I’ve just subscribed to a 7-day devotional in Youversion on Attitude. Today’s devo reads:
This made me reflect on how I am responding to my recent tests: the miscarriage, followed by loss of the reservation fee, and recently (just today, actually) learning that my maternity leave is unpaid save for SSS benefits (which is barely a third of my salary).
I am not very proud of my initial reactions when I learned about the last installment to the trio of tests. Annoyance (“such hassle! I did not sign up for this!”) shifted to worry (“what about our bills?”). I actually got tired from annoyance and worry coupled with the mild cramping and lower back strain that recurred when I reported back to work yesterday (perhaps prematurely)…and so I fell asleep this afternoon. Praise God that after I woke up, I just had this realization that I shouldn’t be so worried because ultimately, God is our Provider.
After a while, I realized that one misfortune just seemed to follow another (sunod-sunod lang), and I couldn’t understand why. I then found myself struggling with sadness and self-pity. This was when I texted a Pastor friend for prayers. As affirmed by her reply, I felt that through this valley, God was perhaps scraping off from my heart any unwanted pride and reliance on things other than Him from my heart. I repented and asked for forgiveness for those moments when I somewhat felt superior and depended on my own strength and abilities.
I then read old blog posts and realized that these lessons were also the ones that God seemed to be teaching me in the past. Perhaps the Lord brought me back to those times because He wanted to remind me of how He brought me through those valleys. In between those valleys, the Lord added unto me. All that I am and have are His…He has free rein, and can move as He pleases. Because He is good and He remains in control, I can expect to see His goodness. This season shall pass. I shall get out of this valley soon. (Makes me recall 2 dreams I had last Friday night: how I was in a corridor but was seeing a well-lighted broader space, and how above me there was a clear blue sky that was surrounded by swirling dark clouds).
After a few hours, I struggled again and had to call up my mom. She encouraged and reminded me that times such as these call for application of what God has been teaching us and we are to bring sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving. Her words brought to mind the message in church last Sunday, about how our facts and circumstances may change, but we must focus on God’s reality. We have a new life in Him, and that life is our real life. And so, yes, challenging as these tests may be, I choose to focus my gaze on God.
So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.
Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ. – Colossians 3:1-4 MSG
My bestfriend’s text also comforted me earlier about how things could have been much worse, but they’re not…that God is in control. Her text somehow helped me see God’s goodness despite this. My vision is, admittedly, still blurry though. In these challenging seasons, when I sometimes feel that I’ve no strength to keep a good attitude, He helps me out.
I don’t know if I’ve 100% control of my attitude. As I choose to focus my gaze on Him and admit that I do not know what else to do so I just cling to Him, His grace envelopes me. He reminds me of who He is and causes me to see Him, such that responding in praise will just be a natural reaction. As I quiet my heart before Him, He wraps His love around me, filling me with love to give back to Him. In this way, He helps me shift my attitude in situations that I’ve no control of.
Abba Father, the tests aren’t easy….but thank You because You’re helping me out so I can pass the test. Thank You for transforming the complaints into thanks. Lord, I am serious about living this new life in You, so I am looking up. In all these, I thank You because You remain in control. Things could’ve been worse, but you didn’t allow them to be such. Open my eyes of faith and help me see You. Even if I don’t see what You’re doing yet, for as long as I see You, I’m okay, Lord. In these times, just allow me to feel more of Your love, to hear from You. I just want more of Your Presence. In Your presence, there is fullness of joy and peace, regardless of facts and changing circumstances. Help me focus on Your reality, and see things from Your perspective. Your will be done here on earth as it is in Heaven. Because You are my Deliverer, I know that my circumstances will shift soon. Because You are my good shepherd, You will lead me to green pastures and quiet waters. Still my heart before You, Lord, and help me to praise and love You even in this storm. Thank You. In Jesus’ name, amen.