Several nights ago, I read a thought-provoking post. I found it on a pretty blog with pretty pictures, written by a pretty young woman – a blog that I like to read because I find it to be a pleasant diversion. This particular post was about “making it happen.” The writer is making the life she envisioned a reality. “Making it happen” is the reason she is excited to get up in the morning. Indeed, her blog stories suggest that she is successfully accomplishing her dreams, and I wish her all the best. Nevertheless, instead of being pleasantly diverted, I found myself sighing.
I would like to be excited to get up in the morning. I would like to believe that I could get up and “make it happen.” But I don’t. Perhaps I am not as idealistic as I once was: I am not the girl looking out my bedroom window at a sparkling blanket of snow and thinking that the world is a perfectly wonderful place. I am not the twenty-something Christian school teacher, committed to excellence for my students at all costs. I am not even the young mother envisioning an ideal childhood for my sons.
No, I am one who has come through a great sea of depression and is trying to stand now on the opposite shore. Such a journey will change one’s perspective. Hold your dreams lightly because they may be taken away. And the waves still lap at my feet, and they sometimes knock me over, but I no longer feel as though I am drowning.
There is a name for this change of perspective. The late Polish psychologist, Kazimierz Dabrowski, called it positive disintegration. Author, Martha Burge, describes it like this:
If you think about the person you were in your twenties or earlier, and then think about the person you are now, you’ll see a difference. Your attitudes, beliefs, and view of the world have changed. These changes happened when your view of the world no longer worked. You had no choice but to let it fall apart and rebuild it so that you could handle the situation that was intolerable in your old view of the world.
But I still have to get up. When the waves knock me down, I have to get up. When the sun rises in the morning, I have to get up. If I’m not going to “make it happen,” then why should I get up?
St. Paul has some words of advice:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Romans 12:1
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. Colossians 3:23
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17
Getting up and working with all my heart is my spiritual act of worship. And it is completely appropriate to ask God to bless the work I do.
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days….May the favor or the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands. Psalm 90:14 and 17
I will get up, and I will work with all my heart, and I will not do this perfectly, but through Christ, it will be my act of worship. That is my perspective. Some of my work may involve envisioning, planning, and reaching goals, and some of it will not. My job is simply to walk the path God has given me.
And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
I will stumble, and I will fall, and my perspective may change yet again. But God will pick me up. He will never change, and His love will last forever.
1. Quote from Martha Burge, The ADD Myth: How to Cultivate the Unique Gifts of Intense Personalities (San Francisco: Conari Press, 2012)
2. All Bible verses from the New International Version
3. Photos by John David Duke Jr. Taken at Lake Michigan, July 2010.