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The First Step To Financial Prosperity

If you take any Personal Finance 101 course, the teachers are going to miss one huge, critical step to financial freedom. I just realized that in my book Hatching The Nest Egg, I missed the same step. Oh, you’ll still get a lot out of it when you read it, but I need to do a little rewriting.

“Beloved, I wish above all things that you prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers [emphasis mine].” (3 John 1:1-2)

The first “prosper” in the above Bible verse refers to material wealth. The meaning isn’t necessarily Bill Gates or Warren Buffet rich, but having plenty to take care of yourself and your family, and then some.

But the last phrase puts a condition on receiving that kind of prosperity: your soul must prosper first.

In the last post, I explained extensively how to have abundance in your spirit and soul. But though it was extensive, after I published it the Holy Spirit began tapping my shoulder and whispering that it wasn’t comprehensive, that I’d missed a key element in having abundance in the soul.

And it’s this element that you must have if you ever hope to have financial prosperity.

Yes, getting rid negative, fear-filled thinking and hateful thoughts and replacing them with faith, a positive mindset and the determination to love the world as God does will take you a long way. But you will still feel like life is trying to play darts in the pitch dark unless you have this one key.

That key is purpose.

If you want to have any level of financial prosperity, you must have purpose. Motivational speakers will tell you that you have to “find your why.” But many people’s reasons for doing something are shallow and weak. When people run into obstacles, their “whys” fall apart.

You have to know your purpose for being put on earth. And with all due respect to Rick Warren, it goes beyond having a relationship with God. I’m talking about a purpose that is specific to each individual.

Your purpose might be to start and run an orphanage in a developing nation. It may be to write uplifting novels. It may be as simple as giving words of encouragement to everyone you meet as you run your errands and work at your job every day.

Despite what society (especially society’s religions) have led us to believe, one purpose isn’t better or grander than another. Every purpose is equally special and important, because it was granted to the person by their Creator. What we do with that purpose while we’re on earth is what makes it grand.

So the next question is, how do you figure out your purpose? The answer is coming up in the next (well, actually, first) Motivational Monday post. If you don’t want to miss that or any other future blog post to help you live a more abundant life, be sure to sign up in the form on the sidebar to receive instant notifications in your inbox every time I publish a post.

To your abundance,

Emily

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True Abundance Comes From Within

A few posts ago when I introduced the concept of an abundant life, I listed the broad areas of life that you can change in order have more abundance in your life. But I glazed over the most important aspect of living an abundant life: the state of your spirit and soul.

The spirit and soul are two different entities. Your soul is that intangible part of you consisting of your mind, will, and emotions. Your spirit is the core of who you are, and is eternal. It seems intangible to us because our experience on earth is purely physical. However, a spirit is a tangible entity when viewed from within the spiritual dimension of the universe, a dimension we are not privy to unless God gives us a vision of it. This has happened to a few people, but it is rare.

Your spirit lives within your non-eternal body. The state of your spirit can affect the state of your soul and body, but not vice-versa. The state of your soul can and does affect the state of your body, and sometimes vice-versa (for example, dealing with any physical malady can lead to depression or indifference).

How to have abundance in your spirit

The first order of business in living an abundant life is to have a relationship with your Creator. If you feel empty inside, a high from drugs won’t fill the space, pleasure from sex won’t fill the space, money, material wealth, fame – none of that will fill the space. Our spirits have an empty place that only God can fill.

And before you tell me that you’re a Jew or a Christian or otherwise believe in God, it’s not about belief. Belief is a head thing. It’s a mental acknowledgment of truth.

Rather, experiencing God’s presence inside you is about faith. Faith goes one step further than belief.

Faith is a heart thing.

You connect with God heart-to-heart. How do you do that? Pray. Pray and pray and pray, asking God into your spirit and life, until you feel your Creator’s love, peace, and joy fill you. At that point, you know the connection has happened.

Any sense of peace or joy that comes outside of faith in an eternal, loving Being will be short-lived and shallow.

