"Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow." ~ Helen Keller

Friday, July 2, 2010

Learning From Ostriches

If you listen to the news much these days, you could start to feel really bad about your life, your finances, your safety, the state of our country...lots of things. That is why I don't watch the news anymore. Not to say that burying your head in the sand is the answer, but there is a lot of power in focusing on the good things in life.

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things." Philippians 4:8 21st Century KJV

Every now in then in flipping channels I'll stop on a news show and linger for a few minutes, but never do I hear any good news. All I see and hear are doom and gloom, drama, chaos, disaster...all the things that stress me out and make me want to hide.

Maybe ostriches have it right after all. I've always heard when they are scared they just bury their head in the sand. Did you know that is not factual? I found this from the San Diego Zoo website...

"Actually, that’s a myth: ostriches do not bury their heads in the sand! When an ostrich senses danger and cannot run away, it flops to the ground and remains still, with its head and neck flat on the ground in front of it."

Well, that sounds pretty good to me also! If I can't bury my head in the sand, I am perfectly content to bury them in the covers! And there are definitely times when it is good to just be still. Contrary to conventional wisdom, sometimes the better choice is, "Don't just DO something, stand there!" Then you can hear whatever that still, small voice inside is trying to say.

Honestly, though, if I listen to enough of that garbage and gloom, it truly does make it hard for me to even get out of bed and face the day. Hiding under the covers is so much easier.

Really, what is the point of dwelling on all that bad news? And how much of it is actually real or is manufactured by others to make us feel bad so we will latch on to their agenda?

I am basically a very positive, up beat person. That is my nature, and the way I like to live. I don't want to just see the glass as half full, but overflowing. As a Christian, I know in my heart that God has good things in store for me and my family. John 10:10 holds one of the greatest promises in the entire Bible..

"I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance...to the full, till it overflows." John 10:10 Amplified

I don't want just a half empty or half full (depending on your outlook) cup of blessings. I want to live a life that over flows with all the good things God wants for me.

While I do try to avoid the negative as much as possible to protect my own mental health and keep me from sliding into depression and anxiety, I am, of course, aware of the dismal financial situation going on in our country right now. Lost homes, lost jobs, lost dreams...these are losses that are happening to people every day in every part of the country.

Our family is no exception. Though we have a nice home and my husband did not lose his job to a layoff, he did choose to give up a good job for personal reasons and had to take lesser jobs where he had to work longer and harder for less money. Of course this has made it harder to get by. Still, he was able to find work. So many have been unemployed and underemployed for month after month, unable to find anything better.

As positive as I like to think I am, I've had to fight discouragement more than ever during the past year. It hasn't just been finances. Other things have come at us, things that were unexpected, heart breaking, and unfair. Who hasn't gone through times like these? None of us is immune to difficulties.

Through it all, my husband has been steadfast, reminding me that God has a plan for us, and He will work it all out for good, encouraging me to keep on keepin on.

What a blessing to have such a man in my life as not only my partner and friend, but my greatest encourager. He is strong and faithful; Faithful in prayer, in tithing, in going to church, in setting a good example. He puts God first and does the right thing, even when the "right things" don't seem to be happening for him or us.

Today everything he has been saying for months came to fruition. He was offered a job that pays him substantially more than any job he has ever had before. This new job offers better benefits and health insurance than any he has had before. And it allows him to do the kind of work he enjoys in a setting that he enjoys, as well as plenty of time off to spend with his family. It is literally his dream job. I'm so proud of him for keeping the faith and for knowing in his heart God would come through for us.

How did this happen? We aren't any more "deserving" than anyone else, neither are we just "lucky." My husband worked hard at making things better. He didn't sit idly by and complain these last months. He kept filling out applications and sending in resumes to the companies where he wanted to work. He got up and went to his less than perfect job every day, working long hours in the hot Texas sun doing back breaking work. He kept thanking God for the promotion that was bound to come. He kept telling me things would get better.

He was so convinced God would come through, I got on board with the idea too, thanking the Lord in advance for the blessings that were already ours, but just yet to appear. Today we are thanking God for giving us exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ask, think, or imagine...just as He promised He would.

It is so easy to become discouraged these days. It seems that the news media is in the business of trying to scare people and tear them down. Don't listen to it. Open up the Word of God and find your hope in His promises.

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His promises are just as true now as they have ever been, regardless of what the newspaper, the politicians, or anyone else has to say about it. Find yourself a promise from God and latch on to it with all your heart.

This is the one I hold so close and that makes me smile every time I read or think of it.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27 NIV

I am so grateful that He does not give to us "as the world gives." The world gives us ample opportunities to be filled with anxiety, stress, and uncertainty. Jesus gives us real PEACE. And he gives it in the midst of the most difficult circumstances.

Whatever you may be struggling with today, don't give up on God. He will never give up on you. He has great and amazing plans for your life that you can not begin to imagine. Hang in there. Keep on keepin on. Be faithful. Believe. Don't give up.

God bless you today. Thanks for stopping by.