It finally feels like spring here in South Louisiana. Air is glorious. New growth. So much beauty to take in if we choose to. I am sitting at my desk looking out at all the bright green new leaves of Asian jasmine completely covering the ground just outside. For a moment reflecting on the person I used to be. Someone that would look at that jasmine and imagine all the snakes and creepy things just beneath the surface, lurking in the dark spaces. Something shifted within because I rarely think of the things hidden in the dark beneath, instead noticing the leaves that are sprouting, bright and vibrant, reaching toward the light that speckles the landscape. Nothing has changed about those vines, everything has changed about my perspective.
Sometimes circumstances in our lives push us to only notice negatives, justifiably. Please don't take this as a "cheer up buttercup" blog post. There are seasons in our lives that hurt so deeply. A close friend just lost both of her parents within a few weeks. During those times all self help and positive thinking are on the shelf as we lean heavily into grace, grace for survival, grace to get up and get dressed, grace to know that one day we will breathe with ease again. However, I am convinced there is something of beauty to be seen even in the worst situations, even the ones that the fog must clear a bit before the beauty is seen.
Perhaps today you choose to see the beauty, the things that are pushing you towards the light of Jesus. It is not always an easy choice until you have chosen it long enough for an internal shift.
Shifting our negative focus to positive is something that doesn't happen overnight but it happens when we become intentional about it. Recognizing when we are speaking negative and stopping mid sentence, reframing our speech, even if it doesn't feel real at first. We must retrain our brain if we want to experience that shift. Just as training our leg muscles to do squats, we must train the muscle of our brain. Neither is comfortable. You do not gain strong quads by laying on the couch all day. Nor do you change a way of thinking by continuing to nurture that thought pattern. With ALL growth comes discomfort. Until we become comfortable with the idea of being uncomfortable and walking in that awkward space, growth won't happen.
Maybe you love being the way you are even if it is negative. I bet you don't. My guess is you would love to smile the moment you open your eyes in the morning with great expectation of what the day could hold.
I pray today that you do something, just one small thing to notice the beauty that is surrounding you. That you choose joy even when it's difficult with the knowledge that one day it will not be difficult. After you have chosen it for a while it becomes you.