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Are you able to find the beauty in a bad day or are you an “all good or all bad day” type of thinker?  Rarely do we have an entire day in which everything is terrible, but it can certainly feel like we have that kind of day when all we look for is the negative after something bad happens.  The challenge for any given day is to look for the good when a day goes wrong, but that choice is a very intentional choice that sometimes requires a lot of emotional energy.  So how does one look for good when an awful thing happens?  It is hard to sometimes do that on our own, and many times this type of challenge requires the help of safe friends to help us break out of this pattern of thinking.  However, most people going through great loss do not want to hear easy answers, platitudes or “christianeze” ( the language spoken by people who are followers of Christ who sometimes give religious answers instead of compassionate answers).  Most of the time you have no idea how to verbalize a need when you are in shock and loss, and we rely on others to figure out what we need.  Alas, giving all our power to another to give us good care can sometimes feel a bit vulnerable and scary.  For most people it boils down to one innate need:  to feel loved and comforted.  What does a crying baby need when they are upset and have no words to express what is going on it their head?  To be held, to be loved, and to be reassured that no matter what, it’s going to be ok.  Quite frankly, sometimes humans stink at this, but there is a God we can turn to who promises to reassure us and love us when man does not; however, we have to invite Him into that process of loving on us because we will miss it if we don’t look for it.  Just like we will not be able to see good if we choose to look for bad, sometimes we miss God loving on us because we are not looking for it.  Choose to look for love today.  Choose to look for the good.  God will send you comfort via your dog, the cashier at a store, a neighbor or objects that bring you comfort.  He is very present, but sometimes we do not know how to recognize the form He has taken.  I vividly remember a day where God showed up in the midst of a bad day and I recognized him because I had been looking for him.  I was in the midst of a stressful season of life juggling the many hats that a mom or dad can  can juggle and I was complaining to God about how hard my life was at that time.  I just needed joy and life and I remember seeing white daisies along the road and saying to him, “ I just miss the old Sharon who had time to do creative things that bring me joy like cut daisies on the side of the road.”  Three counseling sessions later in my day and in walked a client with white daisies and I knew that I knew that God had brought me those flowers via a human and my joy from the event exceeded my pain level.  I knew that I was loved and that God wanted to comfort me, but I am pretty sure I would have missed the significance of the flowers if I had not been looking for God in the midst of a bad day.

Isaiah 66:13New International Version (NIV)

13 As a mother comforts her child,

   so will I comfort you;

   and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.”

Creating Community can Lead to Untold Treasures

The other night I had a dream about something that I frequently try to share with people in my counseling office.  The concept that we talk about is the power of sharing community with others.  In the dream, I went shopping with a group of friends that I pray with on a daily basis via a group texting application on my phone.   In my dream, we went treasure hunting to a store, and each of us found and bought a treasure that would be personally meaningful to us.  I woke up thinking to myself that the dream was such a great analogy about life.  We are more likely to find treasures, and be able to hold onto treasures, when we lean into the strength of those we walk with in life who are mutually giving.  I can only hold so much weight in my hands if I’m just using my hands but if I have other people coming alongside me, the weight of what I can carry is significantly larger.   Finding a community that you can lean into can many times be a complicated process and it is important to find people who are mutually giving and caring.  It’s so important that you examine how the persons you bring into your life interact with others so you can understand if they are selfless or selfish.  Despite the difficulty in finding community, I see the difference in the lives of individuals who can lean on a community when they’re going through a hard time or when they’re understanding and moving into grasping a hold of their vision.   Treasures are waiting to be released to people who choose to walk with others.

 

Hebrews 10:24-25

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.