Sometimes the problems of life just seem to overwhelm . . . problems from the past . . . problems in the present . . . anxiety about the future. There are so many things that just seem to bombard from so many directions.
I’m finding that in those times of difficulty, it is important to take time to reflect on the blessings of life. And I have many of them. When discouragement comes, we have a choice to make. We can focus on the negatives, or we can focus on the positives.
For example, no matter what I may be facing, God has blessed me with a wonderfully supportive wife, two incredible kids, and a thriving ministry in a church that I love dearly. These are truly blessings from above, and when I pause to recognize them as such, I help any feelings of discouragement to diminish.
You know, I’m a lot like the apostle Paul. He was a man who knew how to make good choices — but that didn’t necessarily mean he always made them (Rom. 7:15). He was a man who was passionate, zealous, and strong-willed. He knew what it was to have plenty and to be in want (Phil. 4:12). He struggled with weaknesses and a ‘thorn in the flesh’ (2 Cor. 12:7), yet he trusted God to reveal His power even through those things (2 Cor. 12:9-10).
Paul knew the joy that comes from putting others first and considering them better than himself (Phil. 2:2-3). In fact, many of us understand the truth in those words as well. When we serve through a ministry or volunteer in our community, we are exposed to needs that make ours seem less urgent.
For today I will seek above all to follow Paul’s instructions in Phil. 4:8:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.”
No matter what your struggle or state of mind, may you find strength for today as you focus on blessings, as you pray with thanksgiving, and as you rest in the shelter of His unfailing love.