May I be so bold as to tell you the truth? I'm pretty much lost, I see no changes, and I'm tired. My kids do as they please with no thought to anyone else, no respect for me no matter what I say or do. My life is a mess... no money, no car, not much hope of change... I'm scared coz summer is almost here... I HATE summer, I'm alone all the time, does Jesus even know I exist? I haven't felt His touch for months and months... I can't find Him... can't fight any more ... This is where I exist... if this is the abundant life... I don't want it. I put smiles, I go thru the motions, but nothing is changing... and I can't climb out alone.
My response is in Green:
I like it when people are bold, because I am bold too. I hope that is what you want. You did not really tell me if you are a Christian or not, but I assume you are since you mentioned Jesus, etc... However, there is more to being a Christian then just having your sins forgiven. Many people miss that point but it is an important point. It is a relationship and like any relationship it takes work to maintain. God loves you, but He is not a genie in the sky who gives us our every desire. I am not trying to say that is what you think, but I am trying to make the point that the abundant life is not so much a physical thing as it is a spiritual thing. If you look at the disciples you will see that all of them with the exception of John who was boiled in oil but lived, were martyred. Now from a human aspect they could have all said "So this is the abundant life?" But they didn't, they even praised God when they were beaten because they were found worthy to share in Christ's suffering. Now again I am not saying you have to look forward to suffering, but I am saying that if you think that as a Christian your life will be one of pleasure you are sadly mistaken and your focus is wrong.
Our focus needs to be first on Christ and then on eternity. If our focus is on this life, then we will miss out on what God has for us. Jesus explained that if we are going to follow Him, we have to deny ourselves and pick up our cross daily. Our cross is not our spouse or our kids. We tend to have wonderful thoughts of the cross because that is where Jesus paid for our sins, but when He mentioned the cross to the people around Him, they would have known He meant a form of death. He was saying that we have to put self to death daily in order to follow Him.
I have mentioned all of this because of some of the things you said. You said you see no changes and you are tired. Well Jesus addresses that too: (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV)  "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Rest for your soul, isn't that what you are looking for? If so then you know where to find it, but I admit it is not as easy as just understanding it. You need to give your whole self to Christ and that means whole self, not just part. That means praying that He will control your life instead of you controlling it. It also means that you realize that some things from the past won't be instantly taken care of. For example your kids, they are not going to change just because you fully give you life to Christ, but it does mean that God will be there to help you cope with their lack of change. See some times it is not that God takes problems away from us but that He helps us handle them in a why that is pleasing to Him.
You are absolutely right you can't climb out of this alone. First and foremost you need God's help, but you also need the help and support of other Christians. If you are not going to church then you are giving up that resource of help and support. You need to read your Bible everyday, because God tells us that is where our faith comes from. There are no short cuts and I won't tell you the road is easy, but it is worth it.
E-Mail Ralph (whose comments are in green)
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