Life to the Full
Have you ever felt like your life was lifeless?

Almost every day I meet women who aren't living - they're merely surviving. And some barely. And sometimes I am right there with them.

In John 10:10, Jesus said, "I have come that [you] may have life, and have it to the full." But it seems our lives get so full, we barely have time for life.

is how I would've described mine ten years ago. I remember it almost to the day. It was an epiphany of sorts. It happened sometime in March of 1999. That's when I realized I was miserable. I'd been unhappy for months, maybe even a year. But I thought it was just a phase. I thought life would slow down and I'd start enjoying it.

Looking back now I can see that the busyness of life had sucked me dry. And I had allowed it to happen. I was moving from one thing to the next but not stopping long enough to enjoy, or find joy, in any of it. And all along I assumed I was doing what God wanted me to do.

Drained by all my doing, I had become a mostly tired, stressed, busy, irritable and rarely content wife, mom and friend. I wonder now how I could've assumed that all I was doing was what God wanted me to do. Although it was good stuff, my excessive busyness took more and more time away from my time with Him. Limited by 24 hours in each day, I could only give so much time and energy to my responsibilities and relationships. My relationship with Him got bumped by good things that weren't God's things.

I was serving God in so many ways; my heart's intentions were good. But without even realizing it, I started serving more and seeking Him less and less. Oh, I read my Bible but it was hurried. Instead of just listening and talking to Him, I'd rush through my devotion time looking for answers to fill in blanks for my Bible study. Or I'd quickly search for a promise to get me through the day. There was no relationship in it and I'd lost that lovin' feeling. My time with God felt distant and dry. No wonder I was miserable. No wonder my life felt lifeless.

Jesus said, "I have come that [you] may have life and have it to the full," but right before that He warned us that a their would come to steal, kill and destroy. The thief will do all he can to keep us from "life to the full" by disguising a full life as the good life while making sure our minds and schedules are so full we don't have time to seek and live close to the one who offers life.

I once heard an acronym for BUSY: burdened under satan's yoke. Today as I reflect on the amazing things God has taught me and brought me through the past ten years, I am committing once again to being with more than doing for. Seeking Him more than serving others and savoring each moment I've been given to live - to the full!!!

So, back to my question: Have you ever felt like your life was lifeless? Why and how did you get there? Are there things you've learned that might help others or questions you have that we can ponder together?

Thanks to Random Integer, the winner of last Tuesday's drawing for Wendy's book, Hidden Joy in Dark Corner, is:
25 - Victoria

Timestamp: 2009-02-23 12:33:19 UTC

Victoria, please email your mailing address to

Seeking His fullness!


Blogger Joyful said...

The Message puts it this way, "I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of."

Oh, I don't want to miss the living that Christ desires for me, in every area of a wife, mom, daughter, friend, neighbour etc...

The same friend who spoke that acronym for "BUSY" to me years and years ago, also had a motto based on this verse four years ago: "Fully Alive in 2005". She lives each day with passion and a heart after God.

I've lived the "lifeless" following, but my heart is seeking that "life to the full".

Have a great day!
Love & prayers,
PS. Who won the book offer from last Tuesday?

Blogger Stacey said...

I was taught a saying when I first became a Christian. My salvation was a defeat to Satan as I was a drunk. I was taught, "If the devil can't get you bad, he'll get you busy." Something to watch out for, that's for sure. Also, John 10:10 has been the scripture being thrown at me from every direction. Today is the third day I've read or heard it. Yesterday my Pastor preached on it. John 10:10 is also one of the scriptures The Most Excellent Way (Christ centered drug and alcohol program) uses... thank you, for once again, being used by the Father to speak to my heart. God Bless You.

Blogger JottinMama said...

To answer the first line in your post: Yes mam, I have felt like my life is lifeless. Not only can I get this way when my mind is idle and not doing much - but also when my mind is super busy and overwhelmed.

Such a good reminder for me today, Renee.

