“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” — Hebrew 12:1-3 (NIV)
I grew up in warm, sunny Florida. In the 22 years I lived there, we saw snow flurries once, and that was a freak thing. Christmas was always green. By the time I was a teenager, I was longing for the whole winter experience. My mom and I took a January school holiday and flew way up north to visit Toronto, Ontario. Ice skating on the lake, shopping for sweaters, a side trip to a very frozen Niagara Falls. It seemed like a winter wonderland.
“Get me out of Florida!” I said over and over. “I want to move up north.”
Fifteen years later, living up north, weary of shoveling my car out of a snow drift for the umpteenth time, I cried, “Get me out of this frozen wasteland.”
What’s that old saying? The grass is always greener — or maybe whiter. I kept thinking the answer to my fulfillment and joy was somewhere else, instead of being fully present right where God had planted me.
No matter what environment I was in, there were so many opportunities for joy. A green winter day in Florida with family and friends, sharing meals and conversation, the fun of using fake snow to spray on windows and school lockers. And then living up north through blizzards, enjoying hot chocolate, taking public transport underground to go sweater shopping with friends.
Even digging out the car: Thank You, Lord, that I have a car to dig out. Look at how amazing snow really is, all glistening soft and white. What a great workout I’m getting with this shovel. Maybe I can look around and help someone else get their car out too — nothing brings joy like teamwork.
It’s all about perspective and where I put my focus. Am I going to look at the worst part of my environment and circumstances? Or will I choose to focus on God, His constant presence, and see the joyful relationships and beautiful experiences He has placed in my life?
God, thank You for helping me keep my eyes on You in every season. When I look in the wrong direction, remind me to turn my gaze back to You. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Thought for the Day
Have you been looking at the difficulties in your circumstances? Today, ask God to help you see Him in your midst, and rejoice at His presence and His goodness.
Copyright © 2020 by Janet Eriksson
Janet Eriksson is an intercessor, writer, and teacher in Dahlonega, Georgia. She loves conversation with friends, front porch swings, sweet tea, and spending time on lakes and rivers. The author of nine books and editor of many more, Janet blogs and teaches at Adventures with God. She enjoys volunteering with Transformations. Janet received her M. Div. from Asbury Theological Seminary.