Blog #18 Fresh Eyes
This summer our big family adventure was going to be a trip to Gulf Shores, Alabama. We had booked a fantastic condo, scouted out fun restaurants and lined up activities. But a few days before our departure, we began hearing about Barry.
This unwelcomed weather disturbance was due to make landfall on a Saturday, the day before we were scheduled to leave. And it was predicted to land smack dab in the middle of our route to Gulf Shores.
When it comes to storms, we have had our share of experiences. Flooded a car and a house (separate storms), been trapped for hours on a highway trying to evacuate (while 18 weeks pregnant!) and even lost our neighbor who tried to drive home and got caught in an underpass.
Needless to say, we have great respect for storms.
So, we watched the weather non-stop on Friday. Would there be flooding? How far would we need to drive to avoid it? With evacuations, would there be hotels available? Reluctantly, we decided it wasn’t worth the risk. So, we scraped the vacation.
I cannot begin to tell you how disappointed I was.
So, after a fairly significant pity party, we started planning an alternative vacation. The quickest, easiest one (if you live in Texas) is San Antonio. There are water parks, amusement parks, rivers to float down and the ever-famous River Walk with its wide variety of restaurants and shops. All great options.
Except we had done this vacation before. Twice.
Now, I know I sound like a snobby brat. I should be grateful I can do any vacation at all! Even a repeat one! But, in that moment, all I was feeling was a serious emotional letdown. I was not happy about Plan B.
Before leaving, I got up early and prayed. I told God how disappointed I was and asked Him to do one simple thing: change my attitude. I couldn’t change my circumstances, but I could change my heart. I wanted to be grateful for what we were able to do. But try as I might, I couldn’t seem to conjure it up. So, I asked Him to do it for me.
While still praying, a random idea struck me. I knew it had to be from Him because it was so NOT what I was thinking about. The idea was to bring cash and look for ways to give it away.
Instantly my heart changed!
Suddenly I saw my situation with fresh eyes. Instead of focusing on what I couldn’t do, I was filled with ideas of what I could do. It was a gift that I could still take a vacation and what if I shared that gift with others?
So, every day we looked for ways to surprise people. We wrote notes, stuffed envelopes with money and then watched from a distance to see what would happen. It was SO fun!
Giving was a great addition to our vacation, and one I hope becomes a tradition. And it was all due to a new perspective. A perspective I would never have found on my own.
What do you do with disappointment? How do you handle those unexpected right turns (or U-turns!) in life? I know life is often more difficult than a cancelled vacation. Maybe it’s a disappointment in your marriage, your health, or your career. No matter the circumstance, it is ok to feel let down or be unable to see anything positive in it. Sometimes disappointment is so crushing you can’t imagine having a change in perspective.
That’s why we need God. On our own we only see what hurts. He is the only one who can give us fresh eyes. The problem is we rarely ask Him for it. We either buck up and muscle our way through disappointment or we lay down and let it bury us.
Both options stink.
Fresh eyes in a situation may not remove the difficulty. But it can give you a different way of looking at it. And in the end, it might even become a gift.
One you might be able to give away…
Are you disappointed, confused or angry? Acknowledge your feelings before God and ask Him to give you a new perspective.
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