Proverbs 16:9 (CEV) SAYS "WE MAKE OUR OWN PLANS, BUT THE LORD DECIDES WHERE WE WILL GO."
Imagine you are throwing a birthday party for a friend. You have planned it down to the last detail. But when the time comes, your guests are enjoying a lighthearted conversation with your friend and are too engaged to stop for the activity you have planned. Are you disappointed? Probably at first - you spent a lot of time planning this gig. But does it really matter? The whole point of the game was to bring everyone together in celebration, and that aim was accomplished.
When you gather with your Bible study or youth group, you aim to bring yourself and others closer to God. When your ideas are not give the consideration you would like or when things don't turn out exactly the way you have planned, ask yourself: Is what's happening in this group bringing people closer to one another and to God? If so, find joy in knowing that you are part of that movement and RE-FOCUS your attention. How you ask? Try the following...
Rediscover the world around you. Notice the things that form the backdrop of your days - the rays of morning sun streaming through your bedroom window, the buds on the tree you pass on your way to school, the white clouds against a cerulean sky, the spider web on the drain spout.
Savor your food. Don't just eat and run; slow down long enough to think about and enjoy your meal. When was the first time you had that dish? What foods do you like now that you didn't like as a child?
Learn something. Children don't have time to get into a rut because they are too busy discovering new things. Take up a new hobby or activity. Read a new author. Travel, if only vicariously with a travelogue.
Reward yourself. Set a goals for the week, and decide what your reward will be for reaching it. Anticipation is one of the best incentives and works at any age.
Talk to a child. If you want a fresh perspective, ask a child about almost anything. Wit, wisdom, imagination, hope, pathos - they have it all. Don't be surprised if you are revisited by some of your own childhood thoughts.
Take downtime. Your world won't come crashing down if you stop doing and accomplishing for a few minutes. Relax. Contemplate happy thoughts. Let your imagination run wild.
Be thankful for small things. A child can be delighted by an inexpensive gift, a chance to go outdoors, a bit of attention, or an empty swing at the park. Think of the little things you enjoy, and give thanks.
Ask your child...
How can you re-focus on life's blessings when you're having a horrible day?
Challenge your child...
God wants a relationship with us. This week, take the time to read your Bible, to pray throughout the day, to surround yourself with uplifting people, or to host a study group with friends. Make your relationship with God a priority.
I want to focus only on you, God; but the world distracts. Help me to look beyond the glitter and noise of this world to see what really matters. Please help me to let go of my plans and allow your surprises to being me joy.