Why Surviving May Not Be Enough

“If I can just make it to the end of the day…”

“Things will be better tomorrow…”

From time to time those “survival thoughts” float to the surface of my mind. I often measure success by just surviving another day. Routinely, messages like the following get tossed around in my head…

  • If I can just coast through the conversation without having to deal with conflict, we will get along.
  • If my kids just take a good nap today, we’ll have a peaceful evening tonight.
  • If I can just read the Bible every day this week, I’ll start to develop this spiritual discipline.

This way of living can get tiring… real fast.

On Sunday, my pastor said something during his message that stuck with me all day: “We weren’t meant to just survive.”

Life in Christ brings freedom. I believe that. He also said that its important to remember that freedom involves not just avoiding the bad, but rather running toward the good. Now that is what I want to take hold of.

Jesus… brings abundant life (John 10:10), drives out fear (1 John 4:18), and welcomes all my concerns (Psalm 55:22).

Those are truths that I want to embrace every single day. The abundant life He promises allows me to thrive. The lack of fear in Him translates to more complete confidence. The fact that I don’t need to worry gives me freedom and peace.

Today, I will be running toward the good. I’ll be taking captive God’s truth and seizing the life that Christ promises.

How can you push surviving aside and embrace freedom today?

76 Comments

  • John

    March 7, 2011

    Oh man I needed this today.

    “Jesus…brings abundant life…” That is what I have been longing for lately. I think it all starts with having faith that God can actually make it happen. When I put my faith in Christ and let Him help me to not just survive but to thrive, it will really happen.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 7, 2011

      I think you’re right, that “God can actually make it happen”. When we open up our grip on things, let go of some control, we can see Him do some amazing things!

      Reply
  • Moe

    March 7, 2011

    I’ve lived in “survival” mode for quite some time. No more. It sucks the juice out of “joy” in my life.

    I want to take more chances, I want to be adventurous, I want to live faith, not wear it in a t-shirt.

    Reply
    • Donald Borsch Jr

      March 7, 2011

      >>I want to take more chances, I want to be adventurous, I want to live faith, not wear it in a t-shirt.
      ———————-

      Moe, spoken like a son.

      I’m right there with ya, hermano.

      Reply
    • Dustin

      March 7, 2011

      You’re absolutely right. There is joy found in the adventurous, faith-not-by-sight living. You going to paint your chest instead? :)

      Reply
      • Moe

        March 7, 2011

        Yup. I want to put a Jesus fish in my right chest and John 3:16 in my left. Than walk around in ATL looking for you! LOL

        Reply
        • Dustin

          March 7, 2011

          I promise… if you did that, I would find you.

          … and then twitpic it.

          Reply
    • Ben

      March 7, 2011

      Amen Moe, living faith out loud.

      Reply
  • Susan

    March 7, 2011

    I think that what you wrote about intentionality last week applies here. I find that intentional living combined with an ear tuned Christ-ward for His “detours” takes me past survival alone into the adventure of abundance. It is an onward growth, I think. The days that push me past my comfort zone have the effect of jolting me out of a rut that can quickly become “survival mode.”

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 7, 2011

      Thanks for your words, Susan. Funny..I didn’t think about the connection between the two posts. Also, you’re so right – onward growth for sure! (I like that phrase)

      Reply
  • bill (cycleguy)

    March 7, 2011

    Ever since the first of the year we have been fighting a dragon and sometimes I feel like I am just surviving. Then comes those flashes of freedom. The dragon reared its ugly head again this weekend (not involving worship) and now I have to push toward the freedom again. Thanks for the “push” Dustin.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 7, 2011

      you’re welcome, Bill. you have an intimate Creator that is on your side!

      Reply
  • Ryan Tate

    March 7, 2011

    Great post Dustin.

    I especially resonate with your second bullet, “If my kids just take a good nap today, we’ll have a peaceful evening tonight.”

