half full or half empty
Recently, my husband, Jimi, asked me to lead the devotional for our Sunday morning leaders’ team. As I prayed about it, the first thought that came to mind was “a glass half empty”. I thought to myself that is a random thought. But, as I prayed about what the Lord would have me share, it seemed that was to be my message. As usual, when I thought someone else needed to hear it, the Lord reminded me that I needed it as much as anyone. Because sometimes I struggle…some of you, like my hubby, are glass half full kind of people. You are optimist, the tigger variety. You see the good in most things and most people and in most circumstances. Others are glass half empty kind of folks like me. We struggle with optimism and have a touch of the Eyore syndrome. Woe is me! When we take a look at our lives, often times we focus on what appears to be the empty glass, the missing pieces, the unanswered prayers, the lack of whatever it may be.
I learned about displacement when I taught science to my kids. It can be seen when you take an empty glass, turn it upside down and push it into the water. You would think the water would fill the glass; however, the glass remains empty. Why? Because although the glass appears empty, it is full. Full of air. Which forces the water out. Ann Voscamp writes, “The truth is the glass is always right full.”
Regardless of the circumstances of our lives, John 1:16 reminds us that, “For out of His fullness (abundance) we have all received [all had a share and we were all supplied with] one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favor upon favor and gift [heaped] upon gift.” (John 1:16 AMP)
Like the glass, our lives are “always right full”.
Ann Voscamp wrote One Thousand Gifts which is a book that challenges you to begin to see your life in a different way. To look for and count the grace upon grace, the blessings, favors and gifts that the Lord has generously heaped upon you despite your circumstances.
As we walk through challenging times or even the ho hum days in our lives, we can change our focus and begin to look for those things…maybe it is encouraging words from a friend, a hug from your child, a beautiful sunset, flowers blooming in the garden, a gift of a song that ministers to your heart. Maybe it is a cool breeze on a summer day, fuzzy four-legged friend, warm cookies and milk, or stroll with your husband or wife. What about the fact that God promises to never leave us or forsake us. Or that His word tells us that He works all things together for good.
When we begin to count all the things – the grace, blessings, favor and gifts – that fill our lives…we can begin to respond as 1 Thessalonians 5:18 instructs: “Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6 also tells us this: “Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 AMP)
Even Jesus himself gave thanks…as he was serving the last supper, he took the bread and gave thanks…although he was on his way to the cross, he paused and gave thanks. Despite the circumstances in his life, he found a reason to give thanks.
As we begin to view our lives as full and overflowing and begin to thank God for all that he has given us, it changes our perspective and our focus from one of an empty glass to one that is “always right full”. And our hearts become filled with joy and peace.
Honestly, that is easier said than done. It takes a conscious effort to redirect our thoughts toward gratitude especially if you are the glass half empty kind like me.
Nancy DeMoss says in her book, Choosing Gratitute: “I have learned that in every circumstance that comes my way, I can choose to respond in one of two ways: I can whine or I can worship! And I can’t worship without giving thanks. It just isn’t possible. When we choose the pathway of worship and giving thanks, especially in the midst of difficult circumstances, there is a fragrance, a radiance, that issues forth out of our lives to bless the Lord and others.”
When I begin to whine about how my husband’s job is taking extra time, I should instead give thanks for its provision…
When I walk into the kitchen and see a dirty mess left by teenage boys, I should give thanks that I have two wonderful boys that are healthy and have amazing hearts (then make them clean the kitchen 🙂 )…
When I am bumming that I can’t do as much as I want with my knee recovery, I should stop and thank God that I am recovering and I am able to walk again…some can’t.
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NIV)
We must choose to worship instead of whine. To focus our hearts toward the grace, blessings, favor and gifts that the Lord has lavished on us. We must take that empty glass of our lives and flip it upside down, so that we see that it is really right full.