[Inspired by Jesus Calling: January 7]
Thinking positively is a constant struggle for me. When things get rough, the need to persevere isn’t a feeling that comes naturally to me. If I mess up or events don’t occur how I want them to, my immediate reaction is to shut down and think negatively. It’s a defense mechanism at it’s most basic roots; lowering expectations creates less room for disappointment.
Taken on a walk along the river
Positive thinking is one thing, but the fact that by thinking negatively I am turning my back on God’s will is more than enough cause for change. When I am low, I need to remind myself to whom I belong. I should bring my mind back to a place where my heart can rejoice in the salvation that He has given me, the unfailing love that has been bestowed upon me with no merit (Psalm 13:5).
Every good and perfect thing comes from the Lord. Every perfect sunrise, every beautiful beach, every spring flower, and every blessing. This is not the idea that I have trouble with; God creates beautiful and wonderful things for me everyday. I have been blessed with an incredible university, wonderful friends, and a pretty perfect life. I have no doubt that these gifts are directly from above. (James 1:17)
The Lord’s steadfast love endures forever. He is with me even in the hardest of times. He never forsakes me, He never leaves me, and He won’t let my foot slip. Oftentimes, my hardship draws me closer to the Devil and further away from Christ. In my most desperate times, my first thought is not to go to the Father of salvation but to depend on myself for strength, forgetting that the greatest strength comes from above. (Psalm 106:1, Psalm 121:3)
Faith doesn’t make things easy; it makes them possible. Faith isn’t defined by the highs but by the lows. When faced with dark times, how do you react? Do you take refuge in sin? Do you continue to walk to Christ and seek shelter in Him?
Taken after a workout at the school gym
I’m finally beginning to realize what faith means. While things may not be entirely fun, God is using my experiences to shape me into the person I’m meant to be. When things turn out how they’re supposed to, I can tangibly see God working in my life. Everything is a lesson. People have come and gone, experiences have passed, mistakes have been made, but looking back, it’s incredible to notice how everything worked out. When one door closes, God opens another! I’m incredibly thankful to have a Creator who plans so painstakingly my path.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3
I know that choosing joy is a constant decision; being thankful for trials and tribulations isn’t first nature, especially for me. I pray that Christ will open my heart to thankfulness, humility, and joy.