“I can’t believe they would do that!”
“There is no way that is allowed!”
“I did nothing to deserve!”
“This is completely unfair!”
“I am so miserable!”
I have heard and said all of these things in many different seasons of life. Negativity has a way of drowning people in their sorrows. Studies have shown that constant negativity can aggravate depression within a person. But many of us still choose our negative attitudes. We feel like victims who are imprisoned by circumstance.
But this is not the lifestyle that God wants for us. We need to be living in Joy, Peace, Patience, etc. When we are negative, we steal these Godly gifts from ourselves.
I was reading a book recently and received a timely reminder that we always have the opportunity to choose my attitude. No matter if someone cuts me off on the road, we can choose to pray for the other driver. If the kids won’t do their chores, we can be patient to help them make better choices. If the busyness of work and school are overwhelming, we can choose to work diligently until we are out of time, then leave the work for another day.
Above all, remember: “when we run into problems and trials, we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation” (Romans 5:3-4 NLT).
At times, we find out that we are in over our heads. Something happens that complicates your life and you find that the camel cannot hold the one extra straw that was placed on its back. This past week, I found out where my breaking point was. We had an injury within the family, and I have become the designated care giver for someone who is usually strong and resilient. The tasks that were normally performed by this individual have fallen to me, but my daily tasks have not lessened and I am now doing the work of two.
Time is always working against me now. There is never enough time to complete everything that is required of me. And things that I want to do are pushed way down on the list. I have had to come up with a way to prioritize my tasks so that the more important things get done. Unimportant wants are left until time is in abundance. I have found that for a few weeks, I have not been able to do anything that I want to do. I have only had time for the necessaries.
This trial will most likely last for a little while. And in that time, my hope is to tread water. The tasks that I can push off will get done when there is time, and the important will continue to be at the top of the to-do list. As things go on, it becomes easier. It is as though God gives more strength and endurance if I just take the next step in front of me.
I have known those who live their life this way. Many of whom have had life thrust upon them instead of being able to choose how to live. If you are in that boat, know that you are not alone, and know that God has a special grace for you in this time. Many people struggle with the day to day, but God gives strength to those who need it. Especially those who are studying for a degree. Just ask God for his Grace. He will help you through!
We are all fighters. And we are all fighting battles on multiple fronts. Some of us are fighting to keep our jobs. Others are fighting corporate skirmishes. Still others are slaying imaginary dragons living in our children’s closet. We feel like we are pounding away. Sometimes, we even feel that we are winning the fight. At other times, the monsters in our head keep us lonely and depressed. Regardless of what it is, we all fight for what we believe to be right.
But you have fought to be here. You are a student at Belhaven University where you are striving to attain a degree that will improve your life in many ways. The trick is to remember what you are fighting for, and to stay in the fight. I heard it best from a mentor who told me, “Just keep fighting. Hold your head up and keep working hard. You’ll make it.”
Remember that at the end of the day, Jesus has already won the most important fight. He expects you to strive to do your best. Fight! He has already won your battle!
Does the fear of failure keep you away from trying things that could be great for you? Do you feel like God is leading you to do something that you are hesitant to start? There are many people who feel the same way. Starting something new and unknown is difficult and unsettling; however, in order to grow, people need to be in situations that force them to strive for something difficult to attain.
An example of this is the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30. A master gives three of his servants one talent each. This was no small sum. The modern equivalent to a talent could be as much as a million dollars. This master believed in his servants and expected a great deal from them. The first two were wise and invested well. They brought back much more than their master initially gave them. But the third was concerned that he would lose the master’s money and did not make any effort to invest it. Instead, he buried it for safe keeping. Little did he know that this was the worst thing that he could do.
It is oddly coincidental that a measure of money back then was called “talent” because this is also something of value to the Master. He gives us talents that we are to invest in business or people. The problem comes when we let fear overtake us, and we bury our talent inside of us instead of using it. We were not meant to bury it, but to use it for the good of ourselves, others, and to glorify the One who gave the gift.
Knowledge is like these talents. You are investing in your education in order to grow the talent that God has naturally given you. He has instructed you to do so, and given you the ability. Now it is up to you to put in the work of growing that talent into something more than it was before!
Keep striving until completion. He gave you the talent, and He will give you strength and endurance to finish!