Wednesday, July 20, 2011

When It's Raining, When It's Pouring


Thanking God When You're a Basket Case

*Part 2 CONT'D
Thanking God In 
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

*Maybe instead of writing "Part 2  CONT'D" for the next several posts, I should start labeling the posts 
"Part 2b" and "Part 2c" . . . 
What do you think?  2b or not 2b?  
(Sorry, couldn't help myself.)

When there's not a dark cloud in the sky, we don't normally spend too much time under an umbrella -- we're too busy just grinnin' and enjoyin' the sunshine. (Maybe we even work on our tans so that everyone around us can admire our "healthy glow.")  

But at any given moment, often with little warning,the weather can change. And before we know it, the skies have opened up and our baskets are being rained down upon by the bad and the ugly:

  • Something is said, and we find our "ME" soaked to the skin.
  • Perhaps a relationship is rocked, and we're soaked beyond the skin -- we're soaked right down to the bone.
  • Or circumstances veer out of control, and we're not just soaked, we're downright going under -- we're drowning.
And very often in the midst of a storm, it can feel like the only thing our umbrella is sheltering us from is the good.  But the bad and the ugly?  Well, that's drenching us.

And how on this earth do we "give thanks in all circumstances" (1 Thessalonians 5:18a) when we're standing chest-deep in the flood waters of the bad and the ugly?  

First, understand this truth:

Perspective is not the 
view from where your 
circumstances have put you, 
but, rather, it is the view from 
where you choose to stand in the 
midst of your circumstances.

[NOTE:  That's HUGE.  Read it again!]

In other words, we have choice in our perspective, and we must choose wisely.  Beth Moore puts it like this:  "Our questions and confusion must motivate us to seek God" (A Heart Like His).

But, again, how, exactly, do we manage to choose to stand in the midst of circumstances -- or even woalk into God's presence -- when we feel as if we've been cut off at the knees?  When we're bloodied and bruised?  Crippled by the weight of what we're feeling?

And the, how do we even begin to give thanks?

Right after acknowledging that we do have some choices and options, the next thing we need to realize is that magic pills, words, or rituals are not among those choices and options.  That's because there are none. 

There is no fast-and-easy, works-every-time formula or one-size-fits-all, guaranteed-or-your-money-back product that automatically takes you to the place where you can "give thanks in all circumstances."  If there were, trust me, I would've discovered it by now. (And I promise, I'd share it with you.)

There are, however, some practical time-tested suggestions I can offer.

1.  Acknowledge your circumstances.  

     In other words, "Get real.

     I'm amazed at how many people never look at the 
     real problem they're dealing with.  They focus, 
     instead, on symptoms that are stemming from the 
     problem, and then they try to deal with those 
     symptoms, all the while never looking at the 
     source of the symptoms.  

     They waste precious time and resources on band-  
     aids in an effort to not drip blood onto the carpet, 
     when what they need to do is acknowledge a 
     gaping wound that requires a trip to the ER for  
     stitches to staunch serious bloodloss.

     It's not until I'm honest with myself about a 
     problem that I can truly recognize the seriousness 
     of a situation or, sometimes, if truth be told, how 
     small in the grand scheme of things, a problem 
     might actually be.  

     Either way, I need to know.  I mean, if something 
     is truly life-threatening or life (at least as-I-know-
     it) changing, then I need to know that in order to 
     make the best decisions possible. (If it's 
     determined that something is serious, then 
     knowing how serious is also essential.)

     On the other hand, if I'm blowing something out of 
     proportion and driving myself crazy because I've 
     gone all drama-queen on myself, then I definitely 
     need to know that, too, don't ya think?  
     Bottom line:  Figure out the truth of your situation, 
     and then choose to walk in that truth.  

Whew!  That's a whole lot to take in at one sitting, so I'm stopping  there for today.  But tomorrow I'll share a few more pearls, so go grab some string and meet me back here.

Walking . . . in all kinds of weather,


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