My birthday was yesterday. The first one since Clint’s passing and the first one without him in 25 years! I actually navigated it quite well and I think I have some people to thank for praying for me 😉
I’ve been contemplating the “good life” lately. What is that? Many people say so many encouraging things to me and I am sooo grateful!! Recently someone said something to me that got me thinking. They weren’t saying anything wrong, so if you’re reading this and thinking, “Wait, that was me!!”, PLEASE know I am NOT offended and am not writing to “put anyone in their place”. But, it got me thinking…really thinking!! That’s probably something I do waaayyy too often, but I can’t help it…it’s part of my DNA 😉 Here was the statement: “I know God has good things in store for you!” I have said this many, many times over the years to others and never thought about it deeply until now.
God’s been teaching me that I don’t have to chase down the “good” in life that “is to come”. I am living the life God designed for me to have and that makes it “good”. I don’t get to define what “good” is. I am only called to accept what comes, lean on Jesus through it, and choose joy/contentment as I walk this life. The beauty of all of that is this: WHEN I do those things, PEACE is the result!! I don’t have to drum up peace! It comes with making right choices and trusting the process God has me in and choosing life!
The more I choose those good things God has called me to, the more He opens my eyes to see the beauty all around me! The more I choose to take God at His word, the more I see the blessings and my focus becomes less on the trials and more on Him. I wouldn’t have chosen this path my life has taken, but I wouldn’t trade the lessons I’ve learned! I wouldn’t trade the closer walk with Jesus I’ve gained! I wouldn’t trade the deeper understanding for others that I have now as a result of experiencing soul searing pain! I’m better for all of it! And, my today and tomorrows are filled with hope and happiness because I have Jesus with me every step of the way!
WARNING! What if I don’t believe I am living the “good” life now? I am tempted to struggle to have contentment. I begin to feel unhappy/unsatisfied with what I have and unable to see the blessings that God has so graciously given me. I can only speak for me personally, but that turns me into a pessimist. I am not the mom I desire to be. I seem unable to see others who are hurting around me. I lack a desire to live this life. This causes me to not feel like I know myself. Who am I?? Then I can begin to feel depressed.
The final result for me is guilt. And, this guilt is what sends me personally into my own “death spiral”. I feel guilty I’m not the mom, daughter, sister, friend, child of the King, etc. that I feel I should be or know I can be. Jesus says, “His yoke is easy and His burden is light” – Matthew 11:30, but guilt is anything but easy!! So, what do I do??
In the book of Revelation, chapter 2, Jesus is writing letters to the churches. He tells them in verse 4, “…you have left your first love.” He then gives the “recipe” for what I can do when I find myself in a place of not trusting, not choosing to take my “thoughts captive” — “REMEMBER…from where you have fallen; REPENT (admit I have fallen and turn around) and DO the first works…” So, when I find myself in a downward spiral, I “REMEMBER, REPENT, & DO”!
We all have our own crosses to bear. Jesus is so understanding! Psalms 103:17 is one of my favorites! “For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.” Crying and feeling down is perfectly okay!! But, when I begin to become characterized by not believing Jesus’ promises, I know it’s time for some adjustment to my thinking. And, what I allow myself to meditate on is impactful to my perspective on all of life. It COULD cause me to chase down the “good” life…that being whatever I’m tempted to believe could make me “feel” better.
What trial are you going through in life right now that is challenging your faith, your hope, your happiness? Be choosy about who you spend your time with. Are they building you up in your faith or tearing you down? Maybe you don’t know anyone who is strong in their faith. Find a Bible believing church and seek out someone godly to get to know. If you don’t know where to start, ask the Pastor who he might recommend. You can also look online for a ministry called “Stephen’s Ministry”. This is a free service that many churches provide where you can find someone trained to walk with you through whatever tough thing you may be going through in life and it’s 100% confidential!! Don’t suffer alone!