When Life Doesn’t Serve You
by Christine Carter
As the months stretch forward and we are fast approaching the holidays, this year has been most notably one of the longest in our recent history. We have had a world-wide pandemic that is still lingering, a national election with heated debates in both camps, and many have suffered great losses this year. It has not been an easy road to travel for anyone. So, as we move into the season of Thankfulness, let us be thankful for the great many things which we do have.
To do this we may have to let go of some notions that have gotten a hold of some of our thoughts and attitudes. Let’s look at a few of them together.
Let go of what does not serve you.
Ok, so I see where they are going with this, and most of us would say, ‘yeah, that’s right! Time to clear out the clutter of difficult people and situations. They are not serving me.’ But are they?
It is important to take stock of what is important to us. To find out what is working and what is not. To minimize and to simplify. It all sounds great. But on the path of life, especially the Christian walk, we will be given trials. Some will last much longer that we could ever imagine.
So, when checking our troubles at the door, let’s ask why they are there in the first place. Can God use this to grow and strengthen us? Is that challenging person looking for encouragement and someone who won’t walk away? Is that feeling that ‘this is too much’ a sign that we should be releasing our overwhelming burdens to a God who is all knowing and will help us make the load a little lighter.
God sometimes uses people, places, and situations that are challenging to refine us into the person He wants us to be. I have been told by some wise people in my life, ‘Nothing really worth doing is ever easy’. So before ditching the tough stuff, ask yourself a few questions about why it is there, and what you can learn through it.
This is a good one. I can attest to often having this attitude of ‘my way’ in my own life. I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid, I may not have known what I wanted to do in life, but I sure knew what I didn’t want to do. And the thought of ‘settling’ for what I didn’t want was beyond comprehension. Why would I settle for less than the best?
Well, this is a great thought, but are you the best? Are you holding yourself to the same standard that you are expecting from anything and everyone else? I was not the hardest worker in school back then, but I had big dreams. So, when you are ‘not settling’, remember, that you get what you give. Life is a journey, and if you are standing there waiting for something wonderful to fall from the sky, you had better get in the game, and be actively seeking God’s plan and purpose in your life. It may not be what you had in mind. It could be better.
You deserve better.
This is right along the same line, best buds with ‘don’t settle’. Yes, we all have said this to someone we care about when they are going through something hard and we wish we could take it away from them. It is akin to ‘why do bad things happen to good people?’ That is a question we won’t have the answer to this side of eternity.
So, when you are chiming in with ‘you deserve better’ or ‘I deserve better’, ask yourself what better you are visualizing. Is it a fluffy cloud with no raindrops, all rainbows? Is it something specific that you wanted that you didn’t get? We can all relate to that feeling.
Life is short, and sometimes we long for something better around the corner. Have you ever heard that Pina Colada song? ‘If you like Pina Coladas, getting caught in the rain.’ I am sure you can sing along with me. If so, you know the story. A man and a woman put out a personal add looking for ‘better’ and when they each meet up with this mysterious stranger, it was the person they already had all along, each other.
The moral of the story is, take a second look at what you have and really look. Maybe you already have what you need. Needless to say, some are really in a bad way, and you know who you are. So, if you are being injured physically, mentally or emotionally, then you need to take steps toward safety.
Make yourself a priority.
Yes, yes, yes! Not all of these quotes are completely off the mark. They are here because many struggle with having low expectations of what their life should be and all too often they put themselves last. So, yes, make yourself a priority. But while you are doing that, don’t forget about God and others. They are still right up there. The Golden Rule is ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ So, be kind, be loving and giving, but expect the same in return. Life is all about balance. You count!
To thine own self be true.
Ok, it is important to be authentic. Don’t try to be someone you are not. But what if God has called you to see yourself through his redeeming lens? The one who Created you knows you better than you may think you know yourself.
So, ask yourself this question before running off and joining the circus, or the convent, or whatever kids are doing these days, who am I in Christ? Who does God say that I am? He says that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. He made you just as you were meant to be, and He made you in His image. So yes, to thine own self be true.
In closing, honestly, all of these sayings have some weight to them. That’s why we hear them so much. But remember, following Christ is a narrow path. So always check yourself against the One who gave it all for you. He is the one that really counts. And why did He sacrifice His life for you? Because you are worth it.
This side of the rainbow has some raindrops. Sometimes the gale force winds are beating against the rafters. But we are in this with the One who calms the storm. And we also have each other. You really are never completely alone in this journey. So motivational quotes aside, not everything in life is going to serve you. It’s the nature of the world we live in. We will face disappointments in life. But God’s got you, and you’ve got this!
About the Author
Christine Carter is a working mom of a 12-year-old active son Marquis and has been married to her best friend Brent Carter for almost 15 years.
She attends Bethel: the Church at Philadelphia Mills, where she has been attending for almost 12 years.
She is currently a Quality Assurance Specialist at Gate 1 Travel in Fort Washington, PA. She resides in Levittown, PA, where she has lived for most of her life.
She is currently attending John Brown University’s online program where she is working on finishing a Psychology Degree which she began at JBU in NW Arkansas in the 1990s. She expects to graduate in May 2021.
She has always enjoyed writing, and poetry has been her method of choice. She believes that if you have a talent or a gift from God, or a desire to be used for His kingdom, He will make a way. You simply need to be willing.
You can read Christine’s Diary of a Prodigal Daughter column on the 3rd Friday each month here at Mustard Seed Sentinel.