Thursday, November 8, 2012

What Do We Do Now?

Yesterday's post seemed to strike a chord with quite a few of you.  I'm thankful I'm not alone.

I mentioned yesterday I would address today some ways we could possibly begin to reclaim our way back on the right path.  The path of  responsibility, self-respect, forgiveness, love, patience, self-control, peace, joy, kindness, abundance.

So many thoughts race around my brain whenever I begin to unpack this.  I've read so many books (and blogs); remember, I love to read.  While most of them approach this topic from myriad perspectives, the majority of them have some element of gratitude in common.

Keeping a journal.

Focus on what you have, not what you don't.

Be thankful.

Be thankful in all circumstances.  (That's a doozy.  Still working on that one.)

Appreciate the things and people in your life.

What all these remind me to do is shift my focus.  Away from me.  Back to others.  Back to God.

This doesn't mean I never consider myself or my own needs.  It doesn't mean I simply sit back and allow others' decisions to dictate and control my life.  And it doesn't mean my needs aren't important.

They are.  But so are everyone else's.  Why?  Because God created them.  God loves them just as much as He loves me; just as much as He loves you.  Jesus came, died, and rose again for me.  Jesus came, died, and rose again for you.  Jesus came, died, and rose again for them.

So, in practical, everyday, down-and-dirty do we do this?  What do we do now?

I've told my daughter many times that if everything seems to not be going your way and everyone is getting on your nerves, there's a strong possibility that the problem is with you.  And when we are presented with this, our best course of action is to take a step back.

Keep a journal.  Think of at least 5 things that you are thankful for today.  Write them down.  Read over them throughout the day.  During especially difficult times in the past, I've even written them on an index card and kept it with me.

Do this every day.  Slowly, your heart and focus will shift.  If you're anything like me, you'll forget one day.  Or life will actually be ok, and you won't feel the need to take a few minutes and intentionally shift your focus.  Maybe two days will go by.  Maybe a week.  Maybe even a month.

The beauty of all this is that no matter how long it is between moments of putting pen to paper, God's mercies are new every day.  Every day is a chance to start over.  Clean slate. Fresh start.  Blank page.

And if you're thankful for nothing else, be thankful for that.

God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
    his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
    How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
    He’s all I’ve got left.

~Lamentations 3:22-23 (The Message)

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