Life is what we make it: we can make it a pleasure and more tolerable or we can make it miserable by the way we respond to it.
I believe I have learned a lot about responding to life’s challenges in a more appropriate manner than I used to ten years ago, and because I have, I live a much happier life.
I assume that you want the same things I do, that you want peace, joy, and happiness to permeate our lives in a positive way when we interact with those whom we associate and have dealings.
This blog is a way for me to share with you the lessons I’ve learned about “What Matters Most In Life”. I want to do this so you won’t become overwhelmed when misfortune hits you and give up on things ever getting better for you.
We cannot give up because nothing will change that’s good if we do. We can’t go backwards or stay in status quo, nothing good is there for us either! All we can do is accept the challenge and move forward, trying to change our perspective and the way we respond to life and it’s challenges.
If we cave in to the negatives of life and focus on what we don’t have, we miss the blessings and the joy that life also provides but we’ve become too jaded to notice. Doing this will NOT make our lives any more tolerable, just more miserable.
Look at your life and then turn around the negatives you see into a positive. It may take a lot of effort to find the blessings at first but before long, you will see them easier and more frequently.
Let me give you a few examples of what I mean.
Story #1: We had just received a huge income tax refund, which is NOT a usual for us. We actually had almost $5,000 in our tax refund check. We had the check for a short time before we had an emergency.
Our toilet had overflowed. Even though the water was clear, it was still considered black water and was contaminated. I didn’t know that at the time and so I was soaking up the water with towels and washing them. However, washing them added to the flooding…which I had not realized either.
Finally, a friend suggested we call a particular plumber to come out and see what was wrong. He discovered we had a pipe on our side of the road that had broken and the whole front yard had to be plowed up. It cost us a total of $4,000 after our cost of all the cleanup and plumbing work was done. We had to have new carpeting throughout the whole house except the living room because of the black water.
My husband was several states away for his father’s funeral and taking care of his dad’s affairs. I had an illness that prevented me from bending over to clean up or to pack up the house. The insurance covered the cleanup and carpeting but we had a $500 deductible. They also allowed ServPro to clean up and pack up rooms in the house. I had to make the decisions by myself because my husband couldn’t focus from all he was dealing with on his father’s affairs.
At first I was very angry because most of our refund check had gone to this emergency, and so little was left for us to do what we wanted to do with it. It took me about another day to ask myself, “What would we have done if we didn’t have that money? What if the problem had happened a few months earlier or a few months later, when the money had already been spent?” That’s when I realized the blessing in having the check when we did, and so I no longer saw the situation as a negativity.
Story #2: We wanted to see more of our grandchildren because most of them lived so far away from us that we rarely were able to see them. I had prayed and asked God if that desire would ever be realized. He assured me that it would.
Not long after the prayer, my husband was told that he and the company he worked for as a contract manager was being replaced. It was a very hard time for him, and that, in turn, made life hard on me too.
My husband had put in applications everywhere in Oregon (where we lived), he had even put in applications in Utah, Texas, and Indiana. Nothing was happening, so we decided to move to Indiana and stay with our son and his family until we secured a job. With so many states surrounding there, we thought that would give him a better chance of finding a job.
We left Oregon on July 4th 2000 and arrived in Indiana July 6th, on a Saturday. Sunday we went to church with our son and family. On Monday, my husband picked up the local sales paper and saw a management job right there in town near where we were. Tuesday, he called on the job and Wednesday they called him back and did a phone interview. On Thursday, he was offered the job.
My husband losing his job put us in Indiana near our son and his precious family. This was the beginning of my prayer being answered. Three years later, my son living in Texas called to tell my husband that his company was going to be calling him for a job interview in Texas. As it turned out, he did get the job and we moved to Texas.
Living in Texas put us only two and half hours from our son and his family and only thirteen hours from our son in Indiana. That still put us twenty-two hours from our son and his family in Utah and thirty-four hours from our daughter and her family in Oregon if we drove.
From then on, most of our spare money goes to plane tickets to Utah and Oregon to see family we are too far away from to drive. We are able to see them a lot more frequently than we had before moving to Texas. Do you see the blessing? The lost job and moving to Indiana actually brought to pass our desire to see family more often.
Story #3: Before we moved to Texas, my husband moved there ahead of me to set up everything for us to move there. I was working at the time, so I had to finish up my job. A month later, he came home to help me tie up loose ends and then planned on taking one of the cars back with him so he would had a vehicle to drive.
On Sunday, the day before he was to leave and go back to Texas, we went to a church conference about twenty-five miles away from home. On the way home after church, the car died right there in our town and about five miles from home. All we had to do was call our son to come rescue us. It couldn’t have been any more convenient.
The next day we had our vehicle towed to a repair shop. We were told the engine was dead and that it would take $2,500 to fix it. We only had $5,000 from the company to make our move with, which included the moving van. There was no money to fix the car and still have enough to move with so we had to get the other vehicle ready for the drive and tow the broken car behind the moving van.
Where was the blessing in this story? Do you see it? If we had not driven to church and put on those extra miles, the vehicle would have broken down somewhere late at night in the boonies and my husband would have been stranded. He would be stuck and no money to fix it. Instantly, he recognized the blessing and was thankful for it.
These are just three of the many stories I can tell you of situations where a calamity turned into a blessing. It was not always recognized as a blessing at first, but we did finally recognized it and felt grateful. Instead of feeling like life treated us badly and was always taking things from us, we saw the blessing and as a result, negatives were turned into a positive.
You can see blessings as well when you look for them and accept them with gratitude. As my stories reveal, you can turn a bad situation into a positive one when you accept life on it’s own terms and look for God’s hand in the situation.
The same is true when you see a negative situation that makes you angry, especially when someone does something that angers you, and then you do what I call, “Turn the penny over to see what’s on the other side.” In other words, you look at a situation and assume that it may not be what appears to be.
Turning the penny over means you consider what another scenario might be that would make it a different outcome that you had not considered before. Perhaps someone had a different motive than you immediately thought of or there were situations that you are not aware of that changes the situation dramatically from what it first appeared to be. In other words, turn over the penny and see what the other side presents.
Sometimes you just have to accept that “It is what it is!” and let go of it. If you can’t do anything about it or it won’t help the situation to create a commotion about it, then leave it alone. It won’t change things or make things any better, except to appease ego and emotions. It does nothing that creates peace or peace of mind in the situation, or do what’s best for the situation when the desired outcome is peace or peace of mind.
I hope my comments have given you something to think about, and that what I’ve said will help you see your trials differently.
I know God makes it clear in the scriptures that He is not pleased with people who don’t recognize His hand in their lives and then give the “enemy to peace” credit for the misfortune they experience instead of seeing the blessing that comes from Him. That’s not smart, and it’s no way to earn the Lord’s trust in our ability to accept His blessings in the future.