The definition of surviving is this: – remaining alive, especially the death of others, continuing to exist, remaining intact.

The definition of Thriving is this – prosperous and growing, flourishing.

Now I don’t know about you, but I want to be thriving. How about you? I want to be prosperous, I want to grow into all that I was called to be, I want to flourish so that I can have an impact. I want to be strong and healthy – just like a flourishing plant.

I don’t want to be surviving! I mean, it’s OK to be a survivor of a disaster, or if we’re sick. Or recovering from sickness. But after that. Then what? Do we still stay in survivor mode? Who  would be happy with merely existing? No, of course you wouldn’t. Given the option between surviving or thriving we’re going to take the thriving option every time!

Ok – you’ve established which camp you want to be in – but just take a moment to think about which camp you are actually in. Do you spend much of your life in survivors camp? You know, getting by on meagre rations, just about keeping your head above water, just about managing to pay the bills, just about sticking to the job you hate.

Or do you spend much of your life in the ‘Thriving camp’?

What does thriving look like for you? If you were really thriving think of some words or phrases that mean thriving for you.

So maybe being contented , doing things that light you up, whether that’s in work or in your own time. Not having any financial worries. Notice that I didn’t say rich there. Not worrying about finances and being rich do not necessarily go hand in hand. No, it’s that reassurance that your needs will always be met – whether you think that comes from your own strength or from God’s provision.

OK – so we’ve established that we would all like to live in Camp Thrive (although that’s a bit of an oxymoron for me, camp and thrive don’t really go together in my book! How can you possibly thrive when you are camping?! But for the sake of this, we’ll call it camp thrive because I think it has a certain ring to it!)

So, we want to live in camp thrive and we know what camp thrive looks like, but how do we move from camp survive to camp thrive? How do we effect a change in our circumstances which means we can move from a place of existing, to a place of flourishing – of being the best version of ourselves – of being enthusiastic about our lives.?

Do you know, that we are in total control of our minds? Our minds shape our brains. When we think a thought, we actually produce chemicals that change the physical structure of our brains. Did you know that toxic thoughts, negative thoughts, can shorten our DNA strands which switch off many DNA codes – which in turn reduces the quality and ability to express emotions. Because we feel shut down by our negative emotions, we feel this in our body too. But the amazing thing is that we can reverse that shortening by creating feelings of love, joy, appreciation and gratitude. We are actually designed to be able to change the shape and length of our DNA!!

So all the fluffy stuff you might have heard about gratitude’s, saying what you are grateful for – is not so fluffy after all; it changes your brain! Every time you express your gratitude, whether that be to thank a spouse for something they have done for you, for being grateful you have a job, to prayers of thankfulness, you are literally changing the structure of your brain. So your brains structure is affected by your thoughts and what do thoughts create? Feelings. And what do feelings create? Action. And what does action create? Results. The bottom line is the more toxic and negative your thoughts, the more negative your outcomes will be. The more positive your thoughts, the more positive your outcomes will be. If you want to increase your positive thoughts feed your brain with positivity. Start the day with 3 things you are grateful for, whatever your circumstances. Or any time of the day. Which leads me nicely on to the second thing that will help to create more positivity and help you to thrive:

Habit stacking Identify something that you would like to do, so maybe increasing your fruit intake, exercising more, and attach it to something you already do. So for example, you may take a break at the same time every day. Say to yourself, before I take the break I will eat one piece of fruit. Or if you have decided you want to go to the gym more, make sure the gym is on the way to or from where you normally go.  

The journey of taking those small steps, on a consistent basis will lead you out of survivors camp and into camp thrive and all that that means for you. It will take you towards your desires.  It will take you towards what lights you up, what gets you out of bed in the morning.

So. The choice is yours. You can stay in survivors’ camp where you are just getting by, existing, OR you can move into camp thrive, where you are flourishing, living abundantly – however that looks for you.