“Both tears and sweat are salty, but they render a different result. Tears will get you sympathy; sweat will get you change.” -Jesse Jackson
I felt guilty even when I was writing that last post. Now, a few hours after publishing it, I am feeling so overwhelmed by guilt and feelings of ridiculousness and the incessant need to clarify that I can’t even sleep.
I was writing that post about college being a waste of time/money and how I can’t find a job in my field and a general “Waaaaah! Waaaaaaah! Waaaaaah!” and all I kept thinking is, “Alissa, you know better than this.” And I do.
I know way better.
You see, everything in my last post was true, BUT I have this little thing called faith. And the faith that I have moves mountains. I have overcome insurmountable odds to get where I am today. God has blessed me tremendously beyond my wildest expectation. I feel like my last post gave the impression that He hasn’t or that He was through blessing me. He isn’t.
One of my favorite scriptures in the Bible is Psalm 37:5 – “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.”
I love that scripture because it is so true. God has never, ever, ever forsaken me. Ever. He has come through for me every single time. He’s the definition of “clutch”. (Think Lakers’ Ron Artest, 2010 Western Conference Finals Game 5). So, why do I allow myself the pity party as if I do anything other than WIN every time anyway?
It’s really all about perspective. I can focus on the fact that I graduated at the top of my class and yet don’t have a job in my field. Or I can look at what I do have. As my pastor likes to say “What’s in your hand?” I can’t do anything about the things that I don’t have except have faith and believe for them….and also be thankful for the things I do have. I can’t voice my complaints and my thankfulness at the same time. I have to shut-up about one thing to talk about the other.
So, I’m choosing to be thankful because, truthfully, I have a LOT to be thankful for.
One of my favorite stories in the Bible is about Ruth and Naomi. This is a popular story and many people like to quote Ruth’s famous promise to Naomi: “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried.”
That’s not the part that gets me though. The aspect of the story that gets me is that Naomi went to Moab with her two sons and husband. Her husband died then her sons married the Moabite women Ruth and Orpah. When her sons also died, Naomi told the girls to go back to their hometown and remarry. Orpah left, but Ruth refused and demanded to stay with Naomi (insert Ruth’s famous line). Still, when Naomi went back to her hometown of Bethlehem — with Ruth — the Bible quotes Naomi’s instructions to the people there:
“Don’t call me Naomi, ” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The LORD has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”
As the story goes on, Ruth meets a man named Boaz. Boaz falls for Ruth and they get married. Because he is a wealthy man, Ruth and Naomi are set financially for life. Also, Boaz and Ruth had a son whom Naomi cared for. The women said to Naomi:
“Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”
Naomi, who had changed her named to Mara as a result of her faulty near-sightedness, had an amazing blessing right in her face in Ruth and didn’t realize it.
That story serves as a lesson for me. Since writing that post, I have spent the majority of the day thinking about what is in my hand. I now realize that I have been given an enviable opportunity — better than anything that I have imagine. Unfortunately, I havent been seeing it as such. Like Helen Keller said: “When one door closes, another door opens but we often look so regretfully upon the closed door that we don’t see the one that has opened for us.” (Ironically, Helen Keller was both blind and deaf.)
It’s embarrassing to think that I allowed myself to go there mentally in my last post for even a full sixty seconds. I know better than to speak negative things into existence, to complain about situations I can’t change, to ignore blessings, and choose dissatisfaction over thankfulness. Luckily, I am given another opportunity. And I want to take this opportunity to say that I have faith and I believe that God is going to come through in an unbelievable way. There will be no explanation for how such wonderful things could have happened and we will all admit that it was a result of God, himself, working on my behalf like He has done sooooooooooo, soooooooooooo many times before.
In the meantime, I am going to use my resources to work with the things that I do have and I’m going to continue to make the most of any and every opportunity.
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” -Hebrews 11:1