One thing I’ve discovered in this life is that horrid acts will always be done. You can’t unsee them. Every day, for the rest of your life, you will wake up and see something that could potentially break your spirit and hope for mankind. I get it. But how does one keep one’s self from breaking in these dark days? You look for the positives.
Believe it or not, the positives in life are easily found. Don’t believe me? Have you ever seen a father or mother give birth to a child they actually wanted? Have you ever celebrated with a person who got the job they’ve always wanted? Have you ever been told, “I love you”? Have you ever celebrated a victory in sports or victory in counting sober days? Have you seen a toddler figure out how to do something they love? Have you seen anyone celebrate their birthday? If you haven’t, you are the reason you only see darkness.
It’s really easy to get caught up in the sex trafficking, mass shootings, wars, cheating, poverty, starvation, refugees, and death. If you watch the news, you are accustomed to seeing it every day. I don’t envy you. I’m sure these things cause you to live a life of doubt, fear, and stress. You worry about the possible exploding plants, the pollution in the air, the burning forests, the natural disasters, impending wars, and other catastrophic events.
If we can be honest, viewing such things continually keeps you informed, but robs you of your peace and joy. The Bible says to renew your mind daily. The longer I live, the more important I realize this is. You have to reset your perspective and intake daily. You can’t watch, or listen to, the same things with the same destructive message (fear, fear, fear; hate, hate, hate; cheat; cheat; cheat; evil, evil, evil). You have to take the time out to watch something light-hearted and fun. It’ll help you realize life isn’t as bad as it could be.
In America, all we do is criticize and micromanage people’s opinions and views of each other. Every day on social media or the news, someone’s post, picture, or video is highlighted and scrutinized by strangers who have less than 1% of the full story. We are quick to judge and condemn without facts as a whole, yet the church is stereotyped as the only judgmental folk. It is very hard not to get sucked into the gossip, lies, and drama exposed every day.
Every now and then, do yourself this favor: don’t watch, don’t listen, don’t read, and don’t join in. Turn the TV, radio, or music off, or put the book down. In the silence, meditate only on the positive – the things that made you smile, laugh, or cry tears of joy. Write those things down, and realize how good life can be because these things are mostly likely still happening. Even the moments that just brighten your day, from the simple text you didn’t expect to receive to the compliment you randomly received. Write it all down.
From the simple act of waking up in my bed, I have over a hundred things to be grateful for. The very moment I open my eyes, my list of positives is one hundred items long at minimum. How? Someone woke up blind today. Someone didn’t wake up at all today. Someone woke up having difficulty to breathe. Someone woke up unable to move. Someone woke up deaf. Someone woke up mute. Someone woke up depressed, stressed, unsure, or anxious. I could go on and on.
The fact that I don’t have the troubles of many means I have many things to be grateful for, but what about you? You could’ve woken up with all the things I just mentioned. If you woke up anxious, stressed, depressed, or somehow broken, here are a few things to help you: (if you can) watch a video of babies laughing. Laughter is good for the soul. Watch soldiers surprising their loved ones with secret visits home. A good tear-jerker is needed every now and then. Watch motivational videos. There are literally thousands of people trying to help you. Lastly, watch videos about people who finally got the reward they were working for. There are athletes who spent all their lives chasing a trophy and finally got one. There are former addicts who thought they’d never be free from their addiction but have celebrated years of sobriety. Watch all of these things knowing that the joy you are watching can and will happen for you.
To those of you unable to watch videos, speak. Tell yourself you will have a good day. Tell yourself things will get better. Tell yourself what positive experience you will have. After you have spoken over yourself, walk towards what you spoke. You want to have a good day? Do something that is good. You want things to get better? Be the better thing in your life. You have a positive experience you want to have, work towards it. Nothing in life is free, so train yourself to work towards the things that would lighten your heart and brighten your perception.
