I’ve often quoted my Jesus Calling devotional before (I HIGHLY recommend if you want a quick minute long read of a morning) because it is seemingly always relevant to a life circumstance I’m facing or a friend is facing. I start my day with it. It helps me be more introspective, which I think is important. I make a regular effort to search my heart for things that aren’t kind, honest or true to what I believe or how I want to live my life. The devotional often gives me the perfect words for a friend or loved one who is on my heart that morning. Anyway, it’s an excellent way to start your day.
Speaking of, this morning (April 6th) was particularly appropriate. I was talking with a friend the other day who is dealing with her fair share of life’s difficulties. In our discussion, we both agreed that even though the stuff she is dealing with is the real deal and extremely tough, it’s life. You know that thing that happens that can knock us to our knees? Yeah, that thing. That thing that brings us broken/hurtful relationships, illness, death, people we love with complicated issues, crummy jobs, you name the ailment, that’s it. And though it’s all reallllllllly tough and typically reallllllllly complicated, I encouraged her in the midst of her difficulty to find something to be grateful for. Even just the simplest of things. Gratitude and thankfulness keep our hearts from becoming bitter and resentful, which always leads to more damage, both in our own lives and the lives of those we love. As it said this morning (using the story of Adam & Eve being dissatisfied with all God’s gifts He had given them),
“When you focus on what you don’t have or on situation that displease you, your mind also becomes darkened. You take for granted life, salvation, sunshine, flowers and countless other gifts from Me. You look for what is wrong and refuse to enjoy life until that is “fixed”.
It’s so easy to jump to this conclusion when something (ahem, life!) isn’t fair or something doesn’t work out the way we had hoped. I think about my own situation and how wronged I felt (and sometimes still feel) when Elena was injured. Gosh, it still gets me worked up. But Chad and I both made a promise that we would NOT focus on the what happened and the aftermath of emotions. We knew it would rob us of the ultimate blessing of it all….that she lived and every day I can kiss her and wrap her up in my arms. Not to mention the infinite amount of blessings she has been to others and we have received as a result of what happened. When you’re given a gift, it’s up to you how you will allow your heart to react….with gratitude and appreciation or bitterness and feeling gipped. We are all selfish by nature, and it’s hard to fight against what we want sometimes, and who doesn’t want things to go their way all the time?! But the fact is, life happens and it’s hurtful and most certainly unjust. I keep reminding my friend (and myself quite frankly) that it’s how we react to the hurt, how we learn from it, how God uses it to grow us, that matters. The best medicine for it? Gratitude. It’s against our human nature but I know firsthand, when you look at what you have, what you’ve been given, what is around you, and give thanks for it, your perspective changes. And guess what, you’ll be thankful for it!
It’s a good reminder to us all, no matter what circumstance we are going through, no matter what injustice we are facing, try not to focus on what’s hurting, what’s missing but all that you DO have. You may be surprised at what you find……
In case you want to buy Jesus Calling…..