A new attitude

Originally posted on 5/25/2006…..

I recently watched something that brought me to a realization.

We have NO idea how good most of us have it.

If you’re anything like me, you grew up in a loving home. Maybe it wasn’t the most ideal situation or environment, but at the very least, you knew that you were loved. Perhaps you had the opposite though. Perhaps you had a roof over your head, but you didn’t feel much ‘love’ from parents, siblings, peers, etc. In both situations, you have reason to be thankful though. In the lack of fulfilled needs, or in the lack of positive affirmation, there are still good things that can be shared from experience, even if you have to sometimes dig a bit to find those things.

I really have no complaints. My upbringing made me at least part of who I am today. I always had food, clothing, a place to sleep. I dealt with fear early on in life. Fear of the irrational at times, other times fear of a parent’s anger. The latter, thankfully, was dealt with early on in my late-teens, and is something I no longer carry with me. Becoming a father myself also helped heal those wounds, albeit few of them (again, thankfully).

In that process, I learned to become who I am today. I made mistakes, I slipped up, made some VERY poor decisions, but through it all, even in the bad times, I surrounded myself with people who loved and cared for me in good times and bad. That is part of what carried me through, along with God’s grace and mercy. There’s no denying that. But I digress.

I saw something today that changed my perspective on what we, especially as Americans, take for granted. Life. Freedom. Choice. I saw the eyes of Auschwitz survivors, and it moved me. It didn’t move me on a superficial level (at least I’d like to think it didn’t), but in a deeper sense. See, when I saw the faces of those survivors, I saw something behind their eyes. Something that, in every face, told a story. The story was likely similar in most, but it was a steel look, a glance that was unmistakeable–these people had been through hell, and lived to tell about it. But 60 years later, the scars were just as real, the events just as true, and the survival just as precious. And it made me sad.

I’ve had it pretty good. And I’ve been pretty blessed. I’ve come to the conclusion that I take far too much for granted. I spend too much time on the meaningless stuff, and don’t concentrate enough on the bigger picture. See, I think we get wrapped up in the menial everyday things we deal with that really take little effort, rather than the things that matter the most. The things that matter are bound to be different for everyone, but for at least some of us, they should be the same. As a believer in Jesus Christ, my first matter of the heart should be to see the world around me, love those I come across with the love of Christ, and in some small way, plant a seed that points people to Him. I’ve come to realize over the last year that it’s not so important what my ‘liberties’ are, but rather what people on the outside see when they look at me. If that is the only thing I leave with them, then so be it. God is in control. But the important thing is that I do what I am called to do-what we are all called to do-and that is to love those around us. Not just the ones that are easy to love, or are convenient to love because it takes little effort, but the ones who I don’t WANT to love. The people who I can only love by looking at them through God’s eyes. Every person we meet, every person we have contact with, has value. I would even go so far as to say that every person we come in contact with, like them or not, has some quality, characteristic, or trait, that we can gleen off and learn from. Perhaps if we looked at people the way we should, rather than how is easy for us to do, we would see them so much differently.

Honestly, I’m not sure what all this has to do with what I saw on that program, but I know it gives me a greater appreciation for the things I do that are so easy and minor in the grand scheme of things. It also helps me to realize that every one of us have a calling. God brings it out of us when He wills, but it is there, for every single one of us. For some of us, it is easy to see, for others, it is harder. For some of us, moving into that calling is a no-brainer. It takes little effort because it doesn’t require us to move out of our comfort zone. And again, for others, it requires much time, effort, concentration, and yes, even some work.

Regardless of which category you fall into, take the opportunity today to reflect on it, and if taking that step requires effort, then take a deep breath, lean on God, and take that step. Do not let today pass without you realizing the fullest potential of who you are in Christ, and who He’s called you to be. God is patient, loving, forgiving, and kind. His mercy endures. When we take the first step into all He wants us to be, it is amazing how much easier it becomes. The movie “Dead Poet’s Society” made famous a phrase that I have thought of many times over the years. “Carpe Diem”, or, “Seize the Day”. Shouldn’t we all do that? And if you are a Christian, isn’t the call to do that even more vital?

Seize the day. Seize today.

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