Most people have supposed at one time or another that they could create an ideal life for themselves, if only they had the money or certain other resources. The quest for Shangri-La or some other utopia has existed from time immemorial, from the nobles’ sages among the ancients up to such popular entertainments as "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous." Few things are more publicly known, however, thanks to the tabloids, than what might be called "the miseries of the rich and famous," as their tinsel fantasies turn to dust.

Standing in contrast to these illusions, however, is a big vision that God is holding out to those who trust in Him and seek Him. It is known as the abundant life (John 10:10) or the "life that is truly life" (1 Timothy 6:19). It cannot be described in material terms, but we know from the word of God and those who have experienced it that it is a life of joy and peace.

It is, moreover, a life of greatness. In the writings of Peter we read that God has given us his promises so that we can partake of the divine nature. We can exercise character strengths that go far above and beyond what is possible by mere human self-effort.

In addition, following the Lord brings about a miracle of connectedness, you might call it. This occurs when people come together to share one another's lives in mentoring relationships and in groups where "the body of Christ" is made manifest. In such situations, the mission of a group is often revealed, and it can be far more than merely the aggregated efforts of the individuals composing it. Group members can begin to hear God about what their personal contribution ought to be, what the contribution of others in the group ought to be, and what the group as a whole ought to be thinking and doing.

Let's, each of us, have a time of deep quietness today, and every day going forward, a time when we are allowing God to impress on us more deeply His great plans for us, His divine design. We have to know that He desires to communicate His will to us, and not just His general will as revealed in Scripture but His particular will as it pertains to the specifics of our lives. His plans reflect His love for us and are, consequently, far beyond all that we can ask or imagine.

Jason Pankau is president of Life Spring Network, a ministry that helps pastors and church leaders develop holistic, transformational, disciple-making communities (www.lifespringnetwork.org). John Donovan is the East Coast Regional Director of Life Spring Network.  They are co-authors of Beyond Self Help: The True Path to Harnessing God’s Wisdom, Realizing Life’s Potential and Living the Abundant Life (Xulon Press). (attach this link to book title: http://www.xulonpress.com/bookstore/bookdetail.php?PB_ISBN=9781612155098)