Skip to main content

Muddling through?

There are some of the instructions in the Bible which we just don't "get" because they seem so counter-intuitive to what life sends our way.  Whether it is "turn the other cheek", or "give and it shall be given to you", the instructions seem a little "opposite" of what most of us would think as being "rational" or "sound reasoning".  Turning the other cheek means I may get hit again - resulting in TWO wounded parts, not just one.  Giving what I have doesn't seem to make sense because everyone knows we need to have a "nest egg" of sorts to fall back on, so if I give away something I may need down the road, what sense does that make?  For most of us, the thought of being "cheerful no matter what" is almost as counter-intuitive as the other two.  Yet, this is the way God want us to live - so it behooves us to understand how to incorporate these attitudes or actions into our lives.

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. (I Thessalonians 5:16-18 MSG)

Bad stuff doesn't elicit high spirits and praise from me most of the time - how about you?  When the stuff hits me like a load of bricks, I seldom just jump up and down with the lightest of spirits and embrace it with an ungrudging attitude.  In fact, I want to whine a little!  I want to throw a pity party - not a celebration of praise!  Yet, God doesn't want us to live in misery - even when the "bad stuff" comes our way.  So, figuring out how to "deal with" the things we might not think of as remarkably wonderful in our lives is pretty much not an option in his eyes!

Really, the crux of our instruction comes not in the reminder to "be cheerful no matter what", but in the next two instructions of "praying all the time" and "thanking God no matter what happens".  These two actions result in a change of heart (and attitude) which actually helps to "deal with" the bad stuff which has landed in our laps.  Prayer is more than words - it is an attitude of heart and mind.  I don't spend a whole lot of time in what some might call "structured prayer".  I do spend a whole lot of time in purposeful consideration of the issues at hand and thoughtful repose before God waiting on him to give me a little revelation into the next step I should take.  Prayer is more than the words we utter - it is the attitude of heart and mind we maintain when we are faced with the stuff we don't understand.

In other words, God is reminding us to keep our minds attentive on him and our hearts affixed to his.  These two actions do more to keep us from begrudging the circumstances we may find coming our way at times than any other actions we might take.  Wherever our minds tend to wander, that becomes the focus of our hearts.  So, reining in our thoughts is often the first step we take in facing things with a cheerful heart.  

Thanksgiving is something which stems from a right perspective.  Whenever we see things as "unfair" or "one-sided" it is usually because we only have our eyes on ourselves.  God's instructions to be cheerful at all times and be thankful no matter what happens requires us to look beyond ourselves and see the vastness of the world around us.  We need the "bigger picture" perspective.  When we look beyond ourselves, we often begin to see how the "load" we may be asked to carry today is actually helping someone else be relieved from a burden they have been carrying for a while all alone. 

Thanksgiving is really a sense of gratitude - being cognizant of the blessings we have, but also of the need to sometimes step up our game to go beyond what we are comfortable doing.  We have been given so much - more than we actually need in truth - so learning to be grateful even in the times we are asked to carry a little more than what seems "fair" at the moment is truthfully just a response of heartfelt appreciation for the many blessings we actually have.

Cheerfulness is the attitude of heart and mind the world often sees long before anything else.  They may not know our many blessings for which we are grateful for, nor may they realize how much we rely upon our "secret conversations" with the one who knows the end from the beginning.  What they do see is our attitude of heart.  So, our instruction is to continually display the heart of Christ - even when the going gets a little tough.  We have the resources to make it through - we just need to maintain the right attitude in the journey.  Just sayin!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce

Scrubbed Up and Ready to Go!

Have you ever considered just how 'clean' your hands really are? In nursing school, I remember this exercise we did where we rubbed hand lotion on our hands, then were told to go scrub them to practice a good handwashing technique. Most of us were going the extra mile by scrubbing back and front, in between the fingers and then even up above the wrist area. Surely our hands were clean, right? We came back to the room for the 'inspection' of our handwashing jobs only to find our instructor had turned the lights off, had a black light set up, and inspected our hands under that glowing beast! Guess what else 'glowed'? Our hands! The lotion was 'laced' with this 'dust' that illuminates under the black light, allowing each of us to see the specific areas around cuticles, under nails, and even here and there on our hands that got totally missed by our good 'handwashing' technique! What we thought was clean really wasn't clean at all. Clean

Doubt isn't a bad thing

I would like for you to consider for a moment what this journalist was attempting to share in his words: " Who never doubted, never half believed. Where doubt is, there truth is - it is her shadow ." (Ambrose Bierce) Have you ever doubted? Then it is suggested you were at least at the place of some form of belief. Have you ever considered what your doubt was attempting to reveal to you? Perhaps doubt is not a bad thing because it points us to consider the truth of a matter. Where doubt is - - - there truth is. It may be in the shadows, but it is there! We need only look a little closer and we will find truth has never been far from us.  The revelation of God is whole and pulls our lives together. The signposts of God are clear and point out the right road. The life-maps of God are right, showing the way to joy. The directions of God are plain and easy on the eyes. God’s reputation is twenty-four-carat gold, with a lifetime guarantee. The decisions of God are accurate dow