    These survival thoughts can plague us. The “if this…than that” statements give me the idea that my life is like climbing a ladder, which is why it gets so tiring! But Jesus already climbed that ladder so I didn’t have to. But we still try to survive this way don’t we? Great thoughts on freedome and peace to think about today, Dustin. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 7, 2011

      Man, that bullet point always resonates with me…. :)
      (Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Ryan – appreciate you sharing)

      Reply
  • kevin

    March 7, 2011

    We weren’t meant to just survive. Love that. I’ve been “just surviving” for almost 365 days. Thankfully, the water is falling instead of rising now.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 7, 2011

      Pretty soon the flood will be puddles…(which little kids love to splash in btw)… You got some eBuddies that have your back here!

      Reply
  • Jason

    March 7, 2011

    I’m just surviving and I hate it. I keep asking God to help me…to live this “abundant” life He promises…and I’m still just in survival mode. And it makes me hate waking up in the morning because it’s hard to hope the day won’t be the same as the previous one.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 7, 2011

      Thanks for sharing Jason. I think its crucial to remember what Susan said above on “onward growth”.. and for what its worth, Jason, you’re MSY blog has been awesome.

      Reply
  • Jamie @ See Jamie blog

    March 7, 2011

    Great reminder. I think I should tattoo this on my forehead. Or at least tape it up on my mirror.

    Reminds me of a wonderful young man I know who recently went to heaven after a long bout with cancer: he said if we aren’t running our race wildly and passionately, then what’s the point?

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 7, 2011

      >> “running our race wildly and passionately”
      that is awesome. sounds like he was a great person to know!

      Reply
  • Sandy Sandmeyer

    March 7, 2011

    This is so true! I stopped “working for the weekend” a few years ago and it’s made my weeks that much better. Life’s too short to wish for the next moment.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 7, 2011

      Working for the weekend… I think a lot of people do that. :)

      Reply
  • Jason Vana

    March 7, 2011

    I’ve been in a somewhat survival mode mindset for a while now – especially since I never know if I will be able to pay my bills each month. I noticed my prayers going from asking God to change cities, to just asking Him to provide for my finances. Now that I’ve recognized it, I’m starting to create a dream wall in my office – with a map of the world, postings of the dreams I have in my life – just as a reminder that I don’t have to live in survival mode.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 7, 2011

      That’s awesome, Jason. Really like the idea of having a “dream wall”.

      Reply
  • Donald Borsch Jr

    March 7, 2011

    >>How can you push surviving aside and embrace freedom today?
    ——————-

    Oh, Dustin…I’m so glad you asked! Check here:
    http://abrahamchronicles.com/living-with-intentionality/

    Maybe you’ve heard of this guy. He’s pretty solid. He had some things to say about this very topic.

    I would add that freedom is sonship and covenant. It is not believing in and hoping that God will fulfill His promises.
    Numbers 23:19, anyone?

    Sons don’t survive. We thrive. We don’t find ourselves being bullied by secular concerns. We tell our secular concerns what’s what.

    You rock, Dustin. You are a son.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 7, 2011

      Thanks, D. I always appreciate that you take truth… embrace it… and then speak it out!

      Reply
  • Jim F

    March 7, 2011

    Love it! We are not meant to survive but to thrive! Great encouragement Dustin!

    Reply
  • Brandon

    March 7, 2011

    Great post!

    Reply
  • Jay Cookingham

    March 7, 2011

    I prefer freedom over survival any day…thanks Bro’

    It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Gal. 5:1

    Reply
  • Melissa Brotherton

    March 7, 2011

    As a SAHM I find myself making those statements in my head all the time:
    * Just two more hours till Josh gets home.
    * Just one more day till Friday.
    * Just five more years till they’re all in school.

    I’m not embracing what’s happening now. I feel like I constantly need to be reminded to be present and content. Great thoughts here, Dustin. :)

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 8, 2011

      Content in the present… I love that!

      Reply
  • Duane Scott

    March 7, 2011

    It is moments like these, I wish I didn’t have King Julian as my avatar.

    In all seriousness, I found this post so uniquely formatted to my life.

