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Your attachment to your wishful thinking, longings, and ideas of fairness can trap you in cycles of pointless longing and despair.

Ac-cep-tance n– willingness to believe that something is true.

-the realization of a fact or truth resulting in somebody’s coming to terms with it.

-the tolerating of something without protest

(Encarta World English Dictionary)

Storms happen in life. The unexpected hits suddenly—the loss of a job, the loss of a friend, the end of a marriage, or the end of your ministry as you have known it. In the face of loss—whether disease, injury, accident, set back, crushing event, or the end of life as you know it—we go through stages of denial, bargaining, and finally acceptance.

Acceptance is the place where you pick up the broken pieces and decide how to proceed from here. Regardless of what has happened, moving forward is still an option.

Let’s Talk About It

Much has been written about Admiral Jim Stockdale who was a prisoner of war at the “Hanoi Hilton” for eight years during the Vietnam War. When interviewed by Jim Collins in his book, Good to Great, the question was asked, “How did you deal with it?” Admiral Stockdale responded, “I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which in retrospect, I would not trade.” He said this about a horrific eight-year experience of torture, deprivation, isolation, and uncertainty.

To the question, “Who didn’t make it out?” he replied, “The optimists. They were the ones who said, ‘We’re going to be out by Christmas.’ And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they’d say, ‘We are going to be out by Easter.’ And Easter would come and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart.”

Stockdale summed it up with this life lesson: “You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.” Collins wrote, “To this day, I carry a mental image of Stockdale admonishing the optimists: ‘We’re not getting out by Christmas; deal with it!”

Acceptance is the ability to look at your current reality and deal with it. Not in a broken and defeated spirit, but with an awareness that you too will prevail in the end.

Live It

In order to thrive in your current reality, you may need to:

  • Examine the problem in a positive light. Turn bad situations into something meaningful—taking action gives you a sense of purpose. The business investment wasn’t a failure; it was a valuable learning experience. Focus on what is good. It will give you strength and energy to work with what is wrong or to simply live with uncertainty.
  • Explore your strengths and re-label weaknesses as growth areas. You will never know the thrill of conquering new territory if you are ruled by fear.
  • Eliminate the negativity. Mentally rehearsing or talking about the bad, ugly, or current difficulties of your life will not improve it. You will prevail because of deliberate daily choices of right thinking.
  • Evaluate your options. You are not stuck. Pray for courage to adjust, make changes, or smile instead of frowning. Brainstorm your choices. If you are miserable in your job or facing a layoff, what are your options? I can join a circus, go back to school, find a new job or…

It may be raining but you have an umbrella!

 

Reprinted with permission from Reflections Magazine.

If you are anything like me, we tend to get impatient. I sometimes get road rage. Then there are those times that I wonder why God hasn’t answered the prayer that I prayed.

If we are exercising our faith properly, patience is a natural by-product. Those two things, FAITH + PATIENCE = TRUST. 

Remember the life of Job? Remember all that happened to him, all that he went through, and all that he lost? He was true to God through the whole process, never wavering. His trust in God Almighty was incredible.

Sometimes God brings us through the fire to make us who we are truly meant to be, and in the end, Job ended up being blessed even more!

Did Job see everything that was in store for him on the other side of His troubles? I doubt it, but the simple fact is that his faith stood the test when the devil was permitted by God to throw everything at him. Don’t ever forget that only God can allow this trial you are going through. He is in control.

Romans 5:1-2 (The Message),

By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us  right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: 

We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us.  We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.

Our faith and patience, which are two sides of the same coin, allow us to be what God has always wanted us to be .  I will say that I rarely consider, while at the very epicenter of my troubles, that God is doing it so that my faith grows enough so that He can set me right with Him, make me fit for His use.

God always has a higher purpose, so find a way to rejoice in the middle of this situation, because God is working FOR YOU!

Pray:  Holy Spirit, I ask You to shatter my doubts, insecurities, and fears.  Show me how to walk by faith and not by sight. Help me trust You completely in every situation. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

“And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:4)

Growing up, most of us read fairy tale stories. There are stories of princesses saved by their heroes, stories of mythical creatures and lands, etc. Some of us loved reading those type of stories and maybe even read them to our children. While reading these books, maybe you imagined yourself a part of the story. Maybe you imagined yourself doing things or going to far away places. You became a part of the story, the fable.

The Bible, to some people, has become like the fairy tales. When they turn from God and the Truth, they start believing what is written in the Bible is just made up stories, just another fable. They don’t want to believe that God truly exists. He becomes like the fables in the stories – made up.

When this happens, the Bibles becomes just like any other book on the shelf among all the other stories. The Bible is no longer sacred and holy to them. Just like a fairy tale book is forgotten over time, the Bible is not read anymore.

Has the Bible become just another fable to you?

Stay in God’s Word.  Read it every day. Don’t let His Word become another fable to you.

Reading the Bible daily is how we hear God’s voice and know He is not just another fable. When we stay in His Word, we won’t stray from God or the truth.

“In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). God has always been and always will be. Don’t let God be just another fairy tale in your life.

Prayer:  Dear Lord, please help me to know that you are real. Don’t let me believe You are a fable. Help me, every day,  to stay in Your Word and Your Truth. Amen!

Devotion by Mishelle Nally