I was on my way to Vegas, and as you can imagine, the plane was huge. Vegas plane rides are always different than other plane rides; they’re loud and filled with excited friends traveling in big groups who usually start to party while on the plane, or even before. I was in the back of this giant plane and it had taken two hours for the snack cart to come down by where I was sitting. There was a woman diagonal to me wearing headphones, who was getting not only impatient but mad because of the long wait. And I mean mad. This was the start of her vacation, and the two-hour wait had ruined her vision of her plane ride to order drinks during the flight and kick it off the way she wanted. A cart was finally coming, but it passed right by. I assumed the cart needed to be restocked, but I saw a cart behind that one that looked just fine, making the usual rounds row by row. But this woman, she didn’t see the other cart behind the one that passed by, so she turned around to follow the first cart that had passed her, and she was hanging out in the aisle backward, mean-mugging the flight attendant. She stayed there with just the biggest disgruntled look on her face, hoping that the attendant would turn around and see the injustice that had happened. She had gotten so upset with this cart that passed her by, which was now in the alleyway, that she started swearing to herself, but purposely loud enough for others to hear. She had become so caught up over this, all while facing backward and hanging out in the aisle, that she didn’t even see that other cart was now right behind her. She became so distracted that she didn’t even realize that it was her turn to order with the other cart, but the attendant couldn’t get by because she had her headphones on and was blocking the way, which ended up prolonging her wait for service because of it all.
I wonder how many times I’ve done this. I wonder how many times I’ve become distracted with how I wanted things to go that I completely missed everything else that’s happening. I wonder how much time I’ve spent looking backward that I missed or prolonged what was coming. I wonder how many times I’ve unconsciously trapped myself because I’m stuck on this vision I made for myself that it becomes the reason why no progress has been made.
Are we trapping ourselves? Are we selling ourselves short? Have we surrendered to our circumstances? Have we fallen victim to things going different than we envisioned for ourselves? Are we allowing the adversary to unnecessarily linger longer and keep us standing still? Are we spending too much time pleading for things to be over or things to be different that we are distracted from and missing the here and the now?
There are WAY TOO MANY TIMES where I just wished life could have been how it used to be. There have been a lot of times where I didn’t like the season I was in. Most of my trials, I think. When things are hard, when things are unwanted.
Like the woman on the plane upset about the missed snack cart, or in better terms, our missed visions and prolonged desires, the adversary can run rogue with our thoughts and perspectives to distract or blind us from the blessings and the opportunities that arethere or that are coming.
Like the woman on the plane, are we spending too much time looking back that we are missing what is in front of us? Are we acting on the reality of the things asked of us to do daily? Are we taking hold of those the resources and people and help that are trying to bring us to greater heights? Is there something that we can let go of to allow something else to fall into place?
I get it. I get those times when we are craving a fast-forward button, or even a rewind button. And it doesn’t necessarily have to come from long trials, but just from bad days or unfulfilled desires.
There will always be something hard to overcome or something new to figure out. How unproductive it is to crave a rewind button or to long to live in the future. How dangerous it is to hold on to this make-believe mortal vision we created in our minds. It is unhealthy for us and our souls, and before we know it, life will have passed us by, empty. And we allowed it to happen. And we will have missed so much, and it will be too late.
But things do not have to be how they’ve always been. Things can change for us, even if our unwanted circumstance doesn’t. Progress and happiness can come from seeking and noticing the small but significant blessings from God that show He is there. Blessings and comfort are always there because God is always there.
We don’t have to wait for the trial to end or for a new day to come, and relief doesn’t have to be postponed until a trial is over; it can come with a change of mindset. A mindset of hope. A mindset that allows us to see past our narrow views and mortal desires. Relief can come with the realization that you’re still here and you are not broken. It can come from sometimes pausing, looking around and noticing something different. Something from God’s vision, not ours.
What if we got it all backwards? What if trials are actually the gems in life, creating and bringing us to the absolute best and most fulfilling journey? What if our loneliest days are perhaps when God is closest to us? What if our hardest days are, in fact, rich with direction, lessons, and guidance that move us forward, not backward, on the path God has set for us? What if our trying times can be productive learning times?
What can we change that may be accidentally dismissing ourselves from experiencing and recognizing God’s vastness of blessings and miracles? whatever it is that we are going through now, what if we ask our- selves, have we got it all backward? Am I improperly placing blame? Am I limiting my God? What if there’s another way to look at all this? What if there are better questions to be asking? What if God has something else in mind? What if He knows something we don’t? Something greater?
Remembering whose hands we’re in is what makes those ugly-cry moments, those weak, disheartening, and heavy moments, an intimate moment with a perfect Savior. And knowing who’s on our side and who’s by our side absolutely gives me reason to keep going, keep trying, keep smiling, keep turning to Him, and to look forward with hope and joy for another day. Another moment.
So yeah, maybe things are really hard right now. And yeah, maybe we wish things were going differently. But you know what? God is real. And He is there. And you know what? Motivation and comfort and guidance and energy and a new mindset are a prayer away. And you know what? Because of God, every passing second is a chance to turn it all around!
So, cheers! Cheers to endless do-overs! Cheers to endless comfort! Cheers to endless love, and endless guidance, and endless strength, and endless forgiveness. We have a God with endless resources on our side, and in every season, how empowering is that?! That absolutely gives me every reason to choose laughter. And choose faith. And choose to smile, every day. To me, He is every reason to be happy and to make even the hard days not as hard.
When we feel like God has turned His back on us, turn around. Trust God with your life—after all, He’s the one who gave it to you.
Wildly Optimistic : Gaining New Perspective to Life’s Challenges
Scripture Study Journal: Rooted
Fireside CD: Choosing God in Hard Times
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