Our church is famous for its catchy signs on the marquee out front. Some of my favorites include:
While the texting Jesus sign definitely wins the award for funniest, the most poignant award goes to a sign with a question we posted last year:
That one stopped me in my tracks. What if that happened? What would our world look like?
Let’s think about it. What did you thank God for yesterday? Anything? Can you remember? The reality is that for many of us, if that scenario came true, our tomorrow would be one bleak world.
Let me back up a second and offer a word in our defense. It’s hard to remember to be grateful when all that stares us in the face is hardship. Depression, illness, loss, and anxiety seems commonplace these days. Our economy has been hit; our confidence has been shaken, and we are surrounded by daily headlines that leave little room for gratitude.
So, what does one do? There’s an old saying that we cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust our sails. Author and holocaust survivor Victor Frankl put it this way, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances . . . .”
With every negative, there is a positive, and if we look hard enough, we’ll see it. Here’s a simple example. This morning I opened the refrigerator to get milk for my coffee. It was in the very back, behind stacks of other food. As I mumbled about having to reach past guacamole, sour cream, leftover rice, and two bins of blueberries, it dawned on me that there are others who would give anything to have a refrigerator packed with food. Just like that, the negative became a positive.
How about the alarm clock? While most of us cringe when it goes off, we should give thanks! Hearing an alarm clock ring means that you’re not dead—you woke up to another day! It means that your hearing works, and your eyes can focus. It means that you have a bed and a roof over your head. It means that you have electricity (many people in this world do not). And the ring of that alarm clock probably also means that you have a job. At a minimum, it means that you have a reason to get up.
Or what about chronic pain? It's hard to imagine how we can be grateful for pain. But what if we focused on the tiny things? Like the wonderful feeling of warmth from a heating pad, or the flowers blooming out the window you see can see from your chair, or the person that made you smile today through your pain. Studies show that when we take our eyes off ourselves, our bodies relax, our anxiety eases, and the body is better able to heal. In short, gratitude changes our attitude and our attitude drives everything.
So, back to my question: What did you thank God for yesterday? Anything? If you focused your time on what went wrong, stop and find the positive in the negative. Then, go back and offer a prayer of thanks. (FYI: God accepts retroactive prayers.) Be grateful in all things. And if you find you’re having trouble, just remember the words of one of our most recent church signs:
Below you will find more inspiration via photos, articles, and sermons. Until next time, as we say in the motorcycle world . . . keep the shiny side up and the rubber side down!