Your Church +Portland


What I Love About...

The other day I was listening to a radio talk show host share something quite intriguing. He was telling of how he used to counsel people battling depression and those contemplating suicide by getting them to talk about their future. He said if you can get people to talk about their future they tend to let go of the past long enough to remind themselves that they still have a tomorrow. He said he would start with their plans for the next day then the next week, the next holiday and so on. He went on to say that those who had called in put all their focus on their failures and disappointments but when he got them to talk about their future they would always remember they had something better, something to live for. 

He hit it on the mark. How often do we find ourselves complaining and discouraged when it comes to our lives? I think all too often we have a tendency of gauging our success by others and by that we generally pick someone we see who seems happier, more successful and who happened to upgrade to something new recently. In an effort to save face we remind ourselves of how tough our life is by rehearsing the unexpected twists and turns we’ve endured and how the past has affected our future. Sadly enough it’s pretty easy to get to that place. What’s worse is that if we let that pattern of thought run its course the past will eventually disintegrate our belief system and ultimately redefine our theology. 

2 Corinthians 6:4-13 (The Message)
Our work as God's servants gets validated — or not — in the details. People are watching us as we stay at our post, alertly, unswervingly . . . in hard times, tough times, bad times; 5 when we're beaten up, jailed, and mobbed; working hard, working late, working without eating; 6 with pure heart, clear head, steady hand; in gentleness, holiness, and honest love; 7 when we're telling the truth, and when God's showing his power; when we're doing our best setting things right; 8 when we're praised, and when we're blamed; slandered, and honored; true to our word, though distrusted; 9 ignored by the world, but recognized by God; terrifically alive, though rumored to be dead; beaten within an inch of our lives, but refusing to die; 10 immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy; living on handouts, yet enriching many; having nothing, having it all. 11 Dear, dear Corinthians, I can't tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. 12 We didn't fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren't small, but you're living them in a small way. 13 I'm speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!

This is an amazing set of verses. I love the part in verse 11 where the Apostle Paul refers to life as needing to be ‘wide-open’ and ‘spacious’. Can you believe he was referring to his life as wide-open and spacious? It sounds more like a bipolar life to me! He was used to working hard, and working without eating. He was used to being praised and then blamed. He was used to being ignored, distrusted, beaten within an inch of his life and yet ALWAYS filled with deep joy. Was Paul superhuman or something? No, I think he truly enjoyed his life! How is that possible? The only way it’s possible is by his perspective.  He was focused on something bigger. He then hit home in this letter to the church by telling them and us, that the ‘smallness’ they were feeling in life wasn’t from without. In comparison to him, the smallness they were feeling wasn’t because of their circumstances. The smallness was coming from within. It was their perspective. The ‘size’ of their life was determined by the way they were seeing. It was Zig Ziglar who once said, 

“It is our attitude, not our aptitude that determines our altitude”

So here’s an idea. Grab a pen and paper and take whatever area in life you’re struggling in and write down at least 10 things you like about it. Then make the heading to read, “What I LOVE about ….”, and read those 10 things you love out loud to yourself every day for a month. Then watch what happens to your perspective. It’s pretty amazing! 

Keep living large,
Pastor Shian

Pastor ShianComment