It’s been a tough few months for our family. We have had a lot of illness, a lot of pressure and some difficult choices to make. When life is hard we often feel tired and tiredness can lead to withdrawal and all of a sudden you can find ourselves with a batten down the hatches mentality.
I was looking through some pictures and came across this one of my daughter making a splash. We took the photo during a really long walk several weeks ago and every time I look at it, it makes me smile.
My daughter has special needs and behavioural issues that we have to manage and if she doesn’t want to do something she lets you know verbally and physically. When she walks a long way she can get agitated and angry and it would be easier for us if we didn’t take her for walks. We choose to persevere because it is good for her and us to get exercise and also because when she is out she is easier to manage once we have got through any tantrums. We also believe that we need to teach our children that the world doesn’t revolve around them and that sometimes we all have to do things that we don’t want to do.
On our walk we reached the muddy puddles and I walked around them but both my girls spent ages splashing in them. In amongst an activity that she didn’t really want to take part in my daughter found real joy and delight.
Life can be like that, even when it feels tough I still want to choose to enjoy what I can. I don’t want to decide that I deserve to be miserable and so that will be who and what I am, I want to find fulfilment even when things are hard.
Whether we engage with and find fulfilment in something depends on our mind-set in a particular situation.
A teenager that says it’s boring will be bored. They want to live on the edge YOLO but because they have decided it will be boring it is. How sad is that!
The person who expects to be hurt in every situation acts in a defensive and prickly way and then they wonder why people avoid them or are abrupt in return.
How about you? How is your mind-set? What attitudes do we carry around with us?
We can let our circumstances define who we are or we can let who we are affect how we live our lives and cope with difficult circumstances. I like to laugh a lot and enjoy life, I look on the bright side and that is how God made me. It would be easy and reasonable to feel consumed by hardships and disappointments but my prayer is that I would continue to be the person who God made me to be.
I’m not saying it’s wrong to feel sad or upset, those things are a natural part of life that we should embrace and work though. My point is that sadness and problems don’t have to define who we are. God is with us comforting us as we feel sad but he also promises to lead us into life in all of its fullness. Life in its fullness isn’t just sitting on a beach (or whatever your idea of perfect rest is), it involves suffering and struggles because when we overcome and live with and through these things we grow.
My daughter had such fun in the muddy puddles but she never would have reached it if she hadn’t been going through something she didn’t like. As we travel through life and things are tough, lets look out for and be open to the good things. Sometimes those will be circumstances but ultimately for me it’s about the reality that God is with us.
God is with us looking to guide, lead and strengthen us as we carry on. God weeps with us but he also laughs with us and I hope that we can be more aware of his presence and that we would allow him to help us to become the people who he made us to be.