An encouragement to you if you are in a storm of your life or even battling depression. Here are some things you can “look at.”
Look at your watch. Trials are temporary. Sometimes, you even have a say-so in how long the trial will last. Storms don’t last forever. They end at some point.
Look at the bigger picture. It is way too easy to have your head caught up in the crisis or trouble. Take a step back if you have to have a bigger perspective. That helps you thoughtfully respond instead of reacting out of emotion.
Look around for others. You are not alone. You were never meant to do life alone. As much as you would could claim that your situation is unique, most likely a family member or a friend has gone through something like your situation and can provide a listening ear or encouragement.
Look up. The first opportunity that you have, go outside. View the expanse of the sky. Feel the breeze on your face, Listen for signs of life even if it’s a car driving by. Your sigh can be one of relief instead of despair. Remember that there is God who sees you and knows you by name.
If you’ve never done this before, lift your hands towards Heaven and open up your hands and ask God to take the heaviness that you are under. If you have never asked God to help you, then ask. If your challenges have a name or names, like names of kids, say their names verbally. God knows them.
Allow yourself the chance to be surprised. The result may not be an instant miracle. However, when you are the one who changes in the midst of the storm, then the win lasts way after the storm is done.
A verse and a short commentary before I do my churchy duties.
I found this verse to share at a baby dedication yesterday,
“How joyful are those who fear the LORD-
all who follow his ways!
You will enjoy the fruit of your labor.
How joyful and prosperous you will be!
Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine,
flourishing within your home.
Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees
as they sit around your table.
That is the LORD’s blessing
for those who fear him.” ~Psalm 128:1-4
God is worthy of respect and reverence. He is after all God. However, he is a God who always looks to bless. Think of the blessings in this short passage you just read: joyful, prosperous, fruitful, vigorous. I love that part of the family. Wife and grapes? That’s a win. Children around my table like healthy trees? That’s another win. I encourage you to look to engage with God like this and be ready for Him to bless you and your family.
“Keep looking up. That’s the secret of life.” ~Snoopy
If you were granted three wishes
you could wish for your child
Would you keep it thrifty
or would you dream wild
Would his journey be easy
or would the path have hills and valleys
Would she always be winning
or will she have to rally
Would he be just like you
or totally the opposite
How about only the good traits
remain after the filtered deposit
After all, it’s really up to you
They’re like arrows ready to be fired
One of my pastors preached a simple yet powerful message at church this weekend about remembering the cross. Jesus claimed to be God in the flesh and foretold that because he loved us, he would have to sacrifice himself on a cross for the sins of the world. Then he did just that. For those who believe that Jesus came back to life and choose to wholeheartedly follow him, they are free from their past and can move forward in life into eternity with God.
As a husband, father, son, brother, co-worker, friend, or whatever roles you have in relationship with others, it is too easy to live with guilt of all the failures in the life and all the damage that resulted. That doesn’t have to be the case. If you believe in the message of the cross then remember that today is a new day, forgiven and free from being trapped by the past. Walk forward with God like when you first believed. If you don’t believe in the message of the cross, then carefully examine why you don’t. It is the very thing that matters most in this life and the one after.
“His mercies begin afresh each morning.” ~Lamentations 3:23
She entered her apartment full of doubts. Doubts about herself. Doubts about everything. Her mind replayed the rejection and unkind words from those who roamed in her hostile world. Disappointment wore heavy on her like a straight jacket. Yet this downward spiral would end before it would rule the rest of the day. Her eyes gazed on the single object on the table. A long unloading exhale and a hopeful smile expressed her renewed hope even if it would be for just a few moments. He left her flowers in a cup.
Simple gestures can go a long way. Think about the ones you love in your house. Sometimes we don’t know what they are struggling with. Spouse had that rough day at work, kids have friendship issues at school. A kind gesture like a note or small gift and even flowers in a cup reminds that person that someone cares. It’s not a “random act of kindness” as the bumper sticker says. It is thoughtful, deliberate, and personal.
Anyone with ideas or suggestions on the simple gestures we can do for our family?
Earlier this week, I was writing a lesson for elementary-aged children for chapel time at a local school and thought of Paul’s 2 questions he asked Jesus after Jesus intercepted him on his way to Damscus to oppress the followers of Christ. Paul asked, “Who are you?” and “What do you want me to do?” (Acts 9:5-6)
Aren’t those the two questions we all have to ask?
“If you try, you risk failure. If you don’t, you ensure it.” ~Anonymous
I like this kind of math for life. “Trying > Not Trying.” If it helps you remember to step up, step out, and risk failure, then meditate on this, “Trying > Not Trying.”
Any of you old enough to remember the cartoon episodes when Sylvester the Cat would attempt to teach his son the art of bird-catching, yet he would fail every time he tried to catch Tweety Bird? That was me at this skate park 20 years ago trying to teach my son how to skate inside of a bowl. I powered about 6 feet up the side of the bowl on a skateboard when I realized I had no clue what to do next. I tried to bail out and keep my dignity, but my foot planted in the cement on my fall downward and I landed at the bottom of the pool in the splits position. I felt my hip pop and remember limping for a good month.
I think every dad has one of those failed let-me-show-you-how-it’s-done-son moments. At least my son and the kids that were there had a good laugh. If there were cel phone cameras back then, I would’ve been a viral sensation and invited to be on Ellen’s show. Do you remember your “Sylvester” moment?