Your Viewpoint Determines Your Life. It’s Not the Other Way Around.

What a week I just had!

And not in a wow-that-was-great-let’s-do-it-again kind of way.

It was sad. And scary. And stressful. And unending.

Yet in the midst of it all there was grace. And gratitude. And thankfulness. And laughter.

Have you ever seen the movie Flipped? It’s a coming-of-age story told between the perspectives of two young kids, a boy and a girl. Same events but different viewpoints.

Life is all about your perspective.

My week, in order:

One of my best friends ended up in ICU last week.

An old high school friend was diagnosed with cancer.

My mother suffered a stroke.

A dear friend died.

I could elaborate in my misery:

My friend ended up having to have a pacemaker put in. After promising to be there with her every step of the way, I ended up leaving town the next day. Her surgery was delayed several hours and we were terrified that the increased anxiety would lead to complications.

The cancer diagnosis came just a couple of years after she became a mom, a late in life baby who’d just begun to live as she now faces death.

My mom was five hours away and I was the last to arrive at the hospital. I was helpless, and afraid, and hated that I didn’t live closer. She’d just had a medical issue where a head injury required stitches and I hadn’t been there for that, just like I hadn’t been there the last couple of times she was hospitalized.

I was with my mom when I got the news of my friend’s death, unable to help her family with arrangements, too late to make that call to check on her, the one I’d been putting off. I knew she’d been once again battling the demons inside and it cost her her life.

This viewpoint is a completely negative, glass half-empty perspective.  Not to mention that every statement above is focused on how it makes ME feel, when the truth is, while I was affected by the events above, they aren’t even about me. Allowing yourself to look at life through this lens is not only bad for you, it’s sin.

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ…      2 Corinthians 10:4-5

If I want a life filled with peace and joy and obedience to Christ, I have to change my perspective. The situations didn’t change- one friend still has cancer and the other is still gone way too soon-but there’s a lot to be grateful for as well.

My week through the eyes of Christ:

One of my best friends ended up in ICU last week. She had a pacemaker put in and the surgery went well. She’s at home recovering now and I’m planning a surprise movie afternoon for her later this week with her favorite dvds and snacks.

An old high school friend was diagnosed with cancer. She has a bevy of friends rallying to help her and her family with financial expenses, as well as meals and babysitting. With a new baby at home, her spirits and determination are high. I’ve been honored to be able to help plan a benefit, one of the things our ministry does often.

My mother suffered a stroke. She fully recovered. Every member of my family that lived nearby, along with many friends, was in the waiting room that afternoon showing their love and support for my parents. My sister lives near our parents and I am so grateful that she is there to take care of their day-to-day needs, along with my two youngest daughters. I was blessed to be able to spend the week in Louisiana, spending time with them in the hospital and helping out once Mom came home. We had some great family meals after Mom came home, without the usual family holiday stress! I even got to spend time with my grandsons and my great-nephew while I was in town. I 100% believe that Mom’s stroke happening at church, along with me getting the call while I was in my church, allowed for immediate prayers to reach the Throne, causing a miraculous healing. While her quick turnaround was more indicative of a mini-stroke, the MRI showed an incident that should’ve been far worse and was indeed a full-blown cerebrovascular accident.

A dear friend died. I won’t sugar-coat this one. It was tough. I know people say things like She’s in a better place and Her suffering is over. But I don’t know. I pray that she did accept Jesus as her Savior. I know that we talked about it many times. I’m grateful that I had the chance to know her. I’m thankful that we were able to spend time together, a couple of middle-aged women who loved playing games and riding go-carts! I know that she had a chance to come to the Lord, and I’m so glad that I was placed in her life during that time. I will forever be aware that sometimes God places people in our lives who will only be there for a short time and we should use that time wisely to share His Love and His Message.

In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul. Psalm 94:19

You can allow the devil to have free rein in your head. You can have a pity party and you can invite all your Facebook friends to join in with your woe-is-me posts. You can crank up the music that knows exactly how you are feeling and will commiserate with you. But make no mistake, you are only feeding your flesh and in your flesh is no good thing. (Romans 7:18)

If you want true comfort, the comfort that nourishes your soul, put your focus on Christ. Even in the midst of the hard times.

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