My husband and I are writing on the same subject today just for fun. The subject he chose is Surviving or Thriving. The fun part is that neither of us has talked about the topic nor knows what the other is going to write about. Wonder what he wrote about ? Find out here. I’ll just fill in that little link when I’m done.
Surviving or thriving. Which one are you doing? A whole list of things can figure into that question. Sickness? Health? Ease? Difficulties? Hopeful? Hopeless? Encouraged? Discouraged? Have enough? Scraping by? Plenty or want? Lots of things play into the whole surviving and thriving mentality. Yes, I said mentality. It’s the same word my husband used to say to me. I have done both. The difference for me was how I looked at my situation, whether I saw life’s problems as normal challenges or punishments, and that horrible word, attitude!
We’ve been married almost 23 years. If we’d been able to look into a crystal ball (I wouldn’t have anyway Deut. 18:10), we would have been too scared to get married! Like anyone’s life, we’ve had ups and downs, but it seems like it’s been a whole lot of downs. I know I’ve had a whole lot of downs. Even in what I now know were good times, I had downs. Unfortunately, I was always seeing the glass half empty. I still do sometimes, but I’m getting better about that. Thank you Jesus!
I’ve learned a lot the last few years through a whole lot of stressful circumstances. My mother battled cancer and died. We sold houses and moved every few years. We went through lay-offs, starting a business, the business closing, extreme financial problems, and various relationship troubles that resulted from the stress of it all. Add to this my extremely painful back troubles, other physical ailments, several surgeries for me, and three additional children being born. The new babies and our oldest son were the best part of it all. We’ve been doubly blessed to have four. We’ve had ten really tough years. As this was all happening, sometimes my faith in God was strong. Sometimes I just felt like God was punishing us. What did we have to do to get out of the current mess? What did God want? It consumed me. God is so merciful. He took us through it all, and He’s taught me that this is life. At 43 years old, I’ve finally grown up enough to realize that it’s normal to face challenge after challenge. Everyone faces them. It’s whether we allow troubles and challenges to drive us away from God and our family or closer to God and our family that really matters. This brings me to the word I hate.
Attitude! I don’t even like the sound of it. Maybe because as a teenager I was criticized for my attitude. Maybe it’s because I’ve heard it from my husband. Oops, did I say that? Maybe it’s because I know my attitude has been bad so much. Perhaps this is one of the hardest parts of going through hard times. It’s so easy to complain and about what we need or what we want. If only we could see it all through God’s eyes. Looking back, I see that God has actually given us what we truly needed whether we wanted it or not. The hard times have driven us to Him in desperation. There have been sins in my life and in my husband’s life that lead to some of these problems. There are still consequences we must pay for those sins. But the guilt has been paid for by the blood of Jesus’ sacrifice for us. In it all, I was so desperate for God to help us. It caused me to focus on Him a lot. Psalm 34 was enormously helpful to me in this. Verse 17 says, “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.” He has and He still is delivering me daily from all our troubles. He tends to deliver me through them rather than from them. It’s a very good thing to be desperate for God. Though we were consumed with the day to day surviving, God was bringing us to a place of thriving in His love and care.
If you’re surviving or barely surviving, read the Psalms, read Philippians. They are both so encouraging when you’re fearful. He loves us so much, He told us not to fear over and over. He holds our times in His hands. Seek, knock, ask, He’ll answer. Trust God to bring you to a place of Thriving in Him.
Lord God, I ask that you would bring hope, peace, and a new attitude to each person who reads this and to me, also. You CAN do it. I believe you WILL do it. Thank you Lord!
Choosing to Thrive
Go read My Honey’s post here. It brought a smile to my face. His attitude really helped pull me through when I was dragging.