Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Recognize blessings ― find beauty in the camouflage, humor in tragedy, and love in the midst of strife

“May we be strengthened with the understanding that being blessed does not mean 
that we shall always be spared all the disappointments and difficulties of life.” 

Blessing. What does it mean, really? For most people, anything can only be called a blessing when it's of benefit to them. When it brings them happiness and pleasant feeling. Something that makes them smile. Something that they've always wanted to have in their life and suddenly it's granted. But then, usually it ceases to be a blessing when it entails with it difficulties later on or when it becomes to them nettlesome. The way people define blessing is in accordance to how something satiates them. What they, at one time, consider a blessing can eventually turn into something they resent almost instantaneously. A job they were once deeply thankful for (or even considered an answered prayer). A friend who they thought understands their innermost thoughts and feelings. An object they couldn't drop during the first few days twas given to them. Just to name a few. They're all considered blessings until something goes wrong. Until those things cease to keep them satisfied.

This is the reason why it's hard for people to be grateful. They can easily find reasons to be dissatisfied. Almost anything can affect their view of something. And it all comes down to FEELINGS. The way they take things, situations, or even humans is totally influenced by how things (or people) are keeping them pleased. Can't tell for certain (JUST YET...allow me to think more...) whether it's feelings that cause ungratefulness or it's the other way around. Are people unhappy because they aren't grateful... or ...they are ungrateful because they can't be happy"?

In most cases, the latter "seems" to be the more appropriate answer. Well, if I am to consider my topic, then it could, indeed, be the culprit. Because people base everything on whether it benefits them or not and that's the only time they can be grateful. But only until such time. Only until they lost the very reason why they are grateful. Then, something's not anymore a blessing to enjoy. Eventually, they start to complain, to say nasty things, to be upset...to figure out how to discard from their life what was once a blessing. A sad scenario.

But if you come to think of it, a grateful heart will never stop finding reasons to be grateful. To find benefit from anything. To find beauty in all things whether it be good or bad. A grateful person will always see good in even the most inconvenient situation, in a despicable person, in a frustrating object. Now, I can, without doubt, say it all boils down to ATTITUDE. It is ungratefulness that causes unhappiness. When a person feels entitled, then there is no room for appreciating whatever. Nothing can ever be a blessing.

The world's definition of blessing is anything favorable. Anything gratifying. It feeds the ego. The self. One definition I found is this..........

"a beneficial thing for which one is grateful; something that brings well-being."

I guess that's why there's this thing called BLESSING IN DISGUISE. Because a thing, a situation, a person cannot be considered a blessing when it's not advantageous (to them). When we hear the word BLESSING, it has a tone of something desirable and delightful. The world (the majority) often dictates how to define a thing. And it's based on how something serves the SELF. What they don't see are the blessings that come with brokenness and tears. The strength that gets developed in one's character through unpleasant situations. The spiritual fruit that grows in each individual when they go through storms. There are blessings even in the worst circumstance. Just people need spiritual eyes to see them.

There are so many people living discontent and disconsolate because they want things to serve them well. They depend on whatever outside of themselves for pleasure. Not knowing that when they have peace within, when the attitude of their heart is right, they can live in gratitude, which then will usher them to a life of boundless joy. 

Someone who became an inspiration to me (who I met only start of this year) once said this, "it is not the place that will adjust to us, it is us who will adjust to the place." Am not really a whiner. But there are things I cannot tolerate. One (of the few ok, ok, "untold") is small spaces. End of the last month (April), I helped two of my friends move in to their new room. When I saw the area, I wasn't able to hold myself and said remarks that had a tone of gripe. To which this friend answered "the line". Tamed me. And I simply conceded. True and wise. We (come on, admit it it's not just me) often yield to pointing at the unappealing and then bellyache. Because we want things to suit us to our comfort. We use things for our gratification. Then dump them when to us they become a millstone around our necks. Sadly, we do that even in our relationships. 

In this generation where we are offered umpteen things to get a thrill out of, it's harder to be satisfied. Things can easily be ditched. Or we end up hoarding things because once we lost our amusement in one thing, we turn to a new one. There is almost nothing that we keep anymore only because there will always be something new. New gadget, new trend, new opportunities, new set of people................... name it. The NEW becomes something we use to compare to what we already have, which we cannot anymore value all because they don't serve us the way we want. At least, not anymore. They once did, but heck everything has become replaceable! 

But, let's not forget that everything is a blessing. Because regardless of how we say we earned what are in our possession, the truth remains, we own nothing and everything is just grace from God. We deserve none. And the more we don't deserve a thing because we barely even maintain the value of anything given to us. Just listen to your prayers. To your words. Do you say thank you more than you grouse? Do you see the beauty in all things? Or do you more often highlight what's wrong around? 

In the book of Jeremiah, the writer describes a blessed man and compared it to a tree planted by the stream......
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in Him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”

It's interesting to note that a man remains blessed even under the scorching heat of the sun and even in the season of drought BECAUSE he trusts the Lord. He, in fact, flourishes and remains fruitful. A man doesn't need to rely on what could be a blessing to be blessed. He doesn't need anything outside of himself to feel blessed. He is blessed simply by What or Who he already have in his life (IF he truly have Him in his life)―God.

Here's more......

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, 
because when he has stood the test, 
he will receive the crown of life 
that God has promised to those who love Him.”
James 1:12

Evidently, the way we tend to think of blessings is far different from how we ought to in God's perspective. We commonly think of blessings (only) in the form of good health, financial wealth, fun friends, travel, promotion, incentives..........and other such tangible things. Rarely (almost not) do we associate trials as a blessing. But God blesses people with Him. And through Him they receive every kind of blessings that can never be taken away by anyone or anything in this world. Blessings in which the reward does not end when the world fades away. The material or worldly blessings we luxuriate in are temporary while the spiritual blessings made available to us by God through Jesus Christ encompass both material and immaterial things, not to mention time and eternity.

If you ask me, I've not yet come to a point when I can say EVERYTHING is a blessing. But, am working on my consciousness to have my spiritual eyes always open to see the blessing in all things that come my way because surely, God allows things to happen for the good. That includes the things I whimper about. *sticks out tongue*

 ".....when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing." [James 1:2]

One last addition....the word BLESSING, was translated from two Greek words and one word is Makarios which means happiness. ^_^ ...so, Blessings be yours, people!

“Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses and disappointments; 
but let us have patience and we soon shall see them 
in proper figures.”
Joseph Addison

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