October 23, 2017
When Your Whole Life Stinks
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things (Philippians 4:8, NIV).
Friend to Friend
Do you ever have a hard time seeing the bright side of things?
I do. After pulling all of our luggage, pillows and boxes from the car, I plopped on the couch in my brand new home, in a brand new city.
It's not safe enough here, in this neighborhood. They are doing construction right next to us. There are no families around.
The anxious thoughts were eating my moment of joy.
The previous night didn't help. Our train ride to the new home was horrendous. We slept in the passenger car. My three-year old daughter pleaded in 30-minute increments for a tissue for her nose. The door rattled. The train leaned in, then out, as it went down the track. I slept for half an hour.
It's easy for me to see what's wrong instead of what's right. Things that stress me instead of what God has put there to bless me. Everything annoying, disturbing and wrong instead of the things that are right.
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." (Philippians 4:8)
What about you? What does your mind go to? What do you reflect on?
You know, that morning after our horrendous night on the train, I saw a woman I'd met earlier. After smiling, I asked her, "How was your night's sleep?"
Her answer? "Good, I got some naps in."
She chose to speak what was good rather than sinking into what was bad. She still smiled, her eyes looked happy and her face seemed ready for the day.
Later, I passed by my cabin neighbor. She recounted the night by saying, "Last night, I was awake. So all I did was stare at the beauty of the wide-open skies. You should have seen the stars. They were magnificent."
Again, this woman chose to find the find the good in the bad.
What is the good in your bad?
God has left it for us, if we choose to see it. We can see Provider God over our anxiety. We can see hope rise above uncertainty. We can see little lights shine out from our vast darkness. We can give thanks for spurts of goodness when everything else is blah.
We can always:
- Praise God's character.
- Give thanks for eternity.
- Remember the good times.
- Dwell on God's promise that He'll always be with us.
- Decide to truly believe God is our Provider.
When Jesus came into this dark world, He brought goodness. And even better, He left it. Our job is to search it out, to draw it near, and to return to thinking about it, even when we're prone to forget. This keeps our head up and our hope strong.
Dear Lord, things often go wrong in my life. They often don’t turn out the way I plan. Yet, one thing is true – You. Help me to rely on You, to trust You and to see You in all things. Help me to know my strength in Christ Jesus. Help me to lean on Your promises in my time of need. May I know the depths of Your love.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Think of your greatest annoyances and complaints. Rather than thinking of what you detest, count up what is true, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy and think about them. Make a list.
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Originally published Monday, 23 October 2017.