Monday, January 12, 2009
Embrace the Place Where You Are
When we were growing up, we formed a mental picture of who we were based on the conditioning we received from our culture and family. We kept dwelling on this picture until we decided that our identity was synonymous with the image we had of ourselves, but it is so dysfunctional to keep the past alive or to project ourselves into the future. We may be saying to ourselves, "Someday, when this, that, or the other happens, I am going to be happy and at peace", but Paul says in Philippians 4:11, "For I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content." We can be peaceful inside no matter what is happening outside because we can choose how we feel about ourselves, others, and the world. Many people are not happy with where they are in life so they worry, try to reason things out, and then try to change things that only God can change. Joel says, "I believe that we create much of our own unhappiness by constantly resisting and fighting against situations and circumstances occurring in our lives." Carl Jung said, "What you resist, persists." We need to relax and accept the place where we are. Is it easy? Well, no. We have been conditioned to wrestle with life and resist our circumstances, but great peace of mind occurs when we REALLY turn things over to God. If we relax and give up worry and stress, we can start enjoying life. That doesn't mean we can't be honest and pray that things will be different, but in the end, we know that God has the final say. If we believe that our God is loving and has our best interest at heart, it is so much easier to give up our struggles. Romans 8:28, my favorite verse, says, "All things work together for good to those that love God." God won't automatically remove every challenge because we have to go through some things to refine and develop our character. That is for our own personal growth, but if we have the right attitude, we will come through these challenges stronger and better than ever. The thing is: GOD wants to give us a GOOD life and fulfill our DESTINY more than anyone. He put a dream in our hearts, and He will direct us to it. At the same time, we need to trust that He knows the big picture. He knows when there is danger ahead or the timing is not right. So with the little knowledge we have that allows us to "see through the glass dimly" (I Corithians 13:12), we need to trust that He knows when something or someone will be a distraction that hinders our destiny. Some of the very things we may be frustrated about right now will be the very things at which we look back in the future with a great deal of gratitude. I remember when my teaching job was RIFed because of budget cuts. I was so heart-broken. Today I am so grateful for the opportunities I've had as a guest teacher to meet so many kids in the district, and mostly I'm grateful for the flexible schedule it has given me so that I can take care of my family. Let's stop being short-sighted and start embracing the place where we are TODAY.