Who doesn't love a good secret? Thankfully, this is a secret that you can share! So maybe it's not totally a secret but I've got some juicy details in here! When it comes to life, we will experience hard times. I just got off the phone with two friends who are dealing with situations so heartbreaking that I was fighting tears while on the phone with them. In the midst of all trials and in the midst of all triumphs, we must be sure to follow these three rules in order to continue to receive the best in life and to also shine the light of Christ to those we come in contact with!
1. Be kind.
As a child, it wasn't uncommon to hear parents stress the importance of being kind.
"Don't hit your brother!" "Say 'excuse me'!" There were always plenty of reinforcements to encourage you to be kind. We live in a society where people feel so entitled. If you feel like hitting someone, you do it. If said person gets upset about it, they're in the wrong. Why? Because you felt like doing something so as a result, you should be able to. There's no more excuse me. We cut people off. We cut people off on the road and in conversation. We interrupt and get upset when they remind us that they were in the middle of talking. Why? Because we feel entitled. If I want something, I should be able to get it when I want it without waiting or being excused. A person who wants friends must show themselves friendly. If you are not kind, friendly, jovial, or pleasant, it's going to be very hard for people to actually enjoy being around you. They may be around you to appease you or make sure you don't go off on them in anger but the reality is that our best selves are shown in environments where we feel safe. An environment where someone is unkind is an environment of tension. If you don't want people feeling like they're walking on eggshells around you, learn to become genuinely kind. No situation, good or bad, is an excuse to be unkind.
2. Be open.
There is a sense of control that we all like to have in situations. Even when it comes to growing in our Christian walk, we're constantly hearing about how there is a need to SURRENDER our will over to God's and give Him full control. Most (if not all) Christians don't like the sound of that. However, being open to the concept of surrender WILL make your life better because of who you're surrendering it to. Be open to what God has to offer you because He wants to restore you and heal you. Be open to the experiences and people God will bring into your path. They will enhance your life, whether it be through a lesson learned or a friendship gained. Don't close yourself off based on fear of hurt, failure or insecurity. Give that to God because if the enemy can keep you in a place where you're closed off, you won't grow. Let the light in and be open!
3. Be grateful.
My senior pastor did a sermon a few years ago around Thanksgiving time. I always reference it because it really did change the trajectory of my life. I naturally look at life from a skeptical/negative view. I anticipate what could go wrong. I worry and get afraid. It's pretty crippling. However, after listening to her sermon on gratitude, I was CHANGED. She encouraged the congregation to get into the habit of being grateful for each breath and opportunity to get things right with God. We also needed to "in all things, give thanks". So when negative things happen to you (which they will), it's your job to put on the grateful lens and see the good that can come out of the situation. If you do that with each moment, you will develop a lifestyle of gratitude. Even if you have to focus on the fact that you are still breathing or that you're in your right mind, those are blessings that shouldn't be taken for granted. Thanksgiving and gratitude are disciplines that must be developed. They're not easy but they're totally worth it!
I hope I've encouraged you to accept these three points into your life.
May God continue to bless you as you seek Him with your whole heart!