Take Nothing for Granted

This is what it feels like to have a major decision to make. It’s also what it feels like when you’re unsure of what lies ahead. We take so many things for granted as being normal and constant. That constant can be ripped away from you in an instant, though! Don’t take it for granted. Don’t count on things remaining “normal”. Life can take unexpected turns.

Our life has taken two such unexpected turns nearly at once. One I’ve already shared, and the other I’m unable to completely share with everyone but immediate family yet out of respect for privacy. When this person is ready to share with everyone, I will explain. Until then, I can tell you that it is medical but not life threatening. The major decision has to do with a procedure that would prevent what could turn out to be life threatening down the road. With this minimum information, the decision might seem obvious and simple. When you bring emotions and thoughts of all implications into it, the decision isn’t so simple.

For those few of you who read this and know what I’m talking about, please don’t comment with specifics or names. If/when this person feels comfortable sharing, I will shed more light on it. Until then, just please continue to pray.

Joy vs. Stress & Worry

Pure joy can be seen in this expression!

“Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.” ~ Psalm 90:14  (see all of Psalm 90 here)

While processing the hundreds of photos I took at our church’s annual block party, I noticed many different expressions on faces. Only after the event did I read a message again that specified they were looking for lots of smiles.

Shaking in my boots, I opened the photo file to see how many smiles I actually captured… a wave of relief washed over me when I saw that many were smiling. There were also expressions that gave off vibes of concern, worry, tension, stress, and distance (their bodies were there, but their minds were somewhere else).

Because I knew a lot of these people and was also there for fellowship myself, I didn’t spend a lot of time noticing or studying these expressions while I was photographing them. The beauty of photography is that it allows you to capture moments in time and save them forever. Looking back at photos, you see things you may not have noticed in that moment. There are so many things we take for granted and don’t necessarily notice as we go about our day. Since I have that “photographer mind” all the time, though, I notice and pay more attention to these details.

I love it when smiles come easily, and it concerns me when smiles don’t come easily for people. Without being able to hear a conversation someone is having 100 feet away, you can tell the tone of the conversation by their facial expressions and body language. The furrowed brow, the tilt/nod/shake of the head, the way their mouths form their words, the way their hands are used, and the positioning of their bodies. It’s great to have compassion for those with unfortunate circumstances or illness. We should absolutely pray for such people. We should also pray for those causing fear. Lift it all up to God, and then leave it with Him. Don’t carry it around with you throughout your day and spread it to others.

My thoughts are scattered, and I’m trying to rush through this post. My two main thoughts here are 1) gossip/”gloom-and-doom” conversations, and 2) stress and worry. The first one just shouldn’t happen – period. The second one is hard for many to avoid, and it seems to be getting harder for each new generation. I’d love to just let that open up a discussion about why that is the case through comments, so please feel free to throw your thoughts out there by commenting below!

What causes your stress? How does your stress influence the way you react to situations that may arise at work, at home, even with your children?

On the other hand…

What causes your joy? In times of joy, how do you react to situations that may arise at work, at home, even with your children?