Cyclists hate headwinds—love tailwinds. You’d think the number of times we have to get down on the drop bars and grind into the wind would even out with those days we get that lovely tailwind assist. But it always seems like the wind gods are always against us, rarely blessing us with ease and speed. Runners complain about the same thing. Turns out we’re far more conscious of adversity than we are when the universe is conspiring to give us a bit of a boost. The brain science reveals that our awareness of a “tailwind” quickly fades while we remain acutely conscious of adversity, i.e., headwinds.
We’ll overlook the “good” of God’s creation and presence and dwell on the challenging aspects for ourselves, but not for others. “Mom always liked you best!” “How come the refs are so unfair to my team?” “Those people have it so much easier and need to work harder. They’re a bunch of freeloaders!” We magnify what we believe are the headwinds in our lives and minimize the tailwinds that have and are helping us along. The result is a sense of bitterness and resentment, which poisons our lives and relationships.
One of the great marks of what little wisdom and maturity I have in my life is the realization that my life is a gift which is blessed by the opportunities my family and circumstances gave me. My folks worked hard to provide a home and a life of adventure. Teachers at school challenged me to engage a world of wonder and find my place in it. My church families along the way loved me and provided me a safe and fun place to learn about God’s love for me. When I forget the strong tailwinds that still move me in my life and focus only on the headwinds, something goes haywire inside me. Let’s face it…no family is perfect and no life is without its headwinds. But when we forget the tailwinds our families and circumstances have and continue to contribute to our lives and instead focus on only the headwinds, resentments and bitterness find fertile soil.
This is why the Bible makes such a big deal about gratitude and thanksgiving. Gratitude changes everything because thanksgiving keeps us centered in what is good and true instead of drifting off into the negative emotions set off by our sense that life is more difficult than it actually is. And you know my view…life is difficult…but by ignoring the blessings in our lives we grow more and more self-centered and consequently bitter, resentful, and out of touch with God’s presence and work in our lives, and the great gifts the people around us, especially our biological and spiritual families, contribute to our lives.
Psalm 145:1-9 (TEV)
I will proclaim your greatness, my God and king; I will thank you forever and ever. Every day I will thank you; I will praise you forever and ever. The LORD is great and is to be highly praised; his greatness is beyond understanding. What you have done will be praised from one generation to the next; they will proclaim your mighty acts. They will speak of your glory and majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds. People will speak of your mighty deeds, and I will proclaim your greatness. They will tell about all your goodness and sing about your kindness. The LORD is loving and merciful, slow to become angry and full of constant love. He is good to everyone and has compassion on all he made.
It turns out counting our blessings make a big difference physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And the most significant blessings (tailwinds) were passed on to us by the generations which proceeded us.
More Sunday. Here’s what I have on my desk…
Brian Mayo will continue leading the Study of Luke upstairs in the Youth Room following the second service on Sundays. The Session is thankful Brian accepted our invitation to continue teaching during this interim period of his life.
WE ARE LOOKING FOR A VOLUNTEER WHO WOULD BE WILLING TO PICKUP DONUTS FOR OUR SUNDAY SERVICES THIS SUMMER. If you are willing to stop in to Safeway on your way in to church and pickup 3-dozen donuts for our Fellowship time between services, PLEASE MARK YOUR COMMUNICATION CARD THIS SUNDAY OR CONTACT THE CHURCH OFFICE