Tuesday, January 22, 2013

It's All Relative

I have noticed lately that people have had a fascination with reporting on what is going on in their lives. I don't mean the typical Facebook status or even bit of news that has typically kept us all in touch...but every facet of the struggles that they face.  Oh, and by the way, I realize that I am probably one of the worst in this regard.  I learned long ago that "there is more room outside than in" - so I tend to be more direct about the things that frustrate me in life so that I don't sit here and stew over them.  Because nothing is as bad as a stewed on issue that boils over into a bitter cauldron of anger, despair, or frustration.

Sometimes you just have to pour that whole concoction out and start over.  Literally.

Everyone has things that bother them...football games that don't end right, people that don't call when they should, or hitting every red light on a morning when your hair already looks bad and your complexion even worse.  Sometimes it is the waiting for a child to meet their "significant other" or someone to notice that you are excellent at your job, or having a car that thinks that everything on it needs to be repaired the month that the Christmas bills are coming in.  Maybe you don't like the political landscape, your neighbor's barking dog, or the family member who insists on being independent when that is either impossible or impractical.

It is all relative.

We all stop and pray for the family who is sincerely struggling.  The child who is taking cancer treatments.  The young family who just lost a parent in an accident.  The house that burned to the ground. We all see that these are extreme cases...and we all know that we need to rally around these families and offer comfort and sustenance when we can.  But too often...we only see the naggling details of life that have worn themselves out on our prayer lists and these problems creep into our consciousness as larger than life.

Because to us...they are.

We need to have perspective about whatever it is that bothers us and understand that in the grand scheme of things...it isn't the end of the world.  Time heals a lot, corrects most, and marches on...whether we are happy about that or not.

A lot of people spend time wishing it away.  They want to be older, or out of debt, or waking up on a Saturday morning.  They shoot an arrow of hope toward the future and declare that when they get to that point...they'll be happy.  When they are thin.  When they are retired.  When they are loved.

The truth is...it is all relative.

I am not saying that disappointed hopes are insignificant.  Because they are not.  I mean..."hope deferred makes the heart sick."  That's the Bible, by the way.  We all hope for a life that is rich, joyful, healthy, fun, easy, and meaningful.  But sometimes that isn't our lot in life.  Some of us were made to struggle.  Either because of our choices or because God is to be glorified through it.  Our only job is to trust and to assume that everything is going to come together for our good.

Because it will.  Just probably not on your timetable.  And possibly not on this side of the great beyond.

So, as you go through your day revealing your troubles to your friends and family...remember...it is all relative.  We go through life assuming that people are okay because they don't "share" with us, and we believe that our troubles are far more difficult to bear than in actuality they are.  We just forget that sometimes.

If you are struggling, do not be afraid to ask people to help you.  Just make sure that you've prayed about it first, and asked God to whom you should reveal what is going on with you.  Don't pick the obvious person...because most of the time...the person who God will use to help you is not going to be your first choice.  Or even your fifteenth.  But He will send the right person.  If you are tired of rewriting the same prayer request...and have given up to some degree...stop right now.  Stop thinking about this in your own strength.  Your problems are momentary...and fleeting...to a God who can move mountains.

Remember to keep everything in perspective.  The good in life...and the bad.  Don't ever doubt that He is in control...and that He will give you a peace that people who do not know him cannot fathom.  This is a biblical promise as well.  And while you are waiting...praise Him.  Praise Him for the little puppy who sleeps by your feet and thinks that you are the most incredible creature on earth.  Praise Him for the friends who make you laugh, who support you when you need it, and who are going to love you even when you are unlovely.  Praise Him for a full belly, indoor plumbing, freedom, and the job you have.  Praise Him for sight, the smell of fresh bread baking, and the sound of birds chirping in the spring.  Praise Him for loving you in spite of everything that you know about yourself...and you are aware that He knows as well.  Praise Him for what is going right in your life...even if it is as simple as having a child that speaks to you and your electric bill paid.

Because there are a lot of people out there who are struggling with all of these...and more.  And when you are knotting a piece of the end of your rope...just hang on.  After all, it is all relative.  Years from now, you will come back to this point in time...and will realize that this was a place where your faith grew and your hope was refreshed.

Because it is.  Have a great day, folks.

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