Monday, January 5, 2015

Silver Linings

Mom was playing an Oldies station on the clock radio on a recent family vacation. You know the sound: tinny music coming through crackly static, but recognizable tunes. "Look for the Silver Lining" was playing on this particular morning, and it made me pause and pay attention:

A heart, full of joy and gladness
Will always banish sadness and strife
So always look for the silver lining
And try to find the sunny side of life...

Hmm. This woman was singing about silver linings, but I heard this: The condition of my heart will affect my outlook on life. We can't completely avoid the rounds of alternating gladness and sadness, but we don't have to stay stuck in the sadness time zone. I've never wanted to banish gladness, but sadness can feel like wearing dumbbells around the neck, so it makes sense to want to shed those weights eventually.

How can we find the "sunny side of life" when the storm seems to be parked directly over our house?

1. Thank God for the good, the bad, and the ugly. "In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Knowing a verse is not the same as living it. Just the other day, I was driving down a snowy road and said out loud, "Lord, thank you for good tires on this car." I would rather not drive in snow, but I can thank the Lord for a nice warm car with good, recently rotated tires.

2. Remember that good lessons are tucked into bad experiences. I wish I had a dollar for every time I've heard the words, "I know. I know." Too many times we miss out on growing during a trial because we think we know so much already, but learning abounds within the classroom of affliction, and even though it doesn't "feel good," it's still good for us. "It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes." (Psalm 119:71)

3. Guard (keep) your heart. The flu has been going around like crazy this season, and yet some of us haven't caught it (yet). Minimizing exposure is always a good practice. The same is true in life: minimizing exposure to negatives is essential. Do you really need to read the details of another global disaster? How many times do we need to view images of tragedies? Will that television program with "Dr. Know" really help your spirit? An unguarded heart has more dart holes. "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." (Proverbs 4:23)

Stormy? Look for the silver lining. The sun is just behind that cloud temporarily.

(Photo credits: Happy Accidents Photography, AKA Francie's vast seashore collection.)

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