Living in Reality
Instructor, West Coast Baptist College
Do you remember when you were young and dreaming about the future? That’s usually a time when we are very idealistic. We think, “I’m going to have the perfect marriage…just like in the old movies. I’m going to be a really good wife, and my husband will be rich and handsome. My kids are not going to act like that! I’m going to get to travel and have exotic vacations. I’m going to be a really good Christian…” and on and on we would dream.
A few years later, when the road gets a little bumpy, if we’re not careful, we can become pessimistic. We think, “This marriage thing is not as easy as it looks… I can be such a nag. This cycle of cleaning and cooking never ends. I wonder how my kids are going to turn out… it’s so hard to always be consistent. I don’t think the teachers at school like my kids. There is more month than money. I must not be a very good Christian for all these things to be happening.”
Instead of becoming pessimistic (which can lead to being cynical), let me encourage you to become realistic.
Realize God loves you unconditionally. When earthly relationships are challenging, God’s love for you never changes. This will give you the security to go on (see Jeremiah 31:3).
Realize that God is good all the time. Be positive and look for the blessings. Don’t dwell on the negative (see Romans 8:28).
Realize that whatever God is doing is just fine with you, because God knows best. When your dreams are dashed, God has something better (see Isaiah 55:8).
Realize that happiness and contentment come from God alone. Don’t rely on anyone else for your happiness. With God, there is always hope (see Romans 15:13).
Realize that you must keep short accounts with God and with others. Forgive and let it go. Forgive yourself. God does not forgive us because we deserve it; He forgives us because of what Christ did for us (see Ephesians 4:32).
Realize that God will give you grace to live with the consequences of your sin (see Romans 5:20).
When we come to realize all of these truths, the final stage in our spiritual journey is contentment. This comes from trusting God; He will bring us into our desired haven (see Psalm 107:25-30). My challenge to you: don’t float along in the idealistic stage or sink into the pessimistic stage, but allow God to grow you through realizing all He has for you so that you rest in contentment!
I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. Philippians 4:11b