All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast. —Proverbs 15:15
I read once that even though we cannot always choose what happens to us, we can choose what our attitude will be toward each situation. How true that is.
Our Sheltie, Bleu (who is no longer with us), was a good example of this. For some unknown reason, he would bark unremittingly whenever we started up our truck or trike, or for that matter anything with a motor. When I ran the blender or food processor, he would get very anxious. In any of these situations, he looked around for comfort and reassurance. Sometimes he pulled one of his stuffed toys around the house until the noise stopped. Other times, he would run frantically from one side of the yard to the other while barking.
Every so often, he would come to me and I was able to reassure him with a calm voice and a loving touch that everything was all right and nothing would happen to him. In fact, this seemed to cheer him up enough that he would go find one of his toys to play with or contentedly chomp on a piece of rawhide for a while, even in the midst of the ongoing noise.
I used to find myself acting the same way at times. On days when I am overwhelmed with pain and fatigue, it used to be very easy for me to fall prey to my feelings and just like Bleu did, I would start to panic. Instead of looking to the Lord for the reassurance and comfort I know from past experience is waiting for me, I would get upset and wonder if I would ever feel normal again.
That’s when I found myself taking my eyes off God and focusing on myself and my circumstances instead. Oh, but God is so good! He has shown me over and over again that if I only hang in there and trust in Him implicitly, it doesn’t take long until His warmth and faithful promises penetrate this self-involved brain. I am once again reminded that I can rely on Him for strength and support instead of wallowing in my own anxious way.
It is then that I am finally able to change to an attitude of cheerful hope, knowing in my heart that my Lord has been lovingly caring for me all the time.
Beloved, are you struggling with how to be cheerful in spite of what you’re going through? Life is not easy. We all know that. But we can absolutely trust in God who loves us beyond comprehension and is always here to comfort and sooth us during our most difficult times.
“I am determined to be cheerful and to be happy in whatever situation I may be, for I have also learnt from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions and not upon our circumstances.” —Martha Washington
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