True Positive: Day 20 – Big Picture

big pic

There are times when life circumstances seem immense and overwhelming. Whether it is a deadline, or a sudden life change or simply a difficult person, challenges can loom large in our minds. In these moments, it is important for us to step back and gain a broader perspective. Consider asking yourself the question, “In light of eternity, how does this effect my life and the lives of those around me?”

If you ever sat too close to the screen in a movie theater, you know what I’m talking about. Sometimes we must look at the whole picture instead of what is right in front of our eyes, distorting our perspective. When challenges come our way, they may look like mountains for a moment, but step back and gain perspective and recognize that your circumstances are only part of a bigger life story.

Father, teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12). Help us keep our eyes on your love and presence in our lives no matter what the circumstances.

True Positive: Day 19 – Refreshing People

FullSizeRender (15)

There are certain people in our lives that refresh our spirit. They not only inspire and encourage us, but they also empathize with us and pray for us. Who are the positive people in your life? Consider the people in your life right now that bring enjoyment and delight into your life – those friends who are sunshine to your soul.

In our social media driven culture, we can fool ourselves into thinking that we are surrounded by friends. But do these friendships satisfy our heartfelt need for true connection in relationships? We were created as relational beings, and we need real time with real friends. Be intentional today about connecting with people who are a blessing to your life, and in turn, be sure you are being an inspiration and refreshment to others.

True Positive: Day 18 – Patience

painting-1654823__480

“Patience” may not be your favorite topic of conversation, but there is a unique beauty in learning to wait. Impatience only stirs up anger and frustration, but if we can develop the positive quality of waiting, we experience peace and joy. Being patient with others brings them blessing. The Bible reminds us that God is patient and slow to anger with us.

What is the first attribute of love listed in 1 Corinthian 13? Patience! When we love people, we bear with them and recognize that God is still at work in their lives. While we are waiting on circumstances or on people, it is a good idea to pray and look for something productive you can do. I always keep a book in the car with me, so that I can occupy myself while waiting. Whether waiting for the right job or the right spouse, we can always find something productive to do while waiting.

Don’t be afraid to ask the Lord to give you patience. It’s a positive and beautiful quality

True Positive: Day 17 – Forgiveness

monterey bay

Dr. Randy Kamen, psychologist and author of Behind the Therapy Door, says, “Forgiveness transforms anger and hurt into healing and peace. Forgiveness can help you overcome feelings of depression, anxiety, and rage, as well as personal and relational conflicts. It is about making the conscious decision to let go of a grudge.” Additionally, Harvard researcher and physician Dr. George Vaillant describes forgiveness as one of the 8 positive emotions that keep us connected with our deepest selves and with others.

Jesus gave His followers the clear message of forgiveness. As we extend forgiveness toward others, we demonstrate that we understand the forgiveness God has toward us through Christ. Forgiveness doesn’t mean we allow someone to trample over us again and again. We must learn to set wise boundaries. Forgiveness means we are releasing the right to hold something over another person and handing it over to a just and loving God.

Psalm 36 is one of my favorite passages:

Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your justice like the ocean depths.

It reminds me not only of God’s unfailing love, but also His great justice. When we turn our hurts and pain over to Him, we can trust that He will take care of it. Think of the ocean depths – there is a lot of life happening in the depths of the great deep. There is joy, peace and freedom when we release our grudges and allow God to deal with it. He sees, He knows, He is at work.

True Positive: Day 16 – Helping Others

madi-robson-113926

Feeling blue? Consider doing something kind for someone else. It may be volunteering at a hospital or a dog shelter or at a local school. You could write a letter to someone who needs encouragement or cook a meal for someone who could use some help or even bring groceries to someone who can’t get out right now. When we reach out to help others, thinking of their needs, it gets our mind off of our own stuff and actually gives us a feeling of joy. Although our motivation for doing things for others shouldn’t be to please ourselves, it is a natural consequence and an added blessing.

A team of sociologist tracked a group of 2000 people over a 5-year period and discovered that those who described themselves as “very happy” also volunteered at least 5.8 hours per month.  Of course, there could be a number of reasons for this, but researchers believe that showing compassion gives people a neurochemical sense of reward as an emotional boost. For more benefits to helping others click here. Jesus spoke about showing kindness and love even to our enemies. He said, “Give and it will be given back to you, a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, it will be poured into your lap.”

Take one step today to reach out in kindness to another person.

Photo by Madi Robson on Unsplash