Abundance Without Attachment
Rector Chris Girata's latest article in the Katy Trail Weekly
The new year is upon us, and with a new year often comes the desire to live in new ways. We often call these desires resolutions. I’ve never been a fan of resolutions. I’m sure my lack of excitement about the idea of resolutions stems from the fact that I can never keep them even when I try. We certainly cannot deny that the idea of resolving to live differently will be upon us these next few weeks, but most of those resolutions will go by the wayside in a matter of days or weeks. So this year, rather than joining the throngs around us in untenable resolutions focused on our actions, what if we decided to focus on changing our hearts?
In the wake of another Christmas season come and gone, what if we ground ourselves in a simple truth: A good life is one that celebrates abundance without attachment.
It’s easy to talk about blessings when we have the sense about us that we are blessed. When we look at our material world, the world in which we live and in which we have been trained to succeed, by any measure we are very comfortable. But if we aren’t intentional about how we live with our material wealth, with our abundance, we can begin to be attached to it. Or even worse, we can be controlled by it.
Attachment can look like many different things. Some of us are attached to the security our abundance provides. Some of us are attached to the privilege and advantage our abundance affords. Many of us simply don’t think about our radical abundance because it’s all we’ve ever known and all we’ve ever been taught to want. Abundance is a part of our national identity and has been encouraged as a sign of success and achievement. For some, abundance is more than what we earn, it is our right. Yet I’m concerned about how that level of abundance affects our spirits over time.
I believe that we have been created in God’s image and that the divinely created core in us can guide our spirits, keeping us grounded and on the right track. I also believe that God gives us the gift of an abundant life. An abundant life is what God hopes for us, and through that life we are truly blessed. However, how we define abundance, and how we live into, and with that abundance, can become problematic.
If God created each of us and blessed us with abundant life, how then should we choose to live? This seems like a gigantic question, one that is almost so large that we can feel paralyzed. We know what it feels like to be energized about our lives, to feel God working in us, and to feel the drive to put that energy into the world. But that feeling can come and go very quickly. Those mountaintop moments are few and far between, and too easily, the weight of our daily lives quash those high moments. We can begin to think that responding to God, giving of our deepest gifts, is too difficult a task…but it is actually so very simple.
The profound truth is this: God doesn’t want our abilities or our giftedness. God doesn’t want our achievements or our successes. God doesn’t want our goodness or our best. God wants us. God wants our hearts, our souls, our spirits. God wants us to live lives that resemble and model His lavish love. And when we realize that we are exceedingly loved as we are, then love will overflow from us into the world.
As we look toward this new year, I am filled with hopefulness. Hope that we can and will be better than we were last year. Hope that we will renew our commitment to one another in this human family. Hope that we will each come to accept the profound love we receive from God, and in doing so, our lives will become the sacred instruments of peace that our world needs most. May this new year bless you in profound ways, and may our abundant blessings overflow into the world!
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