I like watching college football. Actually, I like any football, especially the highlights on the sports news. At one time I didn’t enjoy the game because “my” team always lost. Of course, that was not true but I felt like one loss equaled being a loser.
I would mope and sigh that “my” team lost simply because I was rooting for them. Wow, can you imagine the power that gave me to control the game! What an arrogant thought! In reality I had no vested interest in the outcome of the game. But through my low self-esteem I saw every disappoint I faced as a sign of me being a loser.
I had no control in a football game I was watching but I did have control in how I looked at life. I didn’t pick the winning team; I didn’t have the nicest car or the prettiest clothes. So what? “It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.” (Psalm 18:32) I was choosing self-pity to reinforce my lack of self-esteem. God gives me what I need; love, comfort and mercy, to name a few. What the world gives is shallow and temporary.
When I began changing my priorities, I started building my self-esteem. Who I am became more important than ball games or possessions. How I treat people reflects my true self more than how I am treated by others, or how my favorite team does.
Now, I can enjoy football even when my team loses by three points in the final 15 seconds.
Have you ever given yourself too much power by believing something was done or said simply because of you?
Job was a man with problems. That’s an understatement; Job was a man who had literally lost everything. He not only lost his physical empire, he lost the power, prestige and security which came with it. He not only lost his wife and children, but their love and companionship. The friends he had left could hardly be called “friends.” They nagged at him to “curse God and die.”
Every one of us has lost something dear to us. We may be tempted to follow Job’s friends’ advice and curse God. There was a time when I blamed God for my problems; after all He is the one who made me fat and ugly and therefore, unlovable.
The one thing that Job did not lose was the main thing that I had lost: trust in God.
“The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” (Job 1:21 NIV) Job lost everything of earthly value, yet he praised the Lord. Verse 22 says, “In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” Beyond the abundance of what he once had, Job remained faithful and trusting, even into the ashes of despair.
I was in the valley of despair because I did not trust God. I looked for human values to validate my worth. When I believed God that He (the creator of all) loved me (the least of all) then I began to see who He wanted me to be. No matter what calamity you face the first step to recovery is to praise God.
Are you looking to the world or to God for your value and purpose in this life?
Remember the classic It’s a Wonderful Life. The theme became very real to me as I sat in church at a friend’s funeral. The pews were filled and the stories people told were full of love. A mutual friend made the comment, “We just never know how many people our lives touch.”
That was the lesson George Bailey learned at the end of the movie. What he considered a wasted life was actually a blessing to many. He was lucky enough to see that while he lived. Unfortunately, we often don’t see how valuable our own life is to other people.
Just a year ago I attended the memorial of my husband’s friend. The crowd was just as large but the atmosphere was markedly different. He had taken his own life. People told stories of how he had brought happiness to them but he died feeling his life wasn’t worthwhile.
People need an angel like George Bailey had. In real life that angel may be you. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs,” Ephesians 4:29. Be positive and uplifting to one another, we can all use reinforcement.
What are you doing to make it a wonderful life for someone else?
Happy New Year! Or to paraphrase Psalm 118:24, This is the year the Lord has made, rejoice and be glad in it!
Is it possible to rejoice for the next 365 days? How can we be glad for whatever comes along? Well, we can start with what the Bible really tells us; “This is the day the Lord has made, rejoice and be glad in it!”
Add verse 29, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good: his love endures forever.”
Remembering that His love endures all things is reason to rejoice. We can fill our minds each morning with this truth and thus equip ourselves to face any problems of the day. If we do this day after day then a year of rejoicing will occur.
Keeping the Lord at the center of our lives will insure a Happy New Year!
What are your goals for the next year? Is our Lord and Savior included in them?