Yesterday, I had the privilege of talking to a WWII War Veteran. He was on his way to a meeting, while I was going to meet with some friends for lunch.
He had this wonderful sense of humor and was filled with joy. He told me about how he had come out of the war with two legs and two arms, but no brains. That was alright though, since he didn’t have any brains going into the war. (His words!!)
It was amazing to me that someone could come out of such a horrific and traumatic experience, and have such joy and abundant life in him. My own grandfather suffered from nightmares, and I am not sure he ever fully recovered (and he was stationed here in Canada with the Air Force – apparently, when doing practicing particular manoeuvres in the air, some planes crashed into buildings. People died in their own land, not even making it to the European battlefield.)
This “chance” meeting was inspirational to say the least. It made me want to be better, to complain less, and give thanks more.
Some of you know that I struggle with chronic pain. It felt like a divine meeting. Before he was about to cross the street, he said to me, “Keep on smiling and God bless you.”
The Bible tells us to “[f]ix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8).
It is easy to focus on the negative, to complain about what is wrong in our lives, to focus on people who have done us wrong…the list continues…
It is much harder to focus on what is good and positive, to remember the people who helped us out along the way, a teacher, a friend, a co-worker…the list continues.
Norman Vincent Peale says, “Change your thoughts and you change your world.”
We don’t change the world around us. It stays the same. The negative, complaining people stay the same.
Our world changes! Isn’t it worth it to begin to put away those negative feelings/self-talk, to be rid of the people who prefer to hold you back, who tell you you’re not good enough, smart enough, the people who don’t want you to change because they like you the way you are, just like them?
It is an act of the will to “Keep on smiling” even when we don’t feel like it. I am not talking about being inauthentic, or not allowing yourself to feel. We all need a good cry every now and then, and some circumstances are hard, really hard!
I am not downplaying anyone’s pain. It is real.
What I am saying, (and this is probably very Joel Osteen influence rising up) is that we can always find something to be thankful for. Not everything in life is terrible.
And, if you say, “Well, actually everything in my life is terrible,” then I would say, “Do one thing nice for yourself today. Do something that you love to do! Ask God to let you have divine encounters with the right people, who will encourage you and show you His love.”
The one thing I know, is that “God is love”, and that “[l]ove is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” (1 John 4:8b, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
Be encouraged today and “Keep on smiling!”