian”? or is it about being one of God’s kids who has access to all of God’s Good and Love, whether he/she is a “Christian” or not? God is God to everyone, whether they are a so-called, professed “Christian” or not! Take a look at the many, many religions and 12-Step Groups world-wide who do not embrace the Bible or so-called Christianity. Look at the Old Testament with Moses and Elijah, etc. They weren’t professed Christians, yet they had amazing experiences with their contact with God. People in 12-Step Groups, too, have amazing experiences with their conscious contact with the God of their understanding – their Higher Power! Everyone is free to have their own personal relationship with a Power Greater Than Themselves – whether you call it Christian beliefs or not. I was raised in C.S. but never felt God’s love for me or had a relationship with God, until I got into a 12-Step Group – CoDependents Anonymous. Then, my Life lit up and I found my Higher Power and miracles started happening in my life. So now, I call myself a 12-Step Christian Scientist because I use both and find they work so well together. Thanks for listening – all you “Christians” out there and non-Christians, too! Much Love!

  39. nina says:

    Several times in the last year I haven’t had enough money to get my tiny back lawn mowed. I don’t mind that it’s unsightly. I just don’t want my dogs tangling with the rattlesnakes, copperheads, etc. that cruise the underbrush.

    Last summer, when the grass had gotten dangerously high, I heard a roar in the driveway. I ran out to find my most elegant neighbor approaching on her tractor-mower, her ancient man-of-all-work scuttling behind with a smaller mower. “We’re on a MISSION of MERCY,” she trilled, proceeding to make short work of the lawn. She wanted to thank me, she said, for all my volunteer work in the community.

    I thought it was funny, but surely a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

    Then last night, an even more elegant gentleman drove his power mower out here, 30 minutes from town, on the same mission of mercy. As he and his nephew clipped grass and hacked bushes, he said he wanted to thank me for helping his nephew with his Master’s thesis.

    Now if anyone in this community heard that these particular people had emerged from their respective mansions to mow my shabby little lawn, they wouldn’t believe their ears. It’s really crazy. But not, apparently, in divine economy.

    I may not have cash, not today. But I’m living joyfully and ABUNDANTLY!

  40. Michelle says:

    Today’s blog post is a guest post by Kay Olson CSB on this radical act. There is a wonderful take on eternal life. And she relates this radical act to the one about selling and giving to the poor “and you will have treasure in heaven.” I really love what she wrote and hope you will go check it out. Here is the link: http://www.michellenanouchecsb.com/4/post/2012/07/follow-me-and-live-abundantly-a-guest-post-by-kay-olson-csb.html

  41. Kate says:

    One of the most “abundant” times of my life was when we had the least “money.” Because I couldn’t rely on the quickest way to accomplish a goal, I had to turn inward for more creative paths to the same (or sometimes an even more lovely…but unexpected) destination.

    One of the things that happened during that time, which I will NEVER forget, was how happy I was to be able to purchase, even the most basic items we needed, on lay-a-way. Each time I was able to take a dollar (or sometimes even 50 cents) to the store to pay down the purchase price, I would think of it as another wonderful opportunity to realize the value, beauty, usefulness of the item we were purchasing.

    I would also think of how I could make one person happy on each trip to the store. I would smile at the clerk who so gracefully took my “mother’s mite” and never snickered that it was so little. I would ask the cashier about her family, or thank the man who was gathering the carts outside in the parking lot.

    When we had to speak with credit collectors, day-after-day, I would try to remember that this was not a job that someone, who was not desperate themselves, would ever choose to do. I would try to be patient with their desire to do their job well, explain that we were praying about out situation and paying down all of our bills as fairly and faithfully as we could each month, and thank them for their understanding. It gave me ample opportunity to share patience, meekness, and love abundantly…and to recognize the good deeds of those who were doing their jobs faithfully so that they could support their own families and pay their bills on time.

    Those were days of filled to the brim with a richness of humility, overflowing with prayer, and ample opportunities to face off with human pride.

    At one point it was this fidelity to God, to Principle…in the face of cold indifference, and threats that we would lose everything we had left to lose…that led an attorney to urge his bank to “forgive” our sizable debt in light of our persistence in always paying on our account…even when all we had to give fairly (to all of our creditors) “cents on the dollar” (and usually not even a dime on the dollar!!)