Just this morning I was thinking about preparing a blog post about this very topic!

Thanks so much! Have a wonderful week!

-Kate :)

Blogger Angie said...

I continue to be amazed by God speaking to me. Your words are me exactly. I realized a little more than a week ago...I am not happy with myself or the person I have become. I have carried a burden for 18 years that has sucked the life out of me.
P31 has ministered to me so much this past week and now I am starting on a new journey. I know it will not be easy and maybe even a long one. But I know I am not alone.

Blogger Wendi said...

I would love to hear how you "fixed" our busy life. I feel like that right now. It is hard to give up on Bible studies but when all you do is answer the questions on the page so you can get to the next study, I'm not getting all that I can out of the study. I feel like I spend so much time studying yet I neglect creating devotional time for my family. I am so busy filling my mind with Bible knowledge that I don't have time to live the Bible with my family which is the most important thing. I am glad to hear that I am not alone.

Blogger Casey S. said...

Thanks for the reminder to take a step back and slow down. I really needed this today. :)

Anonymous Stephenie said...

I have taken on the challenge and practice of having my quiet time before I do anything on the computer. God has rewarded me in my efforts, but some days it really is a challenge to not jump on the computer first thing. Just today in my quiet time I confessed that sometimes I spend that time more eager to get it crossed off my list so I can move on to the next thing. Your post today explains exactly what I was feeling. Thank you Lord for pointing this out to me in more ways than one. I love when He does that.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Renee, I would love to hear more about how you sorted out your priorities too. I know that I need more time with the LORD, but sometimes feel overwhelmed by work, home chores, and developing my new marriage... let alone friends, and the ministry that I am involved in. Any suggestions?

Blogger Joy in The Truth said...

Oh, are right...we need to seek Him more rather than just serving Him more. He is so faithful because as we seek Him in His Word, He fills us and satisfies us with every good thing.

And congrats to the winner of Wendy Blight's book! I have it in my "on deck" short pile of books to's up next! Can't wait to get to it! :)

Hugs to you, Renee. And thanks for your sensitivy of heart through the Holy Spirit toward me! Love you!

I can't remember a season in my life that has known so much busy. A couple of weeks ago, I called my husband at work, and while my house was completely quiet (kids at school), I still felt overwhelmed by the chaos going on around me. I felt a sort of panic attack coming on, and it felt so strange and scary at the same time.

Things are calming down a bit, but it's got me to thinking about my life and where it's headed. In many ways, I just want to crawl in a hole right now and emerge when things make sense.

That may be a long wait, my friend, but in it all, through it all, God continues to stoke the fires of his love over me, and I feel so very close to his heart. Intimacy is birthed in such seasons, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Life to full...

in more ways than one, my friend.

love u.


Blogger Renee Swope said...

Joy, thanks for sharing the Message translation. I want that life that is so much better than the one I dream of and chase after.

I also love the NLT translation:
10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

That word "satisfying" just resonates with my soul!!

I have started writing my next post to share with all of you about what happened next after "miserable" and how God began to help me unpack my full life so that I could find new life in Him.

Tomorrow is a really full day and it's already 10:30pm. I was going to post tonight for tomorrow but I need to lay my head down and get some rest. So, I'll post tomorrow night for Weds morning. Looking forward to what He holds for us to unpack together this week.

You make my life that much fuller - in the good kind of way. Thanks for sharing your hearts with me. Your words, identifying with what God's teaching me and sharing what you are learning encourage me so!


Blogger Renee and Cullen said...

I really needed this today. I have forwarded this to all my girlfriends and family. We all get so "busy" being what we think we should be that we forget what God intended us to be all along: a child of HIS. Holy and Saved for his purpose. I am going to stop and smell the roses today and every day. Life goes by too quickly to be sucked dry by being B.U.S.Y. Thank you and God Bless You.

