by Texas Stready

Life is filled with free stuff—but it ain’t all good stuff.

Excitement vs. trauma. Unexpected passion or unexplained tragedy. Times all you need seems to be falling from the sky, or everything you value appears to be dropping out of sight.

And you bargained for none of it. It was given freely and without relent.

That’s because good times and bad times are inevitable. And like everything else in life they come in spurts. But the intensity of either can be used for good, depending on your perspective.

Not So Fun

Life gets awkward. Ugly even.

Sometimes people who are born with gobs of dedication and conviction end up crouched behind a building in attempts to keep warm, and their finest weekly dining experience is served by grumpy volunteers at the local soup kitchen.

How do you tell them things can be better? Can they?

Their eyes are weak and their bones are brittle. Their views are tainted and their hopes seem worn. They have gaping holes from the smiles on their faces to the soles of their shoes. Of course they use drugs, because the only thing high is good for is drowning out reality.

But not all of them are hopeless. Why? Because some of them have learned how to get the “good” free stuff.

Hope Floats

No matter how much the waters of despair rush in attempting to swallow you, authentic hope has buoyancy. It’s amazing how God can minister to you in any situation.

I spent last weekend in the libraries, jails, churches, food banks, and homeless shelters of the Brevard County area. I gave away 86 books. I don’t know how much they got from my viewpoint, but man did their outlook minister to me.

God is good and extremely faithful. In every one of these places I found workers, volunteers, and officers who were willing to go the extra mile. And members, clients, and inmates with extraordinary amounts of positive expectation.

And they were all giving it away for free…as if they knew that’s how they’d get more.

Live It Up

It’s a privilege to be alive. No doubt about it. If you can’t believe God can produce a productive outcome from harsh, cruel, or undeserved circumstance then you don’t have jack.

Nothing for yourself and nothing to offer the world.

Now that’s what I call hopeless.

Some days anything you eat gets the job done and at other times whatever you put in your mouth doesn’t satisfy. Funny how that works. Sure, taste buds are a factor, but believe it or not, much of this hinges on our perspective. That’s fantastic news. It tells us we don’t have to travel far to get a taste of the valuable free stuff. 

O taste and see that the Lord is good;

How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! Psalm 34:8 NASB

Choice Is Free

A simple decision to view things differently won’t cost you anything, but a negative attitude destroys everything. When you’re at the end of your life it’s easy to recognize what matters—but there’s no need to wait till then to live well.

You possess the power. The undeniable authority to see things any way you want to.

Is your glass half empty? Then go ahead and pour it out. Then you can make it half full.

My story brings hope. What a killer privilege that is. Who cares about where I’ve been and all the crappy stuff I did while I was there. Today’s a brand-new day. And I want to appreciate every moment of it.

I don’t know about you but I’ve wasted a bunch of time, and from here on out I plan on getting as much of the “good” free stuff as I can.

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