Life At Its Best: Keep right perspective in midst of pain
Pain is a powerful thing. It can alter our perspective of people, situations and even ourselves.
I learned this as a teenager, playing basketball with my big brother and his friends. They were much older than me and nearly twice my size. Not surprisingly, I became the subject of many jokes and earned more nicknames than I could count.
One of their favorites was "Firehead." I got this, partly because of my bright red hair but also because of my fiery personality. I played with passion and was determined to compete.
At times, my passion outweighed my skill and led me to make decisions that hurt rather than helped my team. During those times, that nickname was used to remind me that despite my passion, I'd never compare to them.
Over time, I started losing confidence in myself as an athlete and a person. As my perspective of myself changed so did my habits. I stopped working as hard and playing as passionately as I used to play.
Thankfully, my dad took notice and started talking to me about what was going on. As we talked, my confidence strengthened.
He told me he saw great potential inside me and that no matter what, he believed in me. He also challenged the habits I was living with. He taught me that getting the outcomes I wanted in life required making right choices.
Many of us have had similar experiences. We may not have been called "Firehead" or "Fevertooth" (another of my endearing nicknames.) But our spirits have been crippled by the words or actions of others. We've experienced pain that's not easy to overcome.
Thankfully, we all have a Heavenly Father who knows the current condition of our heart. He knows exactly what we're going through. And like my father, He wants to help us keep the right perspective in the midst of pain.
Keeping that perspective starts with recognizing God's unfailing devotion to us. Matthew 12:20 says, "A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out."
God's not in the business of breaking spirits or crushing confidence. The truth is there is no one who believes in us more He does. He wants us to know that no matter what, He's for us. He's devoted to bringing out the potential He's placed inside of us.
Fulfilling that potential requires more than simply recognizing His devotion. We must also follow His direction. Psalm 119:59 says, "I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes."
Experiencing God's best requires following His ways. We must choose every day to align our habits and choices with His word. It's not always easy. It often requires sacrificing our own desires. But the sacrifice is well worth the reward of living out our potential.
What is pain keeping you from? I encourage you not to stay stuck. Live confident in your Heavenly Father's devotion to you and follow His direction. It's never too late. Start living God's best today.
Jim Graff is the Senior Pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria. faithfamilyvictoria.com.