I,too, had been given the acronym for B.U.S.Y. several years ago and have thought about it many times! I have to especially be careful to not get "lifeless" in my spiritual life....or any part of my life actually....because I am just not a very "lively" person to put it plainly. I'd rather burrow into a den and hibernate than go out and enjoy life sometimes! I so much want to change that in my life. Thanks for your encouragement today!


Blogger Praying Mom said...

Thank you so much for this post. I don't find myself just surviving, but sometimes- fighting to survive. I really appreciate you reminding me today that Christ did give me LIFE IN ABUNDANCE... not just life!

So many times I take me eyes of God and put them on my TO DO list... thanks for the reminder to keep my eyes on Christ (occasionally looking at my list to get it done) but keep ing my focus on He who will give me the strength to get it done!



Blogger Chef Diane said...

Oh, it is so good to be back and just the right topic as well. I know for me 7 years ago my life was full of the world and God didn’t have much of a place. Sure I did the church thing and all the “Christian stuff”, but there was death in my heart and soul. It took literally getting knocked down for me to understand what God wanted from me. Today I feel more alive and fulfilled then I ever have. I am grateful to a Father that allows us to get knocked down in life, so we are able to get up again.

Blogger RefreshMom said...

I've felt that way in the past, for sure, and there are probably odd days where it creeps in again. There are days when I go on autopilot and go about my business just making sure the things that must be done get done.

The antidote for me is being intentionally intentional. Kind of like your prayer that you mentioned the other day, I look for God to reveal himself to me in the smallest details of my day. I try to find the perspective that Brother Lawrence had that takes the most menial of tasks and turns them into service. It's why the tagline for my blog is "Turning the Daily into Devotion."

It's definitely an on-going process for me, but just being aware of my need in that area helps a lot.

Blogger angel said...

Thank you so much for the article Life To The Full. Today was my first time on your site and you described exactly what I've been feeling. I have felt like a wife and mom for so long, at times I don't even know who I am. I seem to have lost myself. And to make matters worse, I have realized I have become a luke-warm Christian. As I type this I feel as though I a have also become a luke-warm wife and mom. That's depressing, and I am not gonna go on feeling this way. This is not how Jesus wanted me to live or to view my life. I am fixing to take a quick inventory of my life and be proud and content with my life and thank God for giving me life to start with. Thank you so much for giving me that verse at the right time and for all your hard work, may God Bless You!!!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Renee,

Miss you!
jennifer from the gym

Blogger lisasmith said...

the New Living says "a rich and satisfying" life.

I wish I'd visited Monday, the day I taught on this exact scripture to my Asian friends.

We discussed deep longings and how God longs to fulfill them. It was so good!

When I discovered that I'd been doing good things and not so good things instead of God things is when I took time to go to a place where I could spend time alone, quietly, with God. (For me that is my mom's house or the shower :))

I just waited on Him to give me peace as I lifted each item on my calendar and my kids' calendars to Him. The result that first year was we stopped preschool, we stopped dance lessons, we stopped tennis lessons, I stopped organized Bible study in order to refocus on my inward ministry to Christ and my homebound ministry to my children and husband. The result was a strengthened marriage, a reenergized faith and many opportunities presented. I pray about each one and go where He leads. When I pick up something I shouldn't, I get that same uneasy, unpeaceful feeling in my gut.

Thanks, Renee. Love you!!

Blogger Kimberly said...

Just checkin' in!
Praying for you with your full days this week!
Thanking the Lord I do not have ANY appointments tomorrow other than an appointment with the laundry!
K :)

So many times I find myself over-whelmed with things to do, church activities to participate in, my full time job, my 2 boys, my one son that requires more attention than my other son, dinner, bible study, a book I want to finish reading, dinner and dishes, and so much more. Before I know it the day is gone and I'm exhausted and frustrated - not giving God any glory in between all of that. Lately - I have felt God telling me and showing me to cut back - work part time - be a mom - be a wife - be a servant. I am seeking His will in my life because I want nothing more than to serve him and hear those wonderful words upon our coming together "Well done...good and faithful servant".

Seeking His Will and In His Love,

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