    “We weren’t just meant to survive…”

    Those words, along with “Come unto Me, all who are Weary”, put my day into perspective.

    Absolutely beautiful, Dustin.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 8, 2011

      thanks, DS. I appreciate the kind words.

      Reply
  • Michelle

    March 7, 2011

    Great post Dustin. I think sometimes we might go through a season of surviving, like when my Mom died. There just wasn’t joy to be had during that time. I don’t think it was wrong to feel that way or to be in a mode where I felt like I just needed to live out my day that way until I could see the hope again. David lived like that sometimes too. But to be characterized by such a thing is much different. Eventually we have to come to grips with the fact that God has not left us nor are we forsaken. I’m still working through all of that, but I’m not nearly as down trodden as I was last June. I have a hope that things are better and that God wants better for me. I don’t always know what that entails, but it isn’t just merely survival. Thanks for the thoughts.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 8, 2011

      sure thing, and thanks for your thoughts. Sorry about your loss last year.. I’m sure that was tough for both you and your family. And you’re right… I’m thankful that we do have “a hope” that God is on our side.

      Reply
  • Keri

    March 7, 2011

    Dustin…this is definitely a struggle of mine and has been since I had my first child. And, now that I have three I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above water most days. In just “surviving” I have also acquired a number of bad habits that seem to make my life even more difficult and complicated than it already is. Gotta get outta this mindset and embrace the freedom.

    FREEEEEEEEEDOM! :)

    Reply
    • Donald Borsch Jr

      March 7, 2011

      Keri,

      >>>FREEEEEEEEEDOM! :)

      I pictured you dressed up in a Scottish kilt with this huge sword and a face painted blue.

      Then I realized that would make you into Mel Gibson and I felt dirty inside.

      Reply
      • Dustin

        March 8, 2011

        Mel Gibson or not, I love Braveheart. :)

        Reply
  • Tony Alicea

    March 7, 2011

    Dreaming dude. For me, it’s all about dreaming. I read this quote the other day:

    “If your memories are bigger than your dreams, you are already dying.”

    I’m trying to live that out every day. No more of this “getting by” garbage in my life. Christ died for so much more than that.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 8, 2011

      Really like that quote, Tony. Where did you read it from?
      And I hear you… “getting by” can be exhausting.

      Reply
  • Justin

    March 7, 2011

    There are seasons in life where we do just survive…death of a loved one, death of a relationship – but, we can’t stay there, and the freedom that Christ brings to the table is absolutely life changing. Do we still have days where we just get by, sure. But now we have a promise….oh, such a sweet promise.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 8, 2011

      >>> “…we can’t stay there.”

      YES!

      Reply
  • Ben

    March 7, 2011

    Like Moe, I’m “over” that season of my life, and thank GOD. Some had to do with my job and some with my marriage, it took too much a toll and I felt it had to change.

    Just deciding to push that aside, and trusting HIS plan was perfect instead of trying to take things into my own hands, changed my life. Changed our family.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 8, 2011

      Cool to see it bleed over into the family…. Often I think I can control what I do, and how it affects just me… but in the end it’ll end up influencing the people around us. The leadership you provide for your family is so important!

      Reply
  • Adam

    March 7, 2011

    Great post… so easy to live in the mode that it becomes a rut that you can get stuck in. I feel like I have been in that rut for far to long… and I know am starting to see myself get out of that it.

    Knowing that God is God.. and His promises out weigh my own personal fears and doubt and they are able to help me conquer the day.. and not just survive it.

    Reply
    • Donald Borsch Jr

      March 7, 2011

      Adam,

      >>Knowing that God is God.. and His promises out weigh my own personal fears and doubt and they are able to help me conquer the day.. and not just survive it.

      …now we’re talking.

      Reply
    • Dustin

      March 8, 2011

      I’ll say what Donald said… that is the comment of the day! I appreciate your thoughts, Adam.

