One of my husband’s favorite pastimes was to drive around and look at houses. We were not buying or selling, we were not remodeling and we were not moving. He just liked to drive around and look. On my scale of fun things to do this activity rated just above cleaning the bathrooms. He always asked and I always felt obligated to go along. So I did…with an attitude. At some point in my maturing (such as it is) I realized (by God’s grace, of course) that Budd and I were both being cheated. If I didn’t want to go I should have said so. And if I did go I should embrace it and find ways to enjoy it. This attitude shift was a game-changer for me and for us. Often I would go along on these wandering excursions and learned to appreciate different neighborhoods, home styles, etc. But most importantly, I found that we had great conversations and grew closer through this seemingly unimportant activity. I began to look for the goodness in these drives. My attitude changed everything.
Prior to my epiphany I expected to be bored and irritated. That’s exactly what I experienced. After getting a clue I found peace, interesting neighborhoods and deeper connection with Budd. Be careful what you’re looking for because you will probably find it.
A lawn can represent work, sweat and a big case of the grouchies. Or a lawn can represent beauty and fun. This week’s snapshot is a way to remember that even in a plot of grass or weeds you may find a four-leaf clover….if you’re looking for it. This is symbolic, by the way…I don’t think even a sweet little weed is going to change your life. Consider, though, where in your life you expect to be disappointed, rejected or hurt. Chances are good that that is what you’ll experience. On the other hand, in those same situations you can look for and find hope, connection and even joy.
I just completed a two-week road trip from California to Florida. We saw some of the most beautiful places on the planet. We traversed the desert, the beautiful Rocky Mountains, pasture land for miles and miles, rivers, cities and places where I drove for an hour and maybe saw one other car. Had I focused on the length of the journey I could have become bored, tired and impatient to reach the final destination. Instead, I visited dear friends along the way, ate at some cool restaurants and met some really great people. Even the less glorious circumstances like tornado warnings in South Dakota just became part of the great narrative. It has so much to do with attitude and expectation. One important part of our itinerary was to see Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. I know it isn’t the shortest route from LA to Florida but it was on my friend Joanne’s bucket list. We drove 10 hours north for this adventure. When we arrived it was drizzling and there were low clouds…so low that you could not see even the outline of a president’s head. This could have been a huge disappointment but we were committed to appreciating whatever came our way. We went into the café there and had lunch, sat through a short movie about the making of Mt. Rushmore and at one point the clouds parted enough to see the faces….tho through something of a fog. We went to our hotel soggy, cold and laughing. Really? Ten hours for this? Yes. We had set our sights on having fun and being flexible. We enjoyed it as it was. (FYI, the next morning we went back up there and it was stunning – blue sky, white clouds and big old faces cut into the rock.) We took lots of picture…both times.
In the book of Exodus we read of the Israelites who were slaves in Egypt. God chose Moses to be his spokesman and he demanded of Pharoah, “Let my people go.” After much drama, 10 plagues and many Egyptian deaths, the slave nation of Israel walked out of Egypt toward their promised destination. Sounds like an epic feel-good movie, right? It turns out that Israel thought it was going to be a cake walk and when it wasn’t they developed major attitude issues. It did not go well for them. When their expectations were challenged, they faltered. They were unimpressed by water out of a rock, bread on the ground every morning and quail flying through camp low enough to be grabbed. Clearly they missed a lot because of attitude.
What is it you’re looking for today? Are you waiting impatiently for your spouse to get a clue and meet all your needs? Are you anticipating your friends will finally come through as you want them to? Are you stubbornly resisting God because He just won’t act ‘godlike’ enough for you?
In whatever circumstances you find yourself, choose today to look for the four-leaf clover (or silver lining if that’s easier for you). There is goodness in the people around you, there is beauty in creation and countless opportunities for growth and improvement in your own soul. Try to look around you with new eyes today. It could be a real game-changer. Remember, whatever you’re looking for is probably what you’ll find.
Habakkuk 3:17-19 Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! 19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.
Colossians 3:15-17 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. 16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. 17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
1 Peter 2:9 …You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
Nehemiah 8:10 And Nehemiahcontinued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”
Psalm 16:11 You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever
Romans 12:2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.