Categories
acceptance Christian Living

Waking Up to the Way Things Are

Can you relate? It’s a typical day, until something triggers an uncomfortable memory from the past. Like it or not, you spend the next few minutes reviewing a negative highlight reel from one of your worst moments.

Why does this happen?

Here’s one explanation: most people’s thoughts trend negative. According to a March 2020 TEDx talk by Frederick Imbo, of the 50,000 daily thoughts a typical person processes, only 10,000 are positive. That’s just 20%!

Stats like this make me want to eat a whole quart of expensive ice cream straight out of the bucket.

The guy who wrote the Old Testament book of Lamentations sure knew the feeling. Most Bible scholars think it was the prophet Jeremiah. He was an eyewitness to God’s judgment of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.

There’s plenty to lament, with your city reduced to rubble and your means of worship taken away. Oh, and grab another quart of Häagen-Dazs for the highway, because ALL of Judah is being exiled to Babylon.

Jeremiah understood this was divine retribution–plain and simple. God brought down the hammer Himself, due to Israel’s flagrant rebellion.

So What’s Next?

The stoic philosophers, who came along two centuries later, said to accept reality without complaint. “Suck it up, buttercup.”

Don’t call me buttercup.

Thankfully, the prophet doesn’t respond this way. First, he dwells on the bitterness of the past–watches the negative highlight reel. This is a BIG downer (Lamentations 3:19-20).

But then he brings something else to the front of his mind. Something that gives him HOPE for the future.

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” – Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)

Now we’re talkin’!

“Accept reality, but focus on the solution.”

Jocko Willink

And for Jeremiah the solution is a no brainer: “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.” – Lamentations 3:24 (NIV)

Have you noticed the only difference between the words victim and victor? Two letters. And the Good Lord can turn them better than Vanna White on Wheel of Fortune!

Amen! Do I have a witness?

“For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” – 1 John 5:4 (NIV)


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Categories
acceptance forgiveness grace Hope Justice

That’s Not Fair!

slippery foot dangerous fall
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Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging.” says God. “I’ll take care of it.” Romans 12:17-19 The Message

It’s a privilege to spend most of my days teaching four and five-year olds. The miraculous mix of wonder, authenticity, and innocence found in young children is indeed a balm for the soul.

What a pre-kindergartener feels is right on the surface-there is no mask. Such an, “always keeping it REAL” approach to life is inspiring.

Take, for instance, my most recent encounter with a pint-sized Italian girl who speaks almost no English. Twice during class she abruptly stood up, put her little hands on her hips, and bellowed,”Non e giusto!” in her native tongue. A quick check with Google Translate solved the mystery. She was saying, “That’s not fair!”

Of course, it was something relatively insignificant–to an adult. Someone took her place in line; she didn’t get a turn. “Calma per favore,” I said in a pleasant voice–“Calm down, please.”

The next morning, I read the scripture above during my devotional time. Then God whispered, “You know, David, you act like a preschooler sometimes; you let people push your, “That’s not fair!’ button.” I have to admit, He’s right.

I often judge myself by my intentions but judge others by their actions. I take offense and contemplate vengeance without knowing all the facts. I presume to be wiser than God.

#bad recipe

According to Jesus, our response to an offense should be forgiveness (Luke 6:37). We are to desire justice, (Micah 6:8) not revenge.

“Calma per favore,” says the Almighty. “I’ll take care of it.”

Categories
acceptance change Christian Blog

The Times They Are a-Changin’

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“To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

“What is your name?”, I asked a patient in the Alzheimer’s unit where I visit once a month. “My name is *Ellen,” she replied, “but it will change.”

Apparently, there are those who know they have dementia and those who do not. Ellen is in the first category, but seems to take it in stride.

I decided to leave the conversation at that, but wondered what this kindly woman had once done for a living. Judging by her answer, she could have been a famous philosopher.

The scripture above says life is GUARANTEED to change–just like the seasons. It’s beyond our control; Summer turns to Fall and Winter is next. All one can do is prepare for the inevitable.

Is it just me, or does the free acceptance of fate sound a little depressing? Maybe that’s why, in this age of social media, there aren’t many “Ellen’s” posting about themselves with brutal honesty on FaceBook or sharing unvarnished self-truths on Twitter.

Who wants to be vulnerable?

Yet, in my new friend at the Alzheimer’s unit, there seemed to be no fear of embarrassing exposure. Ellen, even in her present condition, is keeping it REAL.

Going forward, I intend to do likewise.

Prayer:

God, you know the way I feel, You knew it from the start.
Show me what’s really REAL; guide and guard my heart. AMEN

*Not the same name she said–to protect her privacy.