Choosing to See

I’m currently reading the third book in the If I Run series, written by New York Times bestselling author Terri Blackstock. This is my fifth time through the series. 

It’s an easy read, full of twists and turns that keep you on the edge of your seat throughout. You’d think I’d be tired of it by now, but every time I read it, I enjoy it every bit as much as I did the first time — honestly a first for me where Christian fiction is concerned. 

Warning: don’t you dare go buy the first book and think you’ll eventually maybe get the other two if you like it. You won’t be too happy with yourself when you get to the end of book one, and you’re forced to wait for the second to arrive. 

The series is about a girl named Casey Cox who discovers her best friend’s lifeless body and flees for her life, knowing she’ll be accused of his murder. There are many competing themes, which is partly what makes it so interesting, but there’s one overwhelming theme that speaks to me more deeply with every reading. 

Casey is struggling to understand Who God is and why on earth He would allow things to unfold as they have in her life. A secondary character encourages her to look for where God is working. As she grapples with her faith, she slowly begins to live with expectancy — intentionally looking for the good, in spite of the bad. (and trust me, there’s a whole lot of bad!)

What a valuable lesson, especially when conveyed through the eyes of someone who’s in the midst of such chaos. Instead of feeling sorry for herself and having the ‘life isn’t fair’…or ‘why me?’ attitude…that expectancy creates a spirit of gratitude. 

The Apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 4:11, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Then, a few verses later, “ I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” A few verses above both of these, he shares this little nugget: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

What a major difference that simple mental shift makes. Rather than dwelling on that which is wrong — and trust me, if you’re anything like me, I can always find something to complain about — when we look for where God is working in our lives, we don’t have time for discontent. 

What if, instead of fretting over an unexpected expense, we thanked God for providing the finances to cover it? Or, instead of fretting over a dirty house, we thanked Him for providing a home?

In Casey’s case, she’s running from a killer, and instead of focusing on the fact that her life is in danger, she recognizes that God helped her find just the right hiding place so she couldn’t be seen. 

I’m reminded of my father, when he found out he had cancer almost twenty years ago now. We stood in his hospital room just after hearing the devastating news, and rather than being angry or even sad, he gathered us around his bed and began to pray, thanking God for the cancer. I remember being dumbfounded, and — if I’m being completely transparent — a little angry. How could someone thank God for cancer? But he did…and God chose to use that illness in an incredible way, eventually healing him of his cancer completely. 

When we choose to look for where God is working in our lives, rather than focusing on the negative, we begin to praise instead of complain. 

What freedom! 

Let’s make this a priority, beginning today. As we gather with family this Christmas, let’s look for where God is working. Write it down so you can remember. 

Are you with me?

Where do you see God working in your life?

Join me in studying the little things we SHOULD be focused on in 2023, beginning January 17th or 19th.  The Life Skills Project is an 8-week interactive Zoom course that focuses on The Little Things: Why You Really Should Sweat the Small Stuff by Andy Andrews. 

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