    That was the turning point in our crisis.

    I am so grateful for each opportunity I have to live Life abundantly as Love. To never lose our right to live with abundant hope, joy, fidelity, humility, and grace.

  42. Derra Moyers says:

    I would like to thank Amy for sharing the story about helping the dance student/babysitter and realizing that her money was not being depleted but that she was just sharing what God was giving them both. I am in a similar situation,and swing from being grateful that I have a dear individual living with me and helping me, to OMG! How will I ever get all the debt paid?! Amy, your inspired sharing is a blessing to me. Thank you.

  43. Ali says:

    Amy, I really love that quote and it is one I have been thinking off a lot lately. I also love the comment previously made that one of the wonderful things about this RA is that it can be lived every day, moment to moment.

    I received the new computer I ordered yersterday. I was so excited setting it up, and attaching my extra monitors. But then my email didn’t work and I had to run to Best Buy for a new chord that was supposed to come but didn’t and then all I was was frustrated. After a while of being frustrated, I caught myself sitting in the middle of my room, surrounding by apple boxes and I just started laughing. There was SO MUCH GOOD. I’m not talking about the abundance of material things, but just the fact that my needs for a new computer were supplied and my business didn’t have to suffer and I wasn’t cold or hungry or in danger…and the list went on of why i was thankful and why my life was Abundant.

    That is where I have to catch myself most often, is in the belief that my life is not abudnant.

    • Carlos says:

      Ali, thank you for sharing, and Amy, this is the second time I’ve heard that quote this week – and I had never heard it before then!

      I too am working to recognize each moment for what it is rather than what it seems to lack. It seems so much easier and tempting to notice the exception – what isn’t right – instead of all the right that happens every single second.

      I’ve been noticing that a big part of living more abundantly is not about changing our habits or our “life”, but recognizing the abundance that already exists. Practicing being “in” abundance – in thought and in action. Otherwise we are practicing being in lack – or recognizing lack – and that way of thinking gets perpetuated in our experience.

      We experience what we practice.

  44. Amy says:

    I read this quote today…so true!

    “Some people are so poor all they have is money.”

  45. itsaboutgood says:

    Last summer I was working at an office in mid-town Manhattan for 20 hour days sometimes. One day I heard about a huge concert at Central Park given by the Black Eyed Peas. I really love the Black Eyed Peas.

    As it came closer to the concert time, I found out the tickets had long been sold out and also that it was scheduled to rain. Two reasons for me to just go home.

    But as I prepared to get onto the subway and go back to my place, something stopped me. I looked up and out at the rain drops furiously hitting the pavement. I heard my mom’s voice, “Now, Michael. You always want to use wisdom…”

    What is wisdom? I asked. This is the answer I heard: wisdom is proving God’s love through joyful expression that makes an impact in the lives of others.

    Wow. Not my usual thought about wisdom. But that’s what I heard!

    So I ran out into the pouring rain without an umbrella, laughing to myself, and skipped across ten blocks to another subway. I called my friend co-worker who I had been doing a bible study with on the roof of our workplace and told him to meet me at Central Park.

    We got there and found the show rained out and hundreds of thousands of people leaving the park in a mass exodus. But a voice told me to keep going forward. It seemed absurd, the opposite of “wisdom”, but we were having a great time!

    We passed a group of people from out of the country complaining about how the show had been cancelled and that Americans don’t know how to have fun. We just laughed and ran past them.

    We got to the area where the stage was being torn down and something told me, “Keep going!”

    My friend tried to stop me, not knowing where we were going, but I told him to keep his head up, stay focused, and follow me.

    We saw a light in the distance coming from a tent set up, and we followed the light into it. Inside we found a group of about fifty people or so with none other than the Black Eyed Peas, Fergie, Will I.Am. and the other members of the group giving a small private show to members of the charity whatters beneficiaries of the show. They were performing all of their songs acoustic and we danced and laughed and sang with the others inside – many of them little children from the charity.

    When someone asked us what we were doing there we laughed and said, “We were led here!” The people from the charity were so impressed by our sense of enthusiasm, joy, and courage, that they gave us wristbands to an after party at an exclusive night club in Manhattan that the Black Eyed Peas would be djing and performing at later that evening.

