Change Your Negative Outlook To Gratitude: Perceive the Water in Your Desert

By Nancy Virden (c)2019

For the first ten years of my life, my mom was a college student attending one class at a time. She set an example that nothing is ever too late by learning to drive and graduating college in her forties. She retired and started a second career at 65.

A diagnosis of breast cancer did not stop her from looking forward. As she was wheeled into surgery for a mastectomy, I asked how she was feeling.  “I wish I didn’t have to go through it,” she said. “But this too will pass.”

And she would know.

For years she struggled to develop loving relationships with us kids but was met with resistance. She was unaware of the brainwashing we were receiving from dad. He did a very good job of causing us to believe everything was her fault and that she was an unfit parent.

She and I missed out on a normal mother-daughter relationship. Finally, at age 30 God lifted my blinders. Mom and I enjoyed each other for 11 years before she died. The example she set was right – it is never too late to begin and begin again.

The prophet  Isaiah in 43:18-21 reported a promise from God.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.”

This Bible passage is about refocusing.  Placing ourselves in this promise originally spoken to the nation of ancient Israel, we are figuratively still in the desert. Nowhere does it say God whisked us to an upscale resort where the springs are surrounded by palm trees and hired personnel to wait on our every wish. No, the scene remains in the hot, dry discomfort of a barren landscape.  

This is where God is doing his new thing. In the wilderness. In the middle of pain and struggle.

His springs are there, so do we perceive them? The streams in the wasteland are flowing; will we drink from them and praise God as the simple beasts do? Or are we smarter than that, more realistic? Where will we place our eyes?

The adult child who has learned that abuse is unpredictable and often mixed with expressions of love needs to recall the signals in order to exercise good judgment with people who would mistreat her. Still, her eyes can be on the waters offered by the Heavenly Father whose love is never a violation. Her spirit’s refreshing can come from the source of life himself, while she remains in the desert of disappointment that sometimes others do not love her as they ought.

The cynic who learns to acknowledge his negative core beliefs opens him to the question, “Do I want to stay in this spot repeating what has never worked?  Or do I want to exercise a different sort of reaction to life’s stressors?”

Not always easy but ever possible, we can refocus on the freshwater springing up around our situation and in our hearts. This is not denial; Pollyanna does not live in this truth. She is too busy diving into the mirage of that fancy resort. Every time, she will hit the sand.

Our vision is not a mirage. Our perfect heavenly Father’s promises are real. The water is present. “See, I am doing a new thing…Do you not perceive it?”

Dear Father God, Thank you for providing for me in the middle of my emotional desert. Your love is real and I need your help to see it and believe it. Please open my eyes to your truth and my heart to your Son Jesus. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

-COMMENTS WELCOME

Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 31:24

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.

Happy Thanksgiving, America!

How the Difference Maker Lifts You Above Depressive Thoughts (c)2020

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Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair. NOTE: Nancy is not a doctor or a mental health professional, and speaks only from personal experience and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

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