In John 10:10, Jesus says, “I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” Something I have learned in the last 15 years of my life is that living abundantly, living life to the full, means you have high highs and low lows. Having fullness of life is never about everything going right all the time and never having any challenges, nor is it about everything going wrong all the time and seeing only the downside of life.
God created us to be really and truly ALIVE, to experience all that He intends for us in this life and the life to come. Thinking of this often reminds me of the story of the Velveteen Rabbit. The little stuffed bunny’s feelings were hurt when his little boy owner got a new toy and threw the bunny to the side. The Velveteen Rabbit wondered what it would be like to be a real rabbit and if the boy would love him more than the new, technological toys, but while he was with the other toys, the hobby horse had some words of wisdom for him.
“Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’
‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.
‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’
‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’
‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
― Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit
In my ups and downs, weeks like I had last week, it helps me to remember that the abundant life is about becoming….about God making me into the “real” person He meant for me to be from the start. So, when we have weeks where everything seems to be tough, when our sink is leaking and our son seriously sprains his ankle and I have a kidney stone and I find out I didn’t get the job I wanted, God uses all this to make us “real”. If we never experienced these low times, then the high times wouldn’t be nearly as wonderful, and we would miss out on some opportunities for growth and learning, and we wouldn’t be living the abundant life that God has for each of us.
When I consider these truths, I find peace and move closer to accepting the difficulties of life as a part of the puzzle God is putting together from the pieces of my life.