The word on the street here in western North Carolina is that snow is coming. Starting sometime today temperatures should create an opportunity for snow.

Did you notice I said, an opportunity in reference to snowfall?

I’m not sure that those who live in places like Michigan, Wisconsin or our old stomping ground of Massachusetts and other Northeast destinations would refer to coming snow similarly. Mainly because they have seen more than their share of snow already.

But, here, where we have had but a single dusting, there is a sense of anticipation, and even hope, that the snow will show. That there will be snow enough for my two sweet girls to enjoy playing in. That there will be snow enough to warrant my husband staying home for the day. That there will be snow enough for slowing life down for a day or two.

Opportunity or obstacle.

The things that come our way each day seem to us to be one or the other, don’t they?

Perhaps they are both and it is us who can decide whether we will see something as an opportunity or an obstacle.

This is something that I am learning on the journey. This is something that God is teaching me through the circumstances of my life, big and small. This is something that challenges the way I think. It challenges the choices I make.

Specifically, it challenges the choice I have to view life’s challenges from a worldly perspective or to view those challenges through my relationship with Jesus. Where I find hope. Where I find strength. Where I find opportunity even in what I perceive as an obstacle.

Have you ever found yourself in that place?

That place where life has backed you up against a wall and you feel like there’s no way out.

That place where your friends seem too busy and you feel like you’re all alone.

That place where your efforts seem to have made little or no difference and you feel like you wasted your time.

For me, that place, those places, have tended to seem or to feel, overwhelming. Sometimes even surreal.

Seeing the bank account dwindle down to almost nothing.

Facing infidelity in my marriage.

Navigating the parenting of little girls with grace and patience (for them and for myself).

Understanding the reality and necessity of forgiveness. For myself and for others.

Experiencing loneliness and yearning for friendship and for community.

The list gets long, doesn’t it? It can seem like life offers little joy, little to celebrate, little to delight in. But, that is when I hear the whisper of my soul. The whisper that reminds me that things are not always what they seem. The whisper that ignites a spark of hope in my heart.

The whisper that invites me to make a choice: see my days, my circumstances, my life as filled with difficulty and obstacles or as filled with possibility and opportunity.

The opportunity to seek God’s face and cleave to him.

The opportunity to forgive when I would rather hold a grudge.

The opportunity to trust when it is easier to doubt.

The opportunity to grow through the struggle when my natural tendency wants to wallow in self-pity.

The opportunity to find beauty in the ordinary moments.

Sometimes I forget that the day I face, with its joys and sorrows and challenges and uncertainties, is a gift. And it’s up to me what I do with that gift. And it’s up to me how I will respond in the face of hurts, sorrows, pain. And it’s up to me whether I seek beauty, chase joy, speak love, offer hope, help others, share truth, believe in what I see or what I know.

It’s up to me to see the opportunities. Even when they look more like obstacles.

Especially when they look more like obstacles.

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