We Will Find What We Look For…Is What We’re Looking For Worth Finding?
Nothing seemed to be going well, and my attitude matched the glowering sky, darkened by clouds that threatened an imminent deluge.
One negative thought flowed seamlessly into another, and some remote corner of my brain was slightly surprised at how many things there were about which to be grumpy. Fretting over dirty dishes left in various places by what I deemed thoughtless family members soon mushroomed unhealthily like an unsightly stinkweed into feeling unappreciated and taken for granted. My eyes swept critically over the house, crossly finding places that needed repairs and repainting. A hovel! Soon my peacefully sleeping children became part of my lament, as I considered their various flaws and deficiencies. All around me were problems and issues which I morosely projected into the next ten years. Before long, the future seemed as depressing as I had made the present moment.
I had found what I was looking for, but it didn’t turn out to be very good company once I had it.
“What in the world were you looking for?”, you might ask.
Reasons to be unhappy, it would appear.
I didn’t exactly get up that morning with a conscious decision to think of every possible reason to complain I could, but I might as well have. That is the choice I made when I allowed my thoughts to continue down that track.
As Martin Luther famously said, “You cannot keep birds from flying over your head but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.”
My nest was about 6 feet wide and growing.
Another day, I may wake up to cloudy, threatening skies but choose not to imbibe their depressing mien. I may begin my day by thanking God for my wonderful husband who is out working hard to provide for his family; for my kids who are becoming more mature and thoughtful all the time; for my home – a cozy, safe place full of light and warmth and music and love. When my eyes take in the scene around me, I see things for which to be grateful. A pair of my husband’s socks left lying around? Three pairs? I am not promised tomorrow with him – I will choose to be thankful for him and his socks today. Necessary repairs waiting to be done? A part of life, and potential for future family projects to tackle together.
What has changed?
Not the house, the people, or the socks and dishes scattered about. None of those are any different.
Proverbs 11:27 (NIV) says: “He who seeks good finds goodwill, but evil comes to him who searches for it.”
What changed is my focus – looking for things to be grateful for, I found them.
We will find what we are looking for, so wisdom dictates that we decide beforehand what we would like that to be.
If when I leave in half an hour to go to the library book sale (I’m back – it was great!), if I decide to look for idiots driving on the roads, I will be quite sure to notice (with grim satisfaction) many such individuals.
Conversely, should I make a better choice and try to find people being kind and thoughtful, throughout the day I will be made aware of that very thing.
WHAT ARE YOU FOCUSED ON?
The Bible has many things to say on the subject, but I think my favorite is found in Paul’s letter to the Philippian church. He knowingly instructs,
“…Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” (Phil 4:8, NIV)
What a wonderful plan! If that is what we are mentally focused on, our eyes will constantly be looking for the true, the noble, the lovely, and the excellent as we go about our days.
Most assuredly, we will find them. Oh, some days we may have to hunt for them…to search harder and longer than other days, but they are there to be found by the determined seeker.
Like I tell my kids, if Corrie and Betsie ten Boom could find reasons to be thankful in a Nazi concentration camp, we can find reasons to be thankful here today. It’s just a matter of what we’re looking for.
I encourage you today to give yourself the gift of seeking out the lovely, noble, and excellent. Train your eyes to watch for the praiseworthy, and then enjoy the finding of what you seek.
It makes for a much better day than doing the opposite, I promise.
And with our hearts full of gratitude, we become the very thing we have sought, and bring a smile to the face of our Father.
With faith, hope, and love,