by Karen Blanchard
SHELBY TOWNSHIP, MI – This year has been one we will never forget! We have experienced a pandemic, shutdowns, multiple losses, racial tensions and political uneasiness. It is so easy to focus on our circumstances, and get burdened with all that is going on around us. Paul reminds us in Philippians 1:27, “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”
Back in the Spring, I was among the parents who were “homeschooling” their kids virtually. I used to be a schoolteacher, and I was excited for this new adventure with my kids. The first day we got up, had our devotions, and I was excited for this new opportunity to be home with them and teach them! It didn’t take long for the excitement to wear off.
I was running back and forth all morning between both kids and helping them with whatever needs they had. By 1:00 pm I was exhausted, my kids were frustrated, and I hadn’t even had the chance to do any of my work. This continued for a few weeks. I had a bad attitude about the situation, and I wasn’t being the mom and teacher my kids needed me to be. I was focusing on all I was missing, and I was having a hard time seeing past my current circumstance. To put it plainly, I was having a “pity party.”
Finally, I began to pray for God to help me find joy in this situation. After a few days of praying this, I went out to walk one morning; which was my big adventure of the day. As I was walking, I took a different route than normal. I remember stepping over something right in the middle of my path. I wasn’t really paying attention, but I felt led to go back and see what it was. When I looked down, I saw a purple painted rock that said, “JOY.” Tears filled my eyes. I remember looking up and thinking how much God loves me to send me this reminder that He sees me, He hears me, and He cares about me. Some people may look at this and think it is a coincidence, but I assure you it was not. God had directed my steps that day. This is how He works. When we surrender our circumstances to him, He is faithful to meet us where we are.
That little touch from God was exactly what I needed to help shift my perspective. I began to look each day for little moments of joy. My situation didn’t change, but my perspective did. When I began to focus on what I was thankful for in my life and not in my current situation, my joy increased.
I love this quote from Lysa TerKeurst, “The mind feasts on what it focuses on.” If we allow our mind to focus on the negative or what we are missing, then it will spiral us down to a bad place. Once we flip the script in our mind and begin to focus on what we are thankful for and all God has done in our life, then we can have joy because our circumstances won’t dictate the way we feel.
I love Philippians 4:8 – Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.
What are you allowing your mind to think on? I encourage you to think on the things of God and the blessings in your life and not on what your circumstances are.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Karen is married to Scott Blanchard, pastor of Lakepointe Church, and moved from Florida to Michigan in the summer of 2009 to plant Lakepointe Church in Shelby Township. She enjoys mentoring and discipling women and also leads women’s life groups through her church. She is passionate about helping women find their purpose in who God created them to be. She is on staff at Lakepointe Church and does administrative work as well as event planning. She loves being part of what God is doing at Lakepointe!