An upside-down look at a right-side-up view of life

I’m counting to ten. I’m taking deep breaths. I’m annoyed, frustrated and out of solutions. The only thing left is to start again…or give up! But I have put my hand to the plow – or in this case the pen – or computer…whatever!

ARGHHH!!!!!!!!!!

Aannnnddd the light begins to dawn upon my dark mood. I am…

SO VERY BUSTED!

All those hijacked words, those missing pearls of wit and wisdom…They were expounding on the virtues of choosing to give thanks when you don’t feel thankful!

Am I in the midst of one of those “God things?”

Ah yes, the joy of personal application! When things look upside down from my point of view, what I desperately need is God’s perspective, which will always turn life right side up! God’s perspective gives me the bigger picture, transforming my aggravation into appreciation. And what could be more cleansing than “practicing what I preach?”

I have been “living” in Ephesians for the last year – soaking, marinating my heart, mind and soul in those life-giving truths. Here’s my summary: I am blessed beyond understanding – God’s will for me is to know and experience His fullness and for this life to flourish and grow and shine it’s way right out through every little pore – Self concern gums up the whole works – The final pièce de résistance, the cherry-on-top that describes one who is not full of herself but filled with God’s Spirit is the ability to “give thanks to God for everything in the name of Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 4:20)

Excuse me while I hit the PAUSE button. A mid-course correction is needed here! I’ll be back when my “’tude” is adjusted**.

Ok, I’m back (and you have no way of knowing how long that pause button was depressed!) Plain and simple: the result of “self” at the control center is grumbling and complaining. That stuff flows out of me effortlessly. And what is even worse is that it feels so good, so justified. Sadly, my immediate grumbling was not even noticeable to me. Even worse, when it occurred to me that my attitude was grumbly and not grateful, even then I did not want to choose to be thankful. (After all, if I ruled the universe, fussing at technology malfunctions would be considered a healthy release of pent up frustrations.)

During my PAUSE, I reviewed God’s word and was reminded of my most favorite characteristic of God: his counter-intuitiveness. His ways are contrary to our natural inclination. It’s like being told to go North to go South. It does not seem right.

I so often justify internal grumbling. But it leads to upside-down thinking, which leads to unfulfilled living, certainly not to happiness. A friend once said,

“If there is no melody in your heart, if you’re not happy, you’re probably not thankful.”

Ephesians 5:19; “Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ.”

So the bottom line has been underscored for me once again: how we think is so vital to what we experience. Left to myself my thoughts will always turn upside down. I must ask God to turn them right side up, leaning into his power; the power that Paul in Ephesians says is at work within me. (Ephesians 3:20)

Yes, Lord, you have lovingly reminded me that your thoughts are not my thoughts, neither are my ways your ways. (Isaiah 55:8) I am helpless and hopeless when I try to live like you. Only you can live the supernatural life through me. Crying “Uncle” seems to be a recurring pattern in my prayers! “ May my heart overflow with thankfulness for you teach me your decrees.” (Psalm119:171) Amen.

*Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Time-related

**’tude – short for attitude.

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