Prayer provides strength. And isn’t strength what we all really need as we face challenges and questions?
Strength to move forward, strength to meet the challenge, strength to persevere, strength to overcome, strength to stand our ground, strength to…
As good as venting can feel, it doesn’t provide anything long term.
Sure, you’ll get a bit of solidarity (or pushback). A “vent” on social media is there in the moment and then slides away in the feed. What about a “vent” in person with friends? It’ll get you a hug or a sympathetic look or word, but after it’s over, everyone just searches for something else to talk about…
Prayer provides strength.
For those who have uncovered the joy of praying, any and every challenge (your own or others) has the potential for building long-term strength.
Because unlike a “vent”, answered prayer unfolds into a long, long, stretch of experience that builds confidence. Prayer provides strength.
Your efforts in prayer don’t just disappear. Those efforts remain as an experience of tapping into the power that originates and flows from the Creator, the One who loves you.
Is prayer easy? Sometimes. Not always. Prayer can be work. However, the effort to pray for something for a very long time, regardless, is sweeter and more satisfying than anything else.
Prayer = Strength
Put your energy into prayer.
Want more encouragement to pray? Read this.
And if you’re wondering about God being silent when you’ve been praying for a long time, then consider these words from Oswald Chambers when Jesus didn’t show up to heal Lazarus. Rob and I have been praying for what feels like a long time, and hearing silence. But His silence hasn’t been what we thought…
It’s not as though we won’t experience pain just because we’re optimistic people… every person on this planet will suffer in some way, at some time. This hurt that could be physical, mental or spiritual will afflict all of us.
It’s not going to be possible to be cheery all the time. How can an optimistic person deal with these afflictions that cause an ache?
You can treat pain with the love of God.
C.S. Lewis’ book, “The Problem of Pain“, explores the question, “If God is good and all-powerful, why does he allow his creatures to suffer pain?”. I’ve underlined a great number of phrases as I’ve read the book, and the quote below is especially poignant for me:
“When pain is to be born,
a little courage
helps more than much knowledge,
a little human sympathy
more than much courage,
and the least tincture of the love of God
more than all.”
So, to paraphrase C.S. Lewis — just a little bit of the Love of God when dealing with pain is more effective than anything else.
Where do you go to feel the Love of God?
I can feel God’s love in many ways – including
- reading His Word,
- pondering and praying in solitude,
- when I listen to praise and worship music,
- hearing the Word from the altar at church,
- when receiving communion – the body and blood of Jesus and hearing the absolution,
- when I pray with Rob, and with friends,
- and when I honestly force myself to list all the blessings God has provided for me. Being thankful helps me feel God’s Love.
How about you – where do you feel the Love of God?
Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice!
Strive for full restoration,
encourage one another,
be of one mind,
live in peace.
And the God of love and peace will be with you.
~ 2Corinthians 13:11 NIV
Want more about love? Read this post or Read this post.
Positive People know they’re loved. And their actions flow from love.
There’s an amazing power in love – both accepting love and giving it.
Positive people are able to love others and receive love. They know that they’re created by God, who loves them and has put them here on this earth, at this time, for His purpose.
Their belief in this truth of God’s love helps others’ outlook by demonstrating, despite circumstances, mistakes and imperfection, love is possible.
When positive people take action it flows from love.
This is the 8th of eight ways positive people improve others’ outlook. It concludes the series! Here are links to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th ways positive people improve others’ outlook on life.
- Positive People acknowledge the truth and manage the overflow.
- Positive People look for things for which to be thankful.
- Positive People bring out the best in others.
- Positive People build a tribe of other positive people.
- Positive People go out of their way.
- Positive People are aware of boundaries and also put them in place.
- Positive People are focused.
- Positive People know they’re loved. And their actions flow from love.
These 8 ways positive people improve others’ outlook began with a sentence in a post by Tom Corley that started me thinking…
“Positive people help to remove or subdue stress,
improving your outlook and your health.”
~ Tom Corely quote
In his post, he’s talking about toxic people and then contrasts them with positive people.
We are to surround ourselves with other positive people.
I imagine there are at least 8 ways positive people help improve other people’s outlook on life. They are probably more than eight… maybe you can add some in the comments.
We won’t all be good at all eight!
There’s every chance we won’t be experienced or proficient at all eight – even if we are pursuing positivity. No worries. Optimists always know there’s room for improvement.
You were created by God…
We were also chosen to belong to him. God decided to choose us long ago in keeping with his plan. He works out everything to fit his plan and purpose.
