Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Best Way to Avoid Disappointment

What may feel important to you may be on the back burner for me. I don't waste my time trying to store my nuts for the future when "now" is all I have. I may not be here tomorrow. I have other thing to worry about, like "now". I can only do my best. I have just enough for each day that comes. There's a story in the Bible talking about manna. Manna is basically, just having enough, or spiritual nourishment for some. But it originally came from the story of when the Israelites had just come out of Egypt. They were in the desert when the Lord said to them, "I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days."

So Moses said, "You will know that it was the Lord when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the Lord."

When they saw the food available to them the next morning, they were told to take as much as they need, to take just enough for each person they have in the tent. The Israelites did as they were told. Some gathered much, some little. Everyone gathered as much as they needed. Then Moses said to them, "No one is to keep any of it until morning." however, some of them paid no attention to Moses. They kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell.

The point of the story is that God gives us what we need -- not what we necessarily desire or want. And of course, God does give us the desires of our hearts, but in His will. A friend of mine had asked me what "abundance" was the other day. For many people, it means affluence or wealth. But it comes to God giving you an abundance in life -- wealth has little to zero to do with it. When God gives you an "abundant" life -- He gives you a life full of joy and inner peace (not as the world gives) but a constant joy that is only supplied by Him. So whether you're in a grave circumstance or going through trials, you can still be at peace with everything around you. That's "true" peace -- true "abundance". And it's very hard to obtain and maintain for that matter. But staying close to God is what keeps me in check. I'm not wealthy, but I feel grateful for what I have...and they're not materialistic things, therefore, I am wealthy. When people solely focus on materialistic or monetary value, they instantly lose peace. I'm not saying just forget about making money and "wish" for it to just magically appear, but to focus your entire life trying to acquire wealth is meaningless. When you try to acquire wealth without heart and find that it never seems to come readily available, you'll start to become envious of those who do have wealth.

A while ago, I chose to let a lot of things go. I decided that it was none of my business what other people thought of me. It's out of my control. I learned a valuable lesson through some hard times. People who hurt you are hurting more than you. Forgive them. I learned that we're all spiritual creatures walking around oblivious to the fact that we're all somehow connected whether we like or dislike each other. I also understand that life is precious as well as vulnerable. Life can diminish at any given second. We choose our joy and grief much sooner than they even arrive. Our minds trick us into thinking that we can't live without "this" or we can't live without "him/her" -- when in reality, we are all we truly have. But in the same breath, God is our comforter. Without trusting God, we become fearful of the future, fearful of losing our loved ones, fearful of life itself. Each day I try to renew my trust in God, because let's face it -- it's hard trusting a Source that's not visible to the human eye. Some people would call me stupid for relying on faith, or to even trust in something that scientifically doesn't exist. But this is what keeps me going. I have seen. I have experienced God for myself. But who would believe me?

Why would God talk to me? I'm a sinner. I don't go to church, I sometimes drink too much and at times, say the wrong things regretfully. I'm not perfect. There are times when I feel like giving up. But in my time of weakness is when God works His strength in me. Every single time I slip down that road of discouragement, He somehow lifts me back up and dusts me off. I try to help the people I love to the best of my ability. I try to help people I don't even know. Sometimes, when you give your all, it can be completely exhausting. And that's OK. That's when God comes in and gives you "manna" -- strength to make it for just that day. There are some days I'm walking around with zero sleep, and this unexplainable energy zaps right through me as if I slept a full eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. But it's all because of my faith. And through my faith, it becomes my reality.

Another thing I have learned over the past few years is that with high expectations come great disappointments. (And maybe not for some.) But for the vast majority, it's a common theme. Think about this: let's say you're wealthy for a great portion of your life. You've acquired a beautiful home, fancy cars, designer clothing, jewelry, etc., etc., etc... Then one day, you lose your high paying job, your house forecloses, your cars get repossessed and basically everything just slips right out from under your feet. You've now lost everything. What happens next? You won't settle for less, but now you're living in the most miserable situation, because you keep thinking about the past -- about the "once upon a time". You're bitter, angry, resentful...disappointed.

What about vanity? Beauty doesn't last forever, neither does youth. If you solely rely on your good looks, also rely on the fact that those good looks are slowly aging. I was once told, never marry a beautiful woman (although I did...nice save, huh?) -- but to marry someone who will make you laugh and someone who can hold a conