Attempting Grateful Living: Breath. Thank God. Repeat.
David opened yesterday's staff meeting with this verse, "Seek God's will in all you do, and He will show you the path to take." Proverbs 3:6
He explained, as business owners, we are always seeking God for wisdom. The decisions we make are an attempt to make our business better for our employees and our customers. The decisions are never meant to make life harder for anyone. Much thought and meaning are behind them--and sometimes a few tears. We're the first to admit when a decision needs to be changed if we recognize it's not working well. It's not fun to fail, but it's necessary in learning what works and what doesn't.
Having a misconception about business ownership can't really be helped if you've never owned one. It can appear to be flexible, easy, the good life. I think a lot of individuals believe all business owners are swimming in money and have bottomless bank accounts. Some see it as less stressful than being an employee.
But underneath we are unclogging toilets, setting up buckets to catch ceiling leaks, praying with hurting customers and employees, catching up on bills, striving for work life balance, making decisions which have an impact on many, feeling sick when unpleasant workplace issues have to be addressed, working extremely hard on certain projects yet not yielding the expected fruit, staying up late discussing the "what now?" "how do we handle this?" "is it worth it?", shedding tears, questioning ourselves and asking God to show us His path. Willing ourselves to trust. Asking for more faith. Hoping and believing a difference is being made in the lives of people we encounter.
The stress of work is sometimes more than we can bear, especially when coupled with every day life--HVAC unit goes out, roof damage from a storm, unexpected financial expenses, raising an almost teenager, impending school changes. You get my drift because you are right there with me. Life is complicated.
But then we are reminded of what the Word says, "Where I am weak He is strong." When we feel like breaking, He holds us together. When we are mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted, He gives us strength. On the days we are gripped with fear about the future, He swoops in and reminds us of the peace we carry because we are His son, His daughter. He reminds us His grace is sufficient and He takes care of us every day, without fail.
If we didn't have problems, would we talk to Him as much? It's a question I ask. And I'm okay with needing to talk to Him. It's worth the troubled waters we tread.
Not only is He there for us, He plants beautiful people in our lives to keep cheering us on, people who encourage us, remind us of His word, reach out their hands and help pull us up off the ground and dust the dirt off and start anew. Amazing people.
And somewhere in between the day to day grind of sales, marketing, design, human resources, buying, stocking, cleaning, and unclogging toilets, we get a glimpse of amazing growth and change in those we encounter. We see spiritual growth in each other and spiritual growth in our ourselves.
At night we agree God knows what He is doing. We agree we don't always understand. We trust He is testing and developing our character with each hard decision made. He's asking, "Can I trust you with a little so I can bless you with more?"
The testing of our faith feels like being thrown in a washing machine on the Heavy Duty, Power Wash Cycles. While you are in there spinning out of control, it's hard to see the good. It's hard to count the blessings. You're drowning, basically. But the blessings remain whether we see them or not. So we breath, we read the Word, and we start mumbling the blessings one by one--healthy children, roof over our heads, functioning car, loving spouse...... Slowing down long enough to recognize the good is key to getting back on the Gentle Cycle of life.
I have no idea how I got on washing machines, but here we are. :)
I don't have it all figured out. I feel fairly inadequate most days. But I am slowly learning to attempt to count my blessings more than I count my problems--to allow the good in my life to weigh more than the bad. I want to give more attention to what I do have instead of what I don't.
Grateful living. I've tried it before and failed, but I keep trying. Keep thanking God. It works when I work. Perhaps you could try with me.
After seeing so many posts this past week on how rough of a week it has been, myself included, I wanted to give what I need most--encouragement. God is with us, friends. When we are wondering "why?" "when?" "how?" He remains the answer. He is the who, the what, the when, the where, the why, and the how. He is the beginning and the end. He is the VICTOR in our situations. That I know for sure.
Breath. Thank God. Repeat.
Breath. Thank God. Repeat.
Breath. Thank God. Repeat.
Father, thank you for the roof over my head and the clothes in my closet. Thank you for having food to eat and clean water to drink. Thank you for loving me, supporting me, guiding me and giving me wisdom during the difficult seasons of life. Thank you for being my enough. And, God, thank you for washing machines. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
And everybody said Amen cause you know you love your washing machine.