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Happy Hearts

5 We have been made right with God because of our faith. So we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through our faith, Christ has brought us into that blessing of God’s grace that we now enjoy. And we are very happy because of the hope we have of sharing God’s glory.And we are also happy with the troubles we have. Why are we happy with troubles? Because we know that these troubles make us more patient. And this patience is proof that we are strong. And this proof gives us hope. And this hope will never disappoint us. We know this because God has poured out his love to fill our hearts through the Holy Spirit he gave us. (Romans 5:1-5 ERV)

Almost no one equates troubles or problems as some 'thing' they are to treasure, much less enjoy! In fact, we do all we can to avoid troubles - even creating "troubleshooting guides" in every user manual for items from small appliances to gigantic industrial machines. We want to know 'what' can cause the problem, what 'steps' to take to no longer have the problem, and to be completely reliant on the fact things will 'run smoothly' now that the troubles are reversed. I might not actually want to admit this, but the whole basis of my job is to be a 'troubleshooter', for all that I seek are ways to improve processes that need a little tweaking to allow us to perform at our 'peak'. This means I often have to look for the 'problems' in the process in order to identify where it is we need to focus our attention. Discovering the problem is the first step to creating, or allowing the creation of a solution.

I will be the first to admit - there are times when we 'over-think' the problem, allowing us to miss the very thing that we should be focusing on in the first place. This almost always happens when we assume the position of being the 'victim' in the problem. Let me explain. The 'victim' role includes picking apart the issue from as many perspectives as we can possibly create within our minds while allowing our emotions to dictate the 'mood' we attach to those various scenarios we tell ourselves. The scenarios don't have to be realistic to be "believed" in our minds. What is believed in our minds will soon begin to be what influences our actions and leads us to make decisions that differ from what we normally would make if those 'believed scenarios' weren't influencing us.

An example might help here. We hear that the stock market is 'about to crash'. Someone is predicting the 'turn' in the market as the result of something happening way across the ocean on a totally different continent than where we live. We have a couple of choices - either pull what is invested in our stocks back out of the market, or ride it out. The choice for each of these decisions can be riddled with all kinds of emotions, though. Each of these emotions can create a bit of 'havoc' in our lives simply because they generate a huge amount of 'hormones' that keep us in a sense of anxiety, fear, or even thrill. If we are told very 'believable' stories that we attach some significant amount of emotion to, we will likely be swayed to 'act' one way or another. 

The things we 'tell ourselves' aren't always connected with the reality of the matter, though. We can hear the slightest change in the noise our engines or brakes are making and all of a sudden we think we need to take the car to the mechanic. The fact may be we have driven through very dusty roads, allowing grit to build up on the braking system and now we are hearing the added friction of that grit being worked over the rotors as the brakes begin to be applied. What we may need is a car wash with a good spraying down of the wheels, rotors, etc. One scenario tells us we need to spend hundreds for new brakes - the other tells us to spend an hour washing the car!

In life problems, there are always the stories we tell and the ones that are the truth. They can be one and the same, but depending on the emotions we attach to the stories we tell (and those told to us by others), we can get way too far removed from truth in what we soon begin to believe about the problem. When we are tempted to jump on some band-wagon that will move us one direction or another, it may be the perfect time to just pause and sort out what it is we 'know' and what it is we are being 'told' or 'telling' ourselves. If we don't know, then we go to the source of all knowledge - Jesus himself. 

If we still don't know, we simply rely upon what we know is true - his Word and the truth of his love. Let these guide what we do next - for we rarely will assume the 'victim' posture when we understand that God NEVER violates his truth, nor does he ever do things that conflict with the intense love he has for each of us. Just sayin!

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