Ephesians 1:11 NIRV
Have you made time in your weekly and daily plan to hear and experience this wonderful God who chose you, on purpose and for a purpose? HE is waiting for you…
A few days ago a positivity prompt directed us to pay attention using all our senses to things for which we could be thankful.
I found myself noticing all the little things:
- the smell and taste of my fresh-brewed peach oolong tea
- the color of a ripe strawberry fresh from the market
- the bass timbre of my husband’s voice as we talked
- the feel of my grandboy crashing into my generous-sized belly as he ran full-tilt into me. (I’m guessing he likes the residual bounce from impact because he giggles afterward. 😉 I’m thankful for that giggle, too! )
And when I posted a picture in our private Facebook group, a writer friend, Jessica Martinez, responded,
“I love the little things! Each one is like a whisper from God. “I’m here, I love you, enjoy!”
I just needed to share that statement!
Positive people know they’re loved. And they see all those little things they enjoy as another way God is showing them that He loves them.
What are you enjoying right now?
In what ways is God showing you He is here, and that He loves you?
Jessica Martinez is the author of two short stories on Amazon, “Elsie” and “Long Road Home“. Check them out!
I came across an interesting study where a researcher had people walk in unfamiliar territory and they went in circles when they couldn’t see the sun. The circling was even worse when they were blindfolded. The researchers were trying to collect empirical data to support the age-old idea that when humans get lost they walk in circles.
Here’s a piece of the beginning of the study so you know to what I’m referring:
Common belief has it that people who get lost in unfamiliar terrain often end up walking in circles. Although uncorroborated by empirical data, this belief has widely permeated popular culture. Here, we tested the ability of humans to walk on a straight course through unfamiliar terrain in two different environments: a large forest area and the Sahara desert. Walking trajectories of several hours were captured via global positioning system, showing that participants repeatedly walked in circles when they could not see the sun. Conversely, when the sun was visible, participants sometimes veered from a straight course but did not walk in circles.
We tested various explanations for this walking behavior by assessing the ability of people to maintain a fixed course while blindfolded. Under these conditions, participants walked in often surprisingly small circles (diameter < 20 m), though rarely in a systematic direction. These results rule out a general explanation in terms of biomechanical asymmetries or other general biase. Instead, they suggest that veering from a straight course is the result of accumulating noise in the sensorimotor system, which, without an external directional reference to recalibrate the subjective straight ahead, may cause people to walk in circles.
~ read the entire study HERE
Now, as fascinating as this research is, let’s take the idea into a more abstract thought… and go farther.
Or rather, further. “Farther” is for physical distance and “further” for metaphorical, or figurative, distance. (Sorry-not-sorry for the word-nerd-ism.)
What is your fixed point?
A goal might be a fixed point…
- if your goal is to be a doctor, there’s a direct path to get there. It might take a long time, but you can discover which schools to attend, courses to take, and what practicum is needed.
- if you want a thriving marriage, you focus on your spouse and learn each other’s nuances. You read, attend marriage workshops, and perhaps even look for a couple to mentor you.
- and it works for small goals too – if you want a vegetable garden, you need to prepare the soil, plant seeds of the specific vegetables you want to eventually harvest, water the seeds and wait.
This isn’t hard.
Too often we drift. We wonder why we are feeling like we’re going in circles in life. There doesn’t seem like there’s any progress.
If this is the case, I’m going to suggest we don’t have a fixed point – a goal. Or a particular goal is too big – it needs to be broken into smaller goals.
Are you clear on your goal? Or goals…
1- Have you written your goal down?
A written plan is important for any goal. Perhaps you’ve used the SMART method to determine your goal? (S = specific | M = measurable | A = achievable | R = relevant | T = time limited) — Click HERE for a worksheet to do this exercise.
2 – Do you have accountability partners for your goal?
Many people can handle reaching a goal on their own. However, having accountability partners makes the goal much easier to achieve. And then you have someone or many to celebrate with when you achieve it! Perhaps “accountability” is an uncomfortable word. What about a “mastermind group”?
3 – Are you reading and learning about your goal?
Most individuals can’t know everything about a topic. We all need input from other sources to solve a problem along the way or make better choices when we’re reaching for a goal.
4 – Mentors help you visualize the goal.
Do you have mentors who have already been where you want to go? Even if they don’t know you, it’s possible to have people you can learn from just by understanding their decisions and the path they’ve followed.
5 – Do you have milestones to mark your way to the goal?
Have you broken your goal down into various milestones? Sometimes a goal is huge, and you need smaller successes along the way to remain motivated.
If you’re going in circles…
Try one of these actions to find your fixed point.
What goals are you trying to reach? Make sure your path is straight…