But when the peace and joy and the sense of being loved result in God actually entering into your life, you will have a more abundant life than the healthiest and wealthiest atheist on earth.

How to have abundance in your soul

Some people who receive Yeshua as their Savior or otherwise humble themselves before their Creator instantly get set free of bondages of the soul. These bondages include addictions, psychological and emotional wounds, hate-induced feelings like bitterness and resentment, and mental illness.

Others need to continually pray for strength and deliverance in order to be set free in their mind, will and emotions. Still others need the help of a godly therapist or support group for certain problems.

While having God fill the void in your spirit goes a long way to improving your mental state, often you have to walk with Him for a long time – even years – in order to be released from some of the chains around your soul. I’ve only recently experienced the chain of the poverty mentality slide off me – and I’m getting close to fifty years old! Some Satanic hooks are too deep and have caused too great a wound for Father to rip it out all at once. He has to gently work at it over an extended period of time so that your soul isn’t overwhelmed by the healing.

And trust me – we are all works in progress until we die. And possibly after! Mountaintop experiences where you feel lighter than air and like everything is great, inside and out, don’t last. That’s because like ogres, we all have layers (that’s a Shrek joke, in case you missed it). God deals with us about a problem, we overcome it, we walk on clouds for a little while. Then He reveals another problem, we overcome it…get the picture?

In other words, the way to have abundance in your soul is two-fold. First, make a conscious effort to improve the known shortcomings in your mind, will and emotions. Ask God for wisdom and guidance. Take the next step that you know to take.

Second, when something comes up you weren’t aware of, allow God to work. Cooperate with the work.

“…even as your soul prospers.”

“Beloved, I wish above all things that you would prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.” Though the words were written by the apostle John around 2,000 years ago, surely it’s not a stretch to believe he was inspired by his loving Creator when he wrote them.

God wants us to prosper. But before wealth and health – abundance in our physical world – must come abundance in the soul.

And that soul-abundance cannot come without abundance in spirit that results from a relationship with God.

Wishing you abundance,

Emily

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The First Step Toward Abundant Health

One of the biggest struggles people have with experiencing an abundant life is being healthy. And when I say “healthy”, I’m not talking about the absence of diagnosed disease. If you are experiencing optimum health, you:

  • have energy for most of the day, without any need for caffeine (I busted most of my readers right there!).
  • have healthy teeth, skin and hair.
  • experience no or only mild seasonal allergy symptoms.
  • rarely get a cold or flu, and when you do, symptoms are mild.
  • can concentrate and focus well.
  • do not experience mood swings.
  • feel positive most of the time.
  • can walk up at least two flights of stairs without getting out of breath.
  • have few aches and pains in your body, even into your senior years (traumatic injuries excepted).
  • are not obese.

If you’re like most people, based on those criteria you aren’t anywhere near being optimally healthy. Now, as time goes on I’m going to hit on diet, nutrition, and fitness tips to help you improve your health. But there is an even bigger factor that impacts the state of your health, and that is chronic stress.

Most Westerners live in a state of chronic stress, which translates into a state of hormonal imbalance in their bodies. This imbalance slowly yet progressively deteriorates the proper functioning of cells, organs, and systems. Dysfunction at the cellular level will eventually lead to some kind of disease.

So what is the first step toward living in abundant health? Reduce your stress.

Yes, I know, you’ve heard it before. But if you’re like most people who have heard it before, you are still experiencing levels of stress that are too high and too frequent to ensure that your body remains healthy.

So I’m going to say it again, and again, and again:

You need to reduce stress.

You need to reduce stress.

You need to reduce stress.

In the next few Fabulous Health Friday blog posts, I will be talking in detail about a handful of the most important things you can do to reduce stress. But for now, let me touch on them, and add a few more ideas for good measure.