    The whole evening was really beautiful, really harmonious, and we danced so hard at that club later. My friend’s brother and girlfriend joined us and they couldn’t get over how enthusiastic and free we were. That experience led to sharing a bit with them about my relationship with God and having them attend a Christian Science lecture later that summer.

    It’s all about living. If you ain’t living, you ain’t a Christian!

    Woo hoooooooo!

    • Cooee says:

      “ALL” things work together for good to them that love God. What is God: God’s Law in in three words, “I Am All” – we are ONE. The above account is yet another proof of this. Thank you for sharing.

  46. Carlos says:

    About a year ago, I was starting to get a little “too comfortable” with my workload. Being self-employed had put a number of demands on me I didn’t expect at first, but I was getting to the point where most of those demands were finally becoming automated or simplified. As a consequence, I had a lot of extra time on my hands…

    I enjoyed this extra time at first, but then I began to feel lazy, like I wasn’t doing enough with the time I was given. The work I had available did not require me to work any harder than I already was, so I also started feeling that I didn’t have enough work, and that I was not making enough money.

    I finally decided to start praying about this rather than just feel badly about it, and the idea that really helped was to start looking as my life itself as my job, rather than just the work this small business was producing. From this point of view, I had a task to complete every moment of the day for my ONLY client, God. I began to use the “free” hours for prayer and study. I also found new opportunities to help others, and pretty soon other business ideas started developing – ideas which didn’t make a lot of sense for me to develop at the time, but I was obedient in doing the, and they have led to other projects down the road.

    This was such a wonderful experience, and it really showed me a much more abundant view of life than I had been holding. I had so much more use than I previously thought!

    A few months ago, life had started to get a little “too comfortable” again, so I have been praying to be more aware at every moment of the work God is giving me to do. This radical act comes to me at a great time, and as a great reminder. Thank you all so much for sharing! I look forward to reading your ideas for living more abundantly thoughtout the summer.

  47. Claire says:

    I really love this act too! Sometimes it can be so easy to get caught up in a sense of lack–in what you don’t have, in what you may be missing or yearning for–that you forget about all the overflowing good you have already expressed in your life, and it blinds you to that sense of good and to more good/blessings to come from God’s boundless resources. When you can see the limitless good already expressed in your life, it reminds you that God, infinite All, is truly the source of everything you need. This really is just a simple shift in the way we see and value the world and our place in it that can really make all the difference in not only our own, but in others’ lives as well.

  48. John says:

    I really love that this is one of the Radical Acts! I’m really drawn to the simplicity of this – reminds me of Paul’s admonishment not to be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

    I sometimes like to think of God as the great Giver – and then, we would be the given :-) If our very nature is ‘the given’ then living abundantly must be in our very nature! It must be a fundamental right! We can really only live abundantly if we are aware of what we have, of our identity. We can only give and enjoy and share what we know we have. So, wouldn’t living abundantly actually also be a declaration that we are confident in the safety and love in which we are held and known by God? And then that confidence will keep rebounding right back into the lives of those around you.

    A couple years ago I was visiting family in South Africa and I was chatting with a new friend at a barbecue. He was about to graduate university, and he was telling me all about how he was so excited to be able to begin a teaching career soon, to be able to give back to the community and encourage kids to succeed. This was a neat story of course, but why I remember it is because if what I learned later about this young man. Several years ago, he’d been mugged in the street and stabbed in the head, leaving him blind in one eye. But his thought was not filled with revenge or even disdain. He wanted to give back to his community and to engage with the very kids who may well have been his muggers. This story inspired me so much!

    The reason I am posting this story here is because I am feeling impressed right now with how his sense of who he was – a dedicated community member, love for country, deep desire to help lift people up – was enabling him to move beyond the limits that might claim he had to live a narrow life of fear. He was able to live abundantly because his sense of who he was, was stronger than who circumstances or past tried to suggest that he was.

    The final thing I’ll say for now is that in considering this, I am blown away by how daily this act can be lived. Moment by moment, we have so many opportunities to go beyond the small boxes of limited thoughts that would keep us entrenched in past, fear, or stereotypes.

