Looking Up

Welcome! Last Saturday I learned a lesson while helping my son pick up sticks in our yard. I live on a wooded lot, so there are always plenty of twigs to feed the burn pile. After half an hour of looking at grass, I got discouraged and annoyed by how long the job was taking. Then I looked up.

My sugar maple caught my eye. I became transfixed by the mottled green and red leaves. They haven’t turned crimson yet, but will very soon. This reminded me of how easy it is to get mired in drudgery and complaining, rather than looking up and noticing the beauty all around us.

I’m the first to admit that my mindset is usually negative. I view the world through the lens of a pessimist, because it seems all too often when I expect good things to happen, I’m disappointed. So I expect the worst. This way I’m not hurt or surprised when things go badly. But I’m delighted when things turn out better than I expected.

Here’s an example. This year I resolved to return to devotional writing and submit to publishers in earnest. I’ve submitted 13 devotionals since March. Eight were accepted, four were rejected, and one is still being considered by a publisher. I hoped one devotional would be accepted for publication. Eight were. I still feel blessed and humbled by this. I hope to submit four more before the end of the year.

God helped me look up and hope my work would be accepted for publication. But while I needed to look up, I also had to focus on what lay ahead: writing and submitting. Focusing on the positive is important, but I couldn’t rejoice over publication until I did the work.

It’s all about perspective. When I focused on my fear of rejection, that is, looked down at the twigs, I couldn’t make myself write or submit devotionals. When I kept my eyes focused on the task at hand, I was able to write. When I looked up, hoping for publication (looked at the sugar maple leaves), I had the courage to submit.

If you’re struggling with purpose, pessimism, or fear, pray to God for direction, hope, and courage. He is waiting for you to ask for help.

What work lies ahead of you? Maybe you’re volunteering in a boring place. Challenge yourself to look past the drudgery and fix your thoughts on those who will benefit from your labor. If you’re bogged down in paperwork, think about how good it will feel to complete the task. If you’re overwhelmed with how many leaves you need to rake, try to admire the crimson, golden, and tangerine leaves as you work.

If you’d like to read my devotionals, please visit christiandevotions.us. Click or tap on the Author List, and scroll down to my name. Tap on my name, and all eight devotionals will come up.

Oh, and remember: trick-or-treat night is Thursday, October 26, 2017, from 6 to 8 p.m. in East Fallowfield Township and from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in West Fallowfield Township. Please watch out for kids on the roads.

Have a wonderful week. Blessings!