  • Get unforgiveness out of your heart.
  • Stop needing to be right.
  • Stop judging.
  • Change your perspective about events you currently perceive to be stressful.
  • Have at least thirty minutes of “me” time every day.
  • If your job is sucking the life out of you, look for another one.
  • Avoid fear-instilling media, such as the evening news or horror novels.
  • Pray and/or meditate every day.
  • Try to take a long walk every day.
  • Smile more.
  • Replace negative thoughts and words with positive ones.

If you are serious about living an abundant life, then you need to be serious about improving your health. And the first – and perhaps most vital – step is to get as much stress out of your life as you can.

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What does it mean to live an abundant life? Is it about having a lot of money? Living the American Dream of having a big house and a fancy car?

Actually, some of the richest people in the world lack abundance. Why? First of all, an abundant life has at least as much to do with what’s going on inside you than what’s going on outside you. Second of all, most wealthy people worry about their finances. Worry causes stress. Chronic stress leads to disease.

If you’re not healthy, you’re not living an abundant life.

As I stated in a recent post, abundance includes having enough money to pay the bills and then some for saving and giving, being healthy in body and mind, having loving and supportive relationships in your life, and doing work that fulfills you.

Above all these aspects is spiritual abundance. Joy overflowing and peace that surpasses all understanding should be near-daily experiences because you have developed an intimate relationship with your Creator. A faith-filled life void of bitterness and fear is the most abundant life of all, even if the person living it is homeless and counting on soup lines in order to survive.

Three ways to live more abundantly, right now

Most people don’t feel that they are living abundant lives. For many it’s because they refuse to connect with God (it’s not enough just to believe!). For others it’s because they struggle to make ends meet, or are experiencing serious health challenges.

The good news is, living a more abundant life is as easy and simple as first, looking outside yourself and feeling compassion for other people; and second, gaining the knowledge needed to make wiser lifestyle choices.

That said, here are three ways that you can begin to develop more abundance in your life today.

#1: Add a cup of vegetables to your diet today.

If you’re serious about being healthy, your daily consumption of fruits and vegetables should be nine servings a day, not the five servings you usually hear recommended. Chances are good that you’re not eating even the “5 a day for better health.”

So, instead of meat for dinner tonight, have a cup of black beans. Or add a cup of broccoli florets or green beans to either your lunch or dinner (preferably frozen or fresh, not canned). Or have two to three cups of salad vegetables – say, two cups of shredded romaine lettuce with a grated carrot – with a meal.

Getting in the habit of eating more fruits and vegetables – thereby making less space for the junk and fatty foods – is a great way to improve your health over time.

#2: Forgive somebody.

Most of us have someone in our lives whom we need to forgive. If you are walking around in unforgiveness, you are full of bitterness, resentment, and/or hatred. This is not an abundant life, for your have imprisoned your own soul in a cloud of toxicity.

You don’t have to talk to the person. That may be impossible, anyway, as the person might already be dead! You just have to let go of all the bad feelings. Give them to God. Ask Him to replace the negativity with joy and peace. You will not only improve your future health, but in that moment experience a release and lightness of heart that will last the rest of your life.

#3: Give something to somebody…without expecting a return.

Give to a charity. Pay the groceries or gas of the person in front of you at the checkout counter. Give the homeless person on the corner that candy bar in your purse that you know you shouldn’t be eating, anyway.

Give your elderly neighbor thirty minutes of your time via a conversation he or she rarely has anymore. Give your children some play time at the park instead of your usual after-work meeting at Starbucks with co-workers.

“Give, and it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, shaken, and running over shall men give into your bosom.” [Luke 6:38, The Holy Bible]

Giving brings joy to the giver. The more joy you have, the more abundant your life is.

And, like Jesus said in the above verse, giving leads to you receiving more in your life. More of what? Whatever you give!

Run with this idea!

There are dozens of other little actions you could choose from today to make your life more abundant. Let these three ideas be only a springboard. Take them and run with them. Or, sticking to the metaphor, dive with them.

What is abundance? Now you know.

Abundance to you,

Emily

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