    Looking forward to posting a story of my own here soon! Time to LIVE (abundantly!) :-)

  49. Jake says:

    This radical act is one that I feel I hold very close to my heart! In my family my mother coined the phrase, “If you aren’t having fun, you aren’t doing it right!”. That is a mentality that I try to express as best I can! It’s more than focussing on a nice thought, it’s declaring that it is NATURAL for God’s child (that includes everybody) to have that joy or “abundant” living. It makes me think of a significant moment going into high school.
    I remember my transition from Junior High School into high school all of my closest friends starting drinking. I never wavered from my standard on not doing that, which I am grateful for, but it made for some pretty lonely weekends with all of my friends out partying. I felt as if I wasn’t being utilized and that my joy wasn’t good enough for anybody to want to be around me. I recall realizing that I wasn’t entirely wrong about those feelings. Jake’s joy wasn’t good enough! It’s limited and goes in and out. But God’s joy is more than good enough! It’s abundant in the good that it provides! I remember deciding that all of my actions and words were going to express Love! Not Jake’s limited love, but God’s limitless Love! Almost over night my social Life went to a new level of activity, expression, and most importantly, Love. It has carried on through my Life since! In high school I was wrestling and football captains, a representative for the districts film group, state representative for the schools marketing program, and high school president for the student council! The Love is so fundamental and attractive that the only natural thing that could happen is for everybody to claim it for themselves and express it right back at ya! What a great demand that the Christ enforces and fulfills!!!

    • itsaboutgood says:

      This brother is living proof of this radical act for sure!!! Thanks be to God for your beautiful expression of Soul,Jake – ever living in the spirit of Truth!

      :)

      • Jake says:

        Thank you so much! I learn more and more from living this abundant Life! What a great thing to learn to do more of!!!1 I love your Ghost brotha!
        :D

  50. Amy says:

    I’d stepped out of my career when my daughter was born. I’d always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. Then my husband and I separated. I didn’t get a job until my daughter went to kindergarten but the job didn’t pay well and I was living paycheck to paycheck and going further into debt each month. Finances were a huge burden for several years.

    I met a dance student who needed a place to live. She moved in and helped me with some babysitting. We loved her and she took great care of my daughter, but now I had even less money.

    But one day when I was washing dishes, I realized something really big and it changed my life. It suddenly became very clear that I wasn’t giving the babysitter MY hard earned money, she wasn’t depleting MY resources. I was just sharing what God was giving the both of us. I felt an amazing sense of freedom.

    My financial situation changed for the better immediately. I’d been on a waiting list for a less expensive apartment for 3 1/2 years. 6 months before I was told that I got in, but the deal fell through and I didn’t have much hope that it would work out. But now I got a call, got in and saved a huge amount of money each month AND the apartment was bigger and better suited for the 3 of us.

    I didn’t get out of debt right away, but things were moving in the right direction and I didn’t feel overwhelmed again. My abundance came IN GIVING FREELY to others.

  51. Melody says:

    When I think of living abundantly my mind goes to things. All the things in this room. The house I’m in and all the things in it. The entire neighborhood I live in that is FILLED WITH THINGS.

    Live more abundantly. Couldn’t that mean taking the time to do things out of the ordinary?

    Yesterday I received an angel message that said try something new, get out of your comfort zone. I was quite reluctant but I decided I should go for it. I went to a boxing class and was instantaneously overcome with happiness.

    I didnt need things to satisfy my happiness. I had a great time, I made new friends and found a new hobby.

    Living more abundantly can be exciting!

  52. Ann says:

    In my life, I’ve had difficulty trusting and feeling God was really in control, because I viewed God as only good, but I had a hard time viewing God, good, as All. So this is still a one-sides conversation with God, but I’m happy today that with those conversations now, the roles have flipped: I’m now only a listener. For me, it was having a mindset like Jesus’-one where good was all, and to me I’m demonstrating this in just simple surrender to divine Mind of a personal mind that’s separate from the Mind which is Good and which knows Good to be all. But what helped me let go of control, was seeing Gods love for me. Just really having to trust that God loved me to the point where Hed never forget me, never ignore me, and certaintly would never let bad occur to me in any form. This is definitly something Im still working on, listening to and seeing God, Good, but a song that has been my rock and my angel and comforter. It’s God is Love by Mindy Jostyn and you can find it on iTunes (at least in the US), but the chorus always hits me home:
    God is Love- if it’s all I learn in life, it’s all I need to know.

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