by Scott Smith
The Founder of Liberty University, the late Dr. Jerry Falwell, often said people are either in the midst of a storm, coming out of a storm, or they are approaching a storm. All of us have experienced struggles in our lives.
You may be in the middle of a struggle right now, and you are holding fast to God’s grace and direction. You may have recently been through a struggle and you are seeing the effects today. You may be approaching a struggle, knowingly or unknowingly, and you are afraid. You may be approaching a struggle and you are confident in God’s grace and direction. Let’s be candid; confidence in the face of struggle is not an easy attitude to embrace. No matter your position in the ebb and flow of life’s tide, this message is for you.
I once heard a pastor say that happiness is affected by circumstance, but joy is a product of perspective. Perspective is the game-changing component in the schematic of adopting an attitude of confidence in the face of struggles. In order to persevere through struggles, we must secure the proper lenses through which we view our struggles. This involves exercising proper perspective. I submit to you two practical exercises that will help you adopt an attitude of confidence in your life that will help you approach, endure and exit struggles.
I am writing this blog entry on November 1, 2012. The favorite Holiday of Thanksgiving is exactly three weeks away. (A note of admission: I am listening to Christmas music as I write) So, it is fitting that our first exercise is an attitude of gratitude. A thankful heart produces a joyful perspective. I encourage you to exercise thanksgiving throughout your day, and you will notice a change of perspective. One of the best ways to perform this exercise is to make a list of things for which you are thankful. I encourage you to read this list aloud to yourself. Complete this assignment every single day for a week, and you will notice that adopting an attitude of gratitude will support an attitude of confidence no matter what type of struggle in which you find yourself.
The second exercise is an extension of the first. I encourage you to count your blessings. This exercise requires an ongoing, daily count of your blessings. This is something that you will find beneficial to your perspective in the midst of struggles. Have you ever been kept awake at night because of the stress that accompanies a struggle? I’m sure we all have. I have learned that instead of counting sheep to find the route back to slumber, I start to count my blessings. You will likely find the amount of blessings will be of larger quantity than our struggles and trials.
Granted, this does not alleviate the validity of the trial or struggle, but it does foster a spirit of thanksgiving and gladness in our hearts. This is often the catalyst for the constant practice of a positive perspective in our lives. So, when you feel discouraged, I encourage you to start counting your blessings. You may find this an overwhelming exercise in the observation of God’s grace, as you are reminded of God’s faithfulness.
As we approach the Holiday of Thanksgiving, I encourage all of us to adopt an attitude of gratitude and count our blessings. These exercises will create an armor of protection as we approach, endure and exit struggles. Remember, God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). No matter where you are today in the ebb and flow of life’s tide, I encourage you to embrace these exercises and make them consistent practices in your life. A thankful heart produces a joyful perspective, and that perspective will serve as a game-changer in the midst of struggles.