      Reply
  • Michael

    March 7, 2011

    Man, I had survived for nearly 2 years. I was in such a funk. And then it hit me. I needed to actually live.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 8, 2011

      … and we’re excited for you Michael. Great things are in store for you and your family.

      Reply
  • seekingpastor

    March 8, 2011

    Embracing each day with all of its problems and opportunities have been helpful for me. Klondike Bars are also helpful.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 8, 2011

      Klondike Heath bars? Lordy, Lordy…. so tasty.

      Reply
  • ThatGuyKC

    March 8, 2011

    Amen and Amen.
    It’s so easy for me to get caught up in this trend.
    “If I just make it to Friday then everything will be fine.” Inevitably this line of thinking leads to a weekend that flies by way too quickly and I find myself facing Monday once again.

    Great post.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 8, 2011

      My fellow cubicle dweller… oh how we are so similar at times! :)

      Reply
  • Marlee

    March 8, 2011

    AAAAAHHHHHHH! (That’s me excited because I’ve found your site)

    Hey Dustin!
    I don’t have anything to add here. I caught a glimpse you via Bryan and I’m incredibly inspired by what I see here. I love it.
    I love your boldness and your enthusiasm for the real-life application of your faith.

    Good work! Keep it up! I’ll be back. :)

    Reply
    • mo

      March 8, 2011

      I start my day with God and go back to his word often. spending time with him in the morning has been key for me.

      Reply
      • Dustin

        March 8, 2011

        Start the day out right, love it Mo.

        Reply
    • Dustin

      March 8, 2011

      Great!! Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Marlee. Bryan is a cool cat…glad you found us over here!

      Reply
  • Jonathan

    March 8, 2011

    I know that it can be so easy to get caught up in that surviving mentality. It can creep up everywhere, but when it takes hold of your spiritual life, it permeates into every other part of your life. I know for me, when I succumb to that mentality, the joy of the Christian life turns into something more of a chore, and I don’t want that at all! As you said, this walk brings us freedom, and it’s up for us to embrace that.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 8, 2011

      absolutely! and you know how much we hate chores, right? :)

      Reply
  • Jessica

    March 8, 2011

    I’ve been in survival mode for forever!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 8, 2011

      Let’s change that today…!! :)

      Reply
  • jay sauser

    March 8, 2011

    Good stuff man, good stuff. Thanks for posting!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 8, 2011

      Absolutely. Thanks for stopping by, Jay!

      Reply
  • Tom

    March 8, 2011

    Great Reminder, Thanks!

    Reply
  • Adam

    March 8, 2011

    Great stuff Dustin.
    I am a worrier, but in God I have nothing to worry about. Thanks for the reminder. I am so thankful that serve a God that gives me piece.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 8, 2011

      Thanks, Adam … appreciate your thoughts

      Reply
  • Sean Sabourin

    March 8, 2011

    Well said Dustin. Thankfully I haven’t struggled feeling this way for quite some time. I do remember at time in my life where I was feeling this way and one thing that really helped me was to remind myself of all the things that God had done in my life. He delivered me out of addiction, I married an amazing woman, we started to have kids, we were able to buy a home, we had establish great relationships with friends, we became very active in our church family and list could go on and on. I love Psalm 78. It is a Psalm of of remembrance. One other important truth I hold onto is that Jesus paid quite a price for me! His life. I have a responsibility to live a life which embraces all that He did for me. It can be a sobering thought. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 9, 2011

      What a wonderful story, Sean. You’ve seen low points and experienced rescue. That is awesome. Thanks for sharing, always appreciate you!

      Reply
  • Andy

    March 10, 2011

    I really enjoyed that post. I think sometimes Christians can even start to believe that God giving us enough grace one day at a time means we cannot use our freedom to run toward God. It is interesting to look at two different perspectives on the same thing. If we are in the flesh, we see everything as survival. When we are walking in the Spirit, we are gratifying the desires of God with the grace he gives us now.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 10, 2011

      interesting perspective- thanks for the comment, andy. I think you’re right, the flesh’s natural response is survival… doing the minimum, self-preservation, etc.

      Reply

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