For weeks the rain has been falling. It's a good thing because of the lack of snow melt. There are times it is so heavy you can't drive and have to pull over and wait. When cloud cover is heavy, it causes some folks to want to roll over and sleep more. I'm not among them. It's daylight and I'd be “burnin daylight” according to John Wayne (From the Cowboys,) if I didn't rise to the occasion and get my day started.
Notice how I've missed using the words damp, dreary, dark, foreboding, depressing etc.. Those are things I wade through each morning when I go through Facebook posts and hide them from myself and others before they have a chance to enter my soul. Yeah, those words may be things that cross my mind or be part of how I feel, but I don't give them life by speaking them.
Negative self-talk is popular as people replay the broken record of “I have a right to express how I feel!” You do, but if you're always complaining about how unhappy you are and never look for the bright side of things, that is where you will remain. Depression is a hole you have to crawl out of while it continues to pull you backward.
Looking for other people or things to make you happy is like winning the lotto, probably not going to happen because much of your happiness and mine is found in our own hands. We have to make the choice of looking for the positive perspective of life by seeing what we do have instead of pampering ourselves by finding words that agree with our mood.
That's the reason I do a lot of deleting of negative posts-they defeat, deflate and delay any chance I have of responding to every situation I experience and seeing a positive side in my life. When you know the person posting copied the saying from a sight with the word depression in it, you know it will coddle your low feelings.
I can compare this to losing weight. I know, bad subject. However when someone says they are having trouble losing weight and I watch as they consume not one plate but two at gatherings and then top it off by a sampling of every dessert available, I shake my head. We are our own worst enemy. By consuming three family size bags of chips each day what do you think will be the results at the end of week two, will I have lost five pounds or gained five pounds?
Discipline is a hard thing especially when we have low self-esteem and feel like we aren't worthy of anything better or we will never be good enough. If you wait to be self-motivated by these thoughts, you might wait a long time. Thankfully God settled it for all of us by stating none of us will ever be good enough, but wait, he doesn't leave us there, he instructs us on how to think and speak change into our lives.
I don't care how deprived you are, how horrible your past, how many times you have tried to do better or if you think it can't work, it does. The reason it works is because God's instruction tells us what to look for and how we should think in order to arrive at our happy place. He lets us know up front that the drama we are surrounded by contains not one iota of happiness that lasts.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things,” Philippians 4:8, NIV.
A lot of folks think of this as escaping reality. No, by changing our thinking pattern and our underlying belief system we become proactive in our search for happiness and our state of being begins to loose it's heaviness. This is where we all have to gain a good split personality and separate ourselves from all the negativeness from who we really are.
There are times I have had to force myself to socialize, sit in the sunlight and to put away the second bag of chips and read positive and self-help articles to interrupt what's going on in my mind. God also saw to it that some of the characters in the Bible demonstrated a depressed state of being and after telling us their woes, showed the turn around when they countered it with what God did or said.
So if you're someone who burns daylight because you would rather not face another day of the same old, same old, then you are someone who needs to get out of the rain, you're drowning. Change the “same old” by doing something for someone else and while you're at it, do something for yourself. Is there one thing you have put off? Do it and get some physical exercise along the way. Mentally think of what God tells you to think about and sit and write a prayer that includes your blessings. If you're breathing, moving and writing, that is three things you can start with.
While some people may need medication to help, all that most of us need is to give ourselves a swift boot and make the adjustments mentally, physically and emotionally to be happy in our daily lives. And for goodness sake smile, the world needs your example.
The rain may come down, but God will lift you up.
One of the hardest things anyone has to do is to learn to believe God's Word and put it into practice after they have read it or heard it spoken. You have in fact arrived at the door and knocked. Thoughts race through your mind. “This is silly. He can't help me. I'm not good enough. I'm not smart enough. It doesn't feel real. Other people will think I'm a fake. I'm scared.” You're not thinking anything new. Many thousands have thought the same things as they knocked and wanted to be accepted into the kingdom of God.
You have already done the hard part by identifying that you can't live life all alone and without guidance and help. God knows how many other ways you have tried to live your life without him. But something seems to be missing. It's okay to be desperate and dependent on wanting to know where to go from this point.
“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened,” Luke 11:9, 10, NIV.
Let me tell you about what your mind would have you believe; it lies to you. Unless Jesus Christ is in our lives, we haven't been renewed in our mind to know the truth of God. If we knew the truth we would already know he can help us and that no one is good enough. Deciding to knock on heaven's door doesn't require intelligence, in fact, it is the first time you are using wisdom; two different things.
Did you feel comfortable riding a bike the first time? Faith isn't easy when you begin on your journey. If your life has been anything but pristine up unto this point and you have failed and failed and failed again, you can believe people will be skeptical, but this isn't about what other people think, it's about you living for God and letting him steer your way. It's not God and you and them. It's God and you.
I have in my home a Bible that belonged to a man who went to prison. While there, he received Christ on February 2, 1994 and he began to think a different way. He gained hope and believed he could have a changed life. When he was released, he apologized to people whom he had hurt by his actions and for months lived his life with Christ by his side, including going to church with my family a few times.
His background read like a tabloid, full of abuse, drugs, drinking and criminal activity. The whole family, brothers, sister and parents were infected and lived without knowing if they only knocked, Jesus would answer and change their lives. Those who did know, couldn't be bothered by people who thought they were better than them.
