by Cathee Poulsen
So we’re three weeks away from the election and it gets more disturbing every day. Watching the Evening News can make you crazy if you let it, but just who is in control here?
The things we expose ourselves to control who we are. That’s why staying aware of the continual presence of Christ changes us incrementally — or as the Bible says, “from glory to glory.” Watching the news however, also changes us — from gory to gory.
To get right to the point, here are four things you can do to keep your sanity over the next three weeks.
- Monitor the amount of negative input from the media. The media is not the same as journalism. It’s much harder to find journalistic reviews and reports these days. The money is in reporting the sensational or disturbing. Decision Magazine put out a truly great issue recently which appeared unbidden in my mailbox. Maybe you got one too. “Two Visions – Two Americas. 2016 Election Edition.” It is excellent. See if you can get your hands on a copy. Time Magazine also publishes thoughtful pieces. And there are many others. Search them out.
- Curate what you watch! In other words, turn off push notifications that put the same news value on what’s happening with ISIS and what Kim Kardashian wore to lunch today. Do you honestly care about that? You have the ability to control what news comes your way and how often you get those beeps on your phone. Decide what you’ll watch or listen to and turn off the rest.
- For every hour of news you watch spend equal time in prayer. If ever we need to pray for our country, it is right now. “If my people, who are called by my name…” The instruction is not to just any ole’ American. It’s to US who say we follow Christ. His Word instructs us to pray for those in authority, that we might lead peaceful lives. If He’s instructed us to pray that way, won’t He respond to those prayers? Get on your knees.
- Remember all that’s going right. The more you focus on all the things you think are wrong, the bigger they’ll seem. Just like the 10 spies who went into Jericho. They saw giants all around and themselves as mere bugs. They had quickly forgotten the way God had led them so far – the manna and the water, the quail, the crossing of the Red Sea and more recently the Jordan River when it was raging. Have you stopped lately to recount all the good things God has provided? Be amazed by that and not all the pundits comments on the debate. Outside of your one vote and prayer, God has not given you the responsibility of setting policy or directing the nation. Elect godly people to do that work. I love to remind myself of these words when I get too agitated over current events, “Nor do I involve myself in great matters, or in things too difficult for me.” David speaking in Ps. 131:1.
We are people of the Kingdom that is above all other kingdoms. We do not fear the future because we follow in the train of a Conqueror. If we faint and grow weak and weary in the day of trouble, what do we have to offer those who are watching us?
One of Lake Placid’s amazing sunsets. (Photo courtesy of Anne Daigle)
by Texas Stready
No need to start gossiping. I’m not full of myself, a know-it-all, or as church folks say, “holier than thou.” But I do admit, my life’s amazing. It’s true, my income’s leaving holes in the bottom of the barrel, most of my personal phone calls come from Mom, and my children don’t have much need for my opinion because they’re “grown.”
After a lifetime spent in addiction, a few years back I made a shift. I dedicated myself to the process. God’s process. Before I knew it I found myself amazed by everything. Amazed that I liked waking up, amazed that I could live without a man, amazed by my potential and the vast array of new possibilities. The next year got even better. I became excited about my purpose, happy to be living for the right cause, and astonished that people were challenged by my input.
There’s No Stopping Me
More time passed and I realized I rarely felt down. This made me nervous, as if some untold crash were waiting around the next curve. I didn’t like that feeling, so I changed my mind. You see, feelings are completely unreliable and subject to our thoughts. Because this is true I decided to start telling myself, “Oh, that’s just how I feel.” Believe it or not, that simple sentence enables me to let go and move on.
Go ahead and argue, “When you live in the gutter long enough…” or “Just wait till…” but I’m not listening. I like it this way and have concluded there’s no reason for it to change. Enjoying life is about recognizing the gifts you’ve been given. And one of my gifts is the ability to look on the bright side—so that’s what I do. Look at what’s positive.
Get it, Got it, Good
It’s easy to spin our wheels in the mud puddles of life until we become stuck—unable to reach our intended destination. There’s a lot to be unhappy about or disappointed by, but what you focus on expands, and that means staring at the good stuff is always your best option.
I mean you can be upset when you can’t find a size 9 on the boot rack marked clearance, or you can be glad you don’t wear an 11. You can be embarrassed that your car has to turn over three times before it cranks, or you could be happy you’re not waiting on the bus. Remember, no matter how bad your life is, it’s a lot better than it could be.
Different Means Different
I spent years of my life in bondage. Sick circumstances, disease relationships, rehabs, jails, and so on. I was trapped in my own thinking. My parents were tired, my brothers pissed off, and my children crushed. But today is different.
I’m not only free, but after three years of remaining this way I’ve published my memoir, Deep in the Heart of Texas. Friday is my first speaking engagement and Saturday’s my book launch party. Amazing! I didn’t get this way overnight and I can’t remain here in my own strength. I’m here because I opted to give up my way and committed my life to Christ. Now, when chaos rages around me, I am completely content in Him.
It’s simple. No matter what you struggle with, here’s how you get from amazed to amazing: Just keep walking in the right direction. When it’s fun and exciting, keep walking. When it’s too high or too low, keep walking. When you’re tired or bored, discouraged or unimpressed, Just Keep On Walking. And in the end, you’ll be more than amazed—you too will be amazing.