Wednesday, September 14, 2011

For when things are going well

I spoke in chapel yesterday, and shared a story from my own high school experience about the first time that my friends and I came face to face with death and loss (a friend of ours lost her father unexpectedly). Though we were shaken, and though we'd never put any energy into talking about our faith as a group of friends, we responded by praying and worshiping together--striving to know God better as we sang and prayed on a cool October night in Lynden, while watching the northern lights. It was an amazing night, but of course, it came to an end and we quickly settled back into our old patterns of not discussing our faith.

My overall point in chapel was similar to a lot of what I've been writing about on this blog over the past month: we absolutely need to find rest in God. When troubles come, it is so easy to become distracted, or to try to find rest, shelter or escape somewhere else. However, true peace can only be found in the arms of our loving Father.

That's when things aren't going well. What about when life feels good and we're happy, content? I know that for me, personally, if I have a really good day in the classroom, or am really pleased with how a chapel speech went, my first instinct is to think "yeah, I'm pretty awesome." My success, I attribute to myself. How lopsided is that? I share my struggles, worries and stresses with God, lay them at His feet, but as soon as good things happen, I stand and walk away, look in the mirror, and strike a pose.

We need to recognize that God is the source of every blessing in our lives--not just good things that happen to us (seemingly coincidental events sometimes), but our abilities, our talents, our good decisions--all of this comes from God! So, at the end of a good day, the only grateful response is to bring all of those good things before God as well as the things that hurt and stress us. It's the only way that we can grow--if we believe that we're the source of the good things that happen in our lives; that good things happen because we're awesome, then we'll become that much more despondent and disillusioned when things don't go our way. If we rightly acknowledge God as the source of those good things, that each blessing is a gift, we'll be more inclined to treat the good in our lives wisely, value those times and qualities in ourselves all the more, and seek out the good even in a painful situation. When we view the joyful times in our lives in this way, we cannot help but fall at the throne of God and worship... and that's a source of true joy.

I wish I could follow my own advice and reflections, but so often I selfishly hoard the good things that happen to me and refuse to show the gratitude that I should. Lord, grant me the wisdom to bring before you all that I am--not just my struggles but my successes as well...

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