Deepest conviction as of late: My need to focus on the good.
This world has enough cynics. It is good to be aware of what is going on around us. It is right to be mindful of reality and not to be ignorant. Ignorance, after all, is not bliss. Ignorance is a band-aid for a wound that festers underneath. It may not be seen, but the problem remains. However, it is in our human nature to spend much more time thinking negatively about ourselves rather than positively. Everything around us tells us that we are not good enough. There are terrible things happening every day that give us reason to lose hope. Why feed that? Why live hopelessly, and with a heavy heart? Why not offer encouragement to those drowning in grief? Why not choose joy over sorrow? Why not search for the good in life, and in doing so inspire others to find it? A life filled with angst will leave you feeling distraught. It causes depression and voids your life of any contentment. The more we focus on our sufferings, the more we lose sight of our blessings. We get so caught up with what is not right in our lives, that we forget the things that are right. The things that are good. The abundance of blessings we have, or have had. We lose touch of the reality of joy that surrounds us, because we fear our joyfulness might offend others. God's desire for us is not to live in guilt, and sorrow. He wants us to be mindful of the things we can and cannot change. He does not want us to tolerate injustice, but instead to seek restoration and peace. However, no matter what we face in this life, He does want us to choose joy. His grace allows for that. He calls us to live in it.
To be honest, it is quite difficult for me to live this way. There are so many things that upset me. There is so much unfairness in this wicked world. I am often consumed with anxiety, and a desperation for change. Yet, I know that hope is here. It is available. I can still seek change, while maintaining optimism. If I do not have a joyful heart, then perhaps I need to check my motives.
A great friend once told me, "I don't think God desires for us to be constantly distressed. The pursuit of perfection in Christ will always show us our limits, our failures, our shortcomings, but let us never forget the tension we live in - it has been finished already. We are second life."
Lord, do a work in me. Let me delight in your promises. Give me a spirit that rejoices in your goodness. Amen.