Unfortunately the short stay in the half-way house was not long enough and the lack of finding good employment because of his record was unattainable. Never having taken any drugs other than those prescribed and for any long duration, I can't pretend to know the immense pull to be under the influence of their alternating state. But I do know, addiction whatever the form, is always pulling, wanting you to return to it. It then becomes a choice of which pull, God's or others, you answer to.
The man gave in to what had ruined his life before and in June of 2016 his own son found him in bed with a needle stuck in a vein. The repercussions of his death are like an unending nightmare that keeps replicating itself in his family members.
Thankfully I don't have to decide about his final resting place. That is in God's capable hands and only he can read the heart. The man knew the way. He had asked, sought and knocked. He had asked Jesus to come into his life and looked for ways to make the necessary changes. He knocked, but he grew weary and stopped knocking, stopped depending on God and found a way to make it all go away.
If you're scared, it's okay. We all are in some way, because we know that without the grace that God showed us, the man's story I related could be our own. Each person who comes, who asks Jesus Christ to be their personal savior and studies and looks at how God wants him to live daily, will be found knocking everyday. We all go astray if our mind is not renewed daily.
People ask other people or turn to the stars to find out what they should do. We are warned about both in the Bible. People seek escaping all their troubles or covering up their need of God in a lot of unsatisfying and destructive ways only to find out in the end they still have to answer to God.
Everyone who comes to Jesus comes the same way. We are all under construction and will not be perfected until Jesus returns for us, so don't let other people's comments offend you. Learn to live for Christ and not for other people's approval.
You will receive all you need and so much more from a relationship with Jesus. Along the way you will find that no one can compare to him. But once you have knocked... keep on knocking because all you're looking for is found behind the door that is opened unto you.
You can do all things when you find your strength in Him and not in yourself. Won't you give him your difficulties, your desires, your fears, your life right now? Knock, you know you need to.
“Everyone has inside them a piece of good news. The good news is you don't know how great you can be! How much you can love! How much you can accomplish! And what your potential is.”
Those are powerful words written in the diary of a young Jewish girl who along with her family were in hiding for two years during the German occupation of the Netherlands. Her diary is considered a classic of war literature. Surely someone so bright, so encouraging had a wonderful life. No, Anne Frank died in 1945 in the Bergen-Belsan concentration camp.
To have known freedom and then to be whisked away and confined in an apartment where you have to run and hide in secret places every time the enemy came around, could not have been easy for a teenager. Everything depended on her listening to instructions and then following them.
Did you every not listen to someone's good advice and end up in a bad place? Lost what you considered most precious all because you did not follow through with what you were told? Perhaps we all have in some area of our lives.
Does it surprise you that the Bible can affect our lives for the good and clearly tells us what happens when we do not? It's not a book of dos and don'ts but one of life and death, clearly telling us how to live a life that will benefit us as we serve God. I think of it as a book within a book because of the different stories given as examples of how this all works.
One in particular I'm fond of, is the story of Ruth, a down and outer who makes it to the big times by doing what she is told… but wait I'm getting ahead of myself.
Ruth was a woman who worshiped idols, not uncommon for those who don't know God. She married a Jewish man who died not long afterwards. Since his mother was in her land, she stayed with her. But one day Naomi (the mother-in-law) decided to go back to her homeland because both her husband and her two sons had died. She became very bitter.
She told her son's wives to stay in their homeland. One did and one did not. Ruth made a decision to change religions and went back to Bethlehem with Naomi because the famine had ended.
As it turned out Ruth gleaned (gathered grain) in a relatives field, so they could have food. The owner, Boaz saw her and asked his overseer who she was. He then went to her and said in today's language, “Listen up.”
Because he knew of the kindness Ruth showed to Naomi and knew their situation he gave her some specifics of what to do and not do: don't go and glean anywhere else, stay here among the women who work for me. Take notice of the field where we are harvesting and follow along after the women. When you are thirsty, go and get a drink.
Ruth was astounded and asked why he should be concerned with her or why he should give her the time of day. Do you ever feel like that when someone is good to you? Grace is hard to understand for those who have not known it.
I'm always amazed when I read how Jesus looked at people. He “beheld” people, an act of intense looking inside and really knowing all there is to know about the person he is looking at. I think that was the kind of look Boaz gave Ruth. He heard what she had done for Naomi and what she had given up.
Ruth's life had reached a point of crisis the day she left Moab and walked with Naomi. JFK said, “When written in Chinese the word “crisis” is composed of two characters – one represents danger and the other represents opportunity.” Now Ruth was faced with something she couldn't understand; grace.
“Why are you paying attention to me? Why are you so good to me? Why do you care?” Grace was the answer to all of her whys. Boaz spoke back to her with “good news.”
God cares that much for us, all the time. He can't help but love us because he is always loving. He is never going to stop looking at you once you are his.
The “good news” is Jesus. He is for everyone – the imprisoned, the frightened, the dying, those in crisis and those who want to find themselves. He is watching. He is waiting. He saves. He gives you new life. He is the way, the truth and the life that you have been searching for.
Ruth's story is a story of redemption and as she follows Naomi's wisdom, she finds herself in the middle of the linage of Jesus Christ.
Don't short change yourself. Reach your full potential through Jesus and spread the good news to everyone you meet. “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot