It's all too easy to get off of the path that we want to be on and fall victim to distraction, hopelessness and confusion.
There are external influences that affect us every day. How our children behave (a HUGE one for me), how much we accomplish on our to-do lists, what our job environment is like, what our bottom line is on our monthly budget, health issues - the list goes on and on.
How do we find satisfaction and focus despite these emotional and physical pitfalls? It is always amazing to me how setting our minds on the spiritual instead of the temporal (circumstances) can lead to a perspective-altering shift in our hearts that maintains our joy without further effort. Keeping ourselves focused on our eternal purpose, all things that are good and true, and how blessed we truly are can give us the "lift" we need to pull us out of the pit of self-pity.
The Bible gives us a simple directive:
"We must focus on Jesus, the source and the goal of our faith. He saw the joy ahead of him, so he endured death on the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him. Then he received the highest position in heaven, the one next to the throne of God." - Hebrews 12:2 GWT
Simply acknowledging Him in all we do can give us peace.
Something that gives me great joy is thinking of and praying for others who are in a difficult place in their life - even those that don't "deserve" it (sometimes ESPECIALLY those who feel undeserving!). Praying on ways to help them directly or praying for their strength in specific areas when I am unable to be a direct impact on their life is an excellent way to remain grateful AND the feeling of being blessed to be Christ's hands and feet. The way I look at it; I've been given two working hands and God knows I'll use them in any capacity I can to help those who need it.
Right now, the amount of volunteer work I can accomplish is limited being that I have my children at home, but whenever I'm given the opportunity to make an impact, I do what I can. It's been the single greatest way to maintain my focus on my blessings.
Lately, I've been going through the book "Calm My Anxious Heart: A Woman's Guide to Finding Contentment" by Linda Dillow, and in the second chapter she asks you to make a list of your blessings and things you struggle with. Funny enough, my struggle list involved only two things. Being single and financial strain. That's it! When I listed my blessings, I was overwhelmed by how I tend to focus on the negative instead of relishing the many, MANY blessings I'm lucky to experience right now. Healthy children. A warm, cozy home with plenty of room. A car that is in great working order. My little "farm" with the garden and chickens. Plenty of food in the cupboards. An organized, tidy life. Living in beautiful North Idaho with the mountains and lakes a permanent backdrop to my daily activities. Talk about BLESSED. Fixing my eyes on all of the wonderful blessings Jesus has provided me, and on the promise of a future that is lived with the increasing knowledge of His goodness is more than enough for me.
What would your list look like right now?