My daughter recently discovered Minecraft. It has become somewhat of an obsession for her and I can understand why she likes it so much. Like me, my daughter is drawn to activities that allow her to create, whether it is coloring, drawing or more recently building things in Minecraft.
One thing that drives me crazy when watching her play is she has this habit of aiming the camera down. I insist repeatedly that she look up in order to see what is around her and I realize that it is a lesson for my own life.
Over the last few months I’ve found myself living in discouragement, feeling like no matter what I do, I cannot keep up. Busyness at work has left me oftentimes so worn out that when I am home with my family they get whatever is leftover and it’s usually not pretty.
I am overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy both at work and at home, giving what feels like everything I have, but it never being enough. Exhaustion has set in, but not the type that would be remedied with more sleep and I’ve found myself crying out to God for help, praying for the rest that only He can offer.
In my prayers recently, I heard the Spirit tell me something very similar to what I told my daughter, “Stop looking down! Look up and focus on your blessings!”
It’s so easy to live discouraged when we focus on what we don’t like about our lives. It takes so much more intentionality to look up and around and realize that no matter what difficulties we may be facing, we are surrounded by blessings that are too numerous to count.
No matter what our circumstances are like we can still find things to be unhappy about if we keep our focus on our problems. When we lift our eyes to the goodness of God in our lives it lifts our spirits.
Immediately after hearing the Spirit tell me to look up, I began thanking God for anything and everything I could think of, listing out every good thing He has blessed me with. It didn’t take long for me to begin experiencing encouragement.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.Philippians 4:6-9 NIV
A painful lesson that God teaches us is that He is less interested in changing our circumstances as He is in changing our hearts and building our character. He reminds us that when we experience hardship, a change in perspective may be what we need rather than a change in circumstances. He promises that when we have eyes to see His goodness that surrounds us at all times we can be filled with His peace even in the midst of difficulty.
On the glorious splendor of Your majesty And on Your wonderful works, I will meditate. People will speak of the power of Your awesome acts, And [with gratitude and submissive wonder] I will tell of Your greatness. They will overflow [like a fountain] when they speak of Your great and abundant goodness And will sing joyfully of Your righteousness.Psalms 145:5-7 AMP