Remind yourself of your blessings each day. Each March, St. Patrick's Day is celebrated by the Irish and the not-so-Irish alike. As an Irish lass myself, I am reminded of "An Old Irish Blessing" you may be familiar with.
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
We know in real life that the road does not always rise up to meet us, the wind is not always at our backs, the sun doesn't shine every day and the rain does not always fall softly.
There are times when we feel lost, we can barely stand in the wind, the sky is dark with clouds and the rain is coming down in buckets. We can trust, though, that God does, indeed, hold us in the palm of His hand and that, my friend, is very comforting.
As I thought of this idea of blessings, I began to think about how very blessed we truly are. Some of us realize it; others do not. Some folks live in an "attitude of gratitude," grateful for each moment, regardless of how good or challenging it may be.
Others have a "half glass empty" perspective and are not quite thankful for anything in their lives. That sure is unfortunate. Imagine not being able or willing to see the hand of God and his blessings in anything! Imagine not seeing how He turns things around and uses even the most challenging circumstances for our good. How difficult life would be.
We have all had our share of challenges in our lives. I don't know of even one person who has gotten to this day without experiencing some trials and challenges. I have noticed, though, that what often separates those who feel blessed and those who don't is the perspective they choose to adopt on their journey.
It has long been found that a positive mental attitude has many benefits. "Optimistic people live longer, have closer personal relationships and are able to deal with the negative things that happen to them," says Dr. Peter Norvid, a geriatric specialist in Lagrange, IL.
Conversely, pessimism has links to negative affects on health. Besides being unhappy and stressed, pessimistic people have higher incidence of cardiac issues, poorer relationships and higher mortality rates (American Heart Association, 2009).
Since our children could talk, we've had a special dinner conversation. Each evening at our dinner table, we share "something good about our day." This is a time for us to share something positive no matter what kind of day we've had. We've all had times when, after a particularly tough day, all we could share was "Something good about my day is this great dinner I'm eating." But it has taught our children that, no matter what is going on around us, there is ALWAYS a blessing to be found.
Recently, I had a conversation with a friend who was feeling stuck at a particular place in life. As she spent yet another day in the hospital we talked about the "blessing of being stuck." She began to see how God had given her a time to rest and refuel before carrying on in her journey; a little rest stop in the busyness of life. Although being hospitalized was downright inconvenient, she acknowledged the need to rest in the Lord and refocus herself.
Up until that moment, she hadn't seen the blessing in being stuck because she was feeling, well, stuck. But as soon as her perspective shifted, she was able to see her entire situation through a whole new lens, giving her renewed hope that the Lord was, indeed, at work in it.
What about you? Is your glass half empty or half full? Are you choosing to see your blessings in the midst of your trials? Are you able to see the "blessing of being stuck" or are you telling God how he should fix your predicament?
I encourage you, friend, to look for the blessings in each moment. Besides making the journey more enjoyable, it just might help you live longer!