The other day, eldest and I were discussing her day at school. She mentioned a friend of hers who was feeling sad and lonely. The girl had said, among other things, “You don’t know how hard my life is.”
My heart squeezed for this girl because this is not the first time she has said this to her friends. I asked eldest what she thought about the girl’s attitude. “Do you think she is focusing on the right things?”
“Well, she has had some really hard things happen to her,” eldest said.
“Yes, but almost everyone has had difficult times. It is tempting to believe your own trials are somehow worse than others, but focusing on the negative can bring you pretty low and steal away the joy of the Lord. Do you think that is what Jesus wants us to focus on, or should we focus on the wonderful things he has done for us?” I asked.
She nodded. “Yeah, I guess you’re right. Focus on the positive.”
“That doesn’t mean you should not show compassion to others when they are low, but where would you rather have your own heart focused?” I went on. “You have had a really hard life, too, you know.”
Her mouth dropped open. “No I haven’t.”
My heart swelled for her. She is so focused on the right things, so focused on listening to others that she doesn’t even realize that she has had her share of trials. I, myself, know how to wallow. I have hosted many a pity party for myself. Her attitude amazed me! So, I continued, saying something that seemed counter-productive, but I wanted to make a point.
I said, “Your mother almost died on the bathroom floor, and that was after she had cancer surgery. It took almost a year to recover from that. Your mother also has some serious health and pain issues that cause her not to be as energetic as other moms. Plus, you have a sister with severe autism who has had all kinds of issues.”
With big eyes, she looked at me in the rear-view mirror. “I never thought about that.”
“See? That’s what is so amazing! We keep our focus and eyes on Jesus and not on our trials. That is how we can share the love of God with others rather than wallowing in our own problems. What do you think?”
“Is it wrong to share your problems?”
“No, of course not, but it is when we begin to see our entire lives as one problem or drama leading into the next problem that we lose sight of the joy of Christ. Which would you rather be?” I asked.
May the joy of the Lord be with you today, my sisters!