Friday, November 21, 2008

Living Beyond Our Circumstances

Our thoughts can swim in two extreme pools, one is fear and the other is gratefulness. We all have a biological instinct of fear. It's what has allowed our species to survive. Fear warns us of eminent danger or reminds us to be cautionary in certain situations. But if allowed to dominate our minds, fear can cripple our lives and limit us. There needs to be a balance between love and fear.

Dan Baker and Cameron Stauth, in their book, What Happy People Know, discuss this concept and observe, "Appreciation is the purest, strongest form of love. It is the outward-bound kind of love that asks for nothing and gives everything. Research now shows that it is physiologically impossible to be in a state of appreciation and a state of fear at the same time. Thus appreciation is the antidote to fear. "

We are living with many unknowns. There is insecurity in the future of our economic system. With seemingly negative news all around us, it can be a challenge to choose to live in appreciation, to look for ways to express love and to be grateful for the aspects of our lives that are in line with our values.

In this season of thanks, what can we choose to appreciate? How can we step out of the chains of fear and find freedom? In the Old Testament in Isaiah 51:3, we read the words,

"The LORD will surely comfort Zion
and will look with compassion on all her ruins;
he will make her deserts like Eden,
her wastelands like the garden of the LORD.
Joy and gladness will be found in her,
thanksgiving and the sound of singing."

In this passage, Jehovah God promises to care for Israel in the midst of the hardships and tragedy they face. Not only is comfort and care promised, but there is an, celebration and thankfulness.

No matter what we are going through, we have the choice to be grateful or to dwell in fear or bitterness over any sorrow we may be experiencing. I hope and pray that you will know the freedom of living beyond your circumstances and dwelling in a place of celebration and joy.

*Baker, Dan and Stauth, Cameron, What Happy People Know, Rodale, Inc., 2003

Photo: Marlene Cabais,

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