That must be hard to understand when your troubles mount like a huge tornado above your head. Exaggeration, of course, but it means only one thing – troubles suck. So I’m not going to heap on advice because that’s not what one needs when the going gets tough. Nor am I going to plug in that cliche ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’. We’re not going there this time; we’re going in another direction but still on the plane of troubles.
Unmistakeably trouble is on every person’s plate. No one is spared although we fight it with everything we’ve got. At times we succeed in licking it, but most times it stands there immovable like a rock. So why doesn’t it leave no matter how much we want it to-- despite the tons of prayers we throw up to God? Honestly, I don’t know. But I do know one thing from my own share or experience of it -- there’s something in there for us to learn.
This is how I understand it. Trouble, problem, struggle or whatever name it is called is not the ‘enemy’. It is a friend and like a good friend, it does everything in its power to jolt us to our right senses. It shakes us to our roots to make us see and confront our weaknesses, correct what may be corrected, and move ahead with renewed resolve and fresh new hope.
Troubles aren’t there to destroy or mess up life for us. We do that to ourselves using our fogged-up brains and wrong attitudes. Rather what it does is tell us that we need to stop-look-listen – because maybe something isn’t working anymore and may need to be changed. But we seem not to see that, instead we are quick to ‘point the finger’ at someone or something, except ourselves.
How 'bout we do things differently this time? How 'bout taking our eyes off our troubles for a bit? Let me engage you in some mental exercise. One for the heart too. So then, tick off ten things in your life that makes you happy... and I mean really happy. It's simple -- Just ten.
While you're thinking, let me show you my own list....
1. Smart, responsible, affectionate daughters
2. Adorable pets --- three dogs and one lazy fat cat
3. Writing or blogging
4. Friends, up real and too online
5. Home and house
6. Drawing and painting
8. Mini library in the living room stacked with good books
9. Tiny garden pots of blooming violets
10. CD player and a shelf of favorite music cd's
... there's more but I said ten only, didn't I? :-)
If you've done your list, observe that you will be smiling... somehow. Not only because you remembered the good times you had with each but because your heart has grown lighter – happier with every memory. The troubles you may have been feeling moments ago will then seem to be pushed far to the back – forgotten in the joys of the hour..
There’s a name to what you’re doing --- ‘counting your blessings’. If you look closely at the list you have ticked off, you will see that they are many—and if you break it down some more, it will double-up in number. See how it works? Your blessings are far more than your troubles. God made sure of that from the start.
So how then can one or two problems put you down – when you’ve got ten or twenty good things on your side working for you? Isn’t that more than enough to get you energized and recharged to get back on track again? Won’t that even spur you anew to more creative and aggressive solutions to your problems?
Doesn't that tell you that nothing much has been lost -- you still have you and your blessings. You still have God.And when you have triumphed or conquered at the end (we always do), you may even find yourself appreciating your troubles as blessings, too. Perhaps then-- that is the lesson and the reason for its existence in our lives.
So shall we start counting blessings now? I’ll race you to it.