Yesterday was my birthday! I have to admit that the events of 9/11 forever changed the way I celebrate my birthday. I cannot help but pause on that day and think of the many innocent victims who lost their lives, and the families and homes that were devastated by that loss. My mother-in-law died on my birthday 35 years ago and so to some extent my birthday always comes with mixed emotions...bitter sweet! There is the sadness of loss and the gratitude for another year.
I started to think that life can be full of those bitter sweet emotions. It seems to me, that oftentimes, we have to negotiate living with contrasting or conflicting emotions. One part of our life runs smoothly and the other is anything but level. So how do we negotiate these experiences in our lives? How do we handle mixed emotions or the bitter sweet experiences of life?
· Focus on the positive: It is easy to focus on the negative aspects of our lives, but the best thing we can do is to see all the good things that are happening. Yes, things may not be perfect, they may not pan out the way we anticipated, but there is still so much to be grateful for. Focus on those good aspects of your life. Learn to live with a heart of gratitude. It is a choice. The apostle Paul encouraged the Philippian church to "Rejoice in the Lord always." It is a decision you make - you can choose joy or you can choose misery. I choose joy!
· Focus on others: One of the easiest ways to conquer selfishness is to turn your attention away from self and focus on others. As you serve others you become less conscious of your own needs and wants and more aware of others.
· Focus on God: I remember singing a song when I was a girl. It went something like this, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of the earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.” How true it is, when we focus on God, the things around us seem to dim in the light of His magnificence. Hebrews 12: 2 puts it this way, "Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus..."
My prayer is that your day will be blessed. Amidst all the mixed emotions, may you experience a peace and calm as you place your trust in God.
I am and always will be,
Recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,