If this is not enough for you, there is one more thing you can do. You don’t like feeling the way you do? You don’t like the way the world is looking? Then you go and make sure the next person never feels the way you do today. You take the first step in making the world a better place. Be kind to the servers at the restaurants, grocery stores, coffee shops, transportation, and be kind to the homeless and the stranger. You step out of your way to compliment someone. You be the difference.
Oftentimes our joy is not associated to what is done for us, but rather what we do for others. What have you done for another lately? If you haven’t done anything, you are the reason for your state of mind. We are not meant to live alone or be selfish creatures. You have to walk in kindness, joy, and happiness in order to receive joy, kindness, and happiness.
Perhaps you are not in the position to watch videos, read uplifting books, listen to upbeat music, or help lift others up. Perhaps you are in the very depth of depression and doing anything seems like a chore. Maybe you feel like what’s the point? I, too, have been there.
I remember the time I sat in a stranger’s car at my job as a valet and cried. I hated who I worked for, I hated where I worked, I hated feeling powerless to change any of it, and I hated that I had to keep doing it despite how much I hated it and the fact that it was taking me nowhere. My heart was heavy, my thoughts were dark, and I couldn’t see a way out. It was there, in that car, that I learned something new about God. I could call on Him even there.
I asked God one thing, “Please lift this weight off of my shoulders and rid me of this depression.” I prayed that simple prayer from the sincerity of my heart and found my whole body loosen up and become light. Then, I felt all that deep sadness dissipate into peace. I had been feeling low all that day, but five seconds of true relief from God changed my life, and my perspective, for the better.
You are never too far, too lost, too evil, too depressed, or too etc. to not be able to pray. A simple confession of the heart can relieve so much of the pain. God listens. Admit that you hate what you see, you hate what you do, you hate how you feel, and you hate that no one seems to be helping. Even if you say nothing, He hears. Just offer up your state of mind, your heart, your body, and your soul, and watch how Christ turns it all around. Some effects are instant, while others take time.
Wherever relief comes from, you have to press towards it to get it. You can’t just sit and wallow in pity and pain. You have to fight for yourself, and if not for yourself, then for others and the people watching you, though you think they aren’t watching you. Come to terms with the state of your life, and then come to reasonable terms as to how you’ll change it for the better. Always look for the ray of hope, or the silver lining, as they say.
Perception is key when it comes to your view of the world. If you’re looking for perfection, you won’t find it. However, you can look for the good in all things and find it. Don’t believe so? Remember the firefighters who gave their lives to save civilians before the World Trade Centers collapsed? Remember when the teacher gave her life to stop the shooter from shooting up Sandy Hook Elementary? Remember the countless lawyers who helped free innocent prisoners who were serving time for years? Remember the thousands who adopted children abandoned by their parents? Remember the many children that bought their mothers and fathers homes when they became rich? Remember the last time someone said, “Hello.”, “How are you?”, “What would you like?”, or “Is that all to your order?”
Every day, you thankfully have the opportunity to interact with people. Some are bad and some are good. Rather, some are bad having a good or bad day, and some are good having a good or bad day. We are all going through something. We are all learning, growing, and aging at our own paces. My question to you is: have you tried to make your interactions meaningful? Have you interacted with a human being with the sole purpose of seeing something good come out of the situation? Have you ever been responsible for someone’s smile? It’s a beautiful experience.
Regardless of what’s happening in life, there is always laughter, there is always childbirth, there is always God, and there is always salvation. Every storm breaks apart to bring the sun, and every drought ends with rain. Misery is not permanent. If you stick through it, you’ll see what I say is truth. I’m a firm believer of the Word of God in the Holy Bible and the Word says this: “…Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Weeping and joy are together in this life. They alternate at the behest of God and the will of men.
I pray for short nights and long mornings. I pray for the nights in your life to end and give way to the mornings. I pray the mornings become days full of joy. I pray you find peace in your life and in what you’re going through, and that you find that silver lining. “No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing He will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.” “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; He will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.” There is an end to the pain and suffering. If baby laughter, jokes, heart-warming videos, being goodness to others, making meaningful interactions, or prayer can’t help you push through and find the good in life, may the Word of the Lord be the hope you need.