We moved the day before we took our family to Disneyland. Call us crazy, but we filled our home with boxes and caught a plane the next morning to California. As the movers carried the large furniture pieces into our home the evening before our trip, I thought I would help by scooting one of the dressers out of the way. Little did I know how sore I would be the next day…and the next…and the day after…and the day after that…
I had somehow infuriated a nerve that began right under my left ear, ran down my right shoulder and stopped at my fingertips. I had never felt so much continuous pain before. I was in pain on the airplane, at the condo and, sadly, at Disneyland (and a week after we came home!). I couldn’t even turn my head without pivoting my entire body.
Something similar to this happened to me when I went skiing in Colorado a few months before. We got to the ski resort, and I had finally made it up on my first mountain on the first day of our ski trip, and WHAM! I got slammed by a snowboarder right on my quadriceps. I skied down the hour-long track in pain, and I had to sit out the rest of the trip. In my mind, my ski trip was ruined.
However, the difference between my ski trip and my Disney trip was my attitude. During the ski trip, I was upset and it showed. I was angry that I couldn’t ski, and my attitude teetered to the dark side. When I finally left for home, I was struck with the fact that I had harbored a negative attitude. The memories of my attitude were way more memorable then the memories of the trip itself, and I vowed never to let my attitude sink to that level again. I would put my expectations aside and enjoy the day that God had given me.
So at Disneyland, I realized that I would not be able to do any of the fast and exciting roller coaster rides that I was anticipating. For months, I had looked forward to enjoying all that the theme park had to offer, but I knew that my injury would worsen with even the slightest jerk or turn. Instead of allowing my attitude to turn for the worst, though, I embraced the change in my plans. I kept my five-year-old daughter with me the entire time, and we enjoyed calm Disney rides, fun shows and the exciting parades.
When I arrived home after this trip, I was left with amazing memories and the knowledge that I had made the best of my situation. My joy was not dependent on my circumstance, and I embraced how blessed I was to even be there. At the end of our lives, I think what will shine the most will not be what we experienced but how we reacted to those experiences. I want to live my life with the joy of the Lord always being the end result of my struggles, heartache and pain.
Questions: Is there a bright side to the darkness you may be experiencing right now? How can you give your heartache to God and cling onto the hope and joy that is He has available for you each day?
“This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).
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