When I was growing up, my mother used to tell me too much of a good thing was bad for me. Her kernel of “wisdom” confused me. How could a lot of something good be bad for me? Mom said this when she saw me eating too much candy or watching too much television. She wanted my body and mind to remain healthy. My childhood days have long since past and my mother is now in heaven. Yet, I can still hear a faint voice in my head when I allow myself to be too caught up in distracting activities.
In our present situation involving social distancing and self-isolation, distraction seems to be a gift we can use to save the day. We believe it will keep us away from worrying about “what if” scenarios. It is true getting caught up in our favorite distracting activity transports us far away from these troubled times. The problem arises, however, when we are distracted at the expense of everything else.
In the days ahead, don’t let distraction lure you away from focusing on the important things you need to be doing. Don’t let it keep you from maintaining a healthy mind and body. What important thing could you accomplish if you minimized distraction in your life?
I’ve been carrying around this scrap of paper in my shirt pocket for more than six months. Scribbled on it are some random thoughts on the subject of joy. Here they are.
Perhaps you know someone who possesses an ever-present, unforced smile or kind demeanor. These attributes in our increasingly self-centered and angry society make these persons stand out in a crowd. They seem to have such an optimistic outlook on life, suggesting they know something we don’t, or possess something we don’t have. So what is it they do have?
You might just have to call it “joy.” Defining joy can be a tricky proposition. I’ve seen joy on display independent of a person’s happiness or circumstances. Joy seems to be the opposite of regret and feeds on “blessings” (those things most of us take for granted). That being said, contentment and joyappear together often. Those possessing joy seem intent on sharing it, and don’t shrink away from helping or serving others.
Where does joy come from? Some would say an inner peace creates an environment where joy can be discovered. Others say joy comes from hope placed in something, or someone. Who wouldn’t benefit from a peaceful life relieved of some stress.
Consider making 2020 a year to discover and embrace joy. Remember to encourage and support those who already possess it.
One creature stands out from the others when the subject of devotion is mentioned. Man’s best friend is a model for humankind. Our furry beasts aren’t controlling and they don’t harbor hidden agendas; ever loyal, ever faithful, ever loving…
“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10
Carl Sagan was an atheist who had this to say about the power a book possesses.
“What an astonishing thing a book is,” marveled [Carl] Sagan. “It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you.”
Sagan’s comment certainly explains the desirability of books through the ages. It would also seem to explain the power and effectiveness of the Bible. Its author, God, is not dead and its words are timeless. That being said, one has to wonder why we don’t read the Bible more.
I find this image to be a picture of contentment, which is probably why I love it. It has great elements: friends, a favorite pet, a favorite hot beverage all in a relaxing setting. Wouldn’t it be great if life was served up to us like this on a daily basis?
I find it hard to be content when I’m always on the go, busy with this and that, or striving for material things that never seem to completely satisfy. Apostle Paul’s addresses the subject of contentment in his letter to the Philippians.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Philippians 4:12
According to Pastor Matt Chandler, contentment is something we must learn. It does not come naturally. We can learn contentment from staying connected to the source of truth (scripture), by remembering God’s past provision, and by being grateful for things we already have.
Contentment isn’t a path to complacency, rather, it involves actively striving to be a f.r.o.g (someone who Fully Relies On God).