“I have come,” Christ tells us, “that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). Sitting in Sunday service and hearing this verse read to me, a verse surely I have myself read more than a dozen times, I was struck by a sort of ‘ah-ha’ moment. As I have mentioned before, I am a person who struggles with high anxiety and perfectionism, both of which rob me of a life to the full. Let me clarify that. I allow these issues to rob me of life to the full. But hearing this verse from John that Sunday morning, I really heard that Christ does not want me to have a life limited by my mental issues, but a life to the full.
As always, when I come to a conclusion based on a Bible verse, I know that I cannot jump to too many conclusions without first sitting that verse up against the entire context of God’s word. In this case, that approach meant starting a search for how God defines a life to the full, for we know that a definition based on human desire would include things that are not important to God, like a better car or Egyptian cotton sheets.
I started my search in Proverbs, where I know that the writer propounds on what makes a wise life and found instruction such as maintaining prudent behavior and doing what is right and fair. I pretty quickly zoomed over to the Sermon on the Mount, where I found many insights into Christ’s version of life to the full. The Beatitudes tell us what comes from a life to the full: comfort, mercy, filling, and belonging to God and His kingdom. Life to the full glorifies God through good deeds, forgives and does not hold onto anger, understands that God alone is in control of what will happen, gives when asked, and follows the Golden Rule. Life to the full does not include worry, but leans on God and knows to live in this day, which has troubles and challenges enough to fill it.
My life to the full means not allowing worry or anxiety to keep me from helping others, from glorifying God by enjoying a bright day, or from doing what is right according to God’s rules. I am finding that when I give myself credit for times when I have shown courage in dealing with situations that make me anxious, I can become better at handling future situations. My new mantra is I have courage. It sounds silly, but if I really say this to myself enough times during a tough situation, I find that I really do feel better.
God wants me to have a life to the full, but that doesn’t mean I am off the hook. It doesn’t just get handed to me. I need to live a Christ-like life, and I need to do my best to conquer my demons. Knowing God has plans for me to live to the full helps in the daily battle that is living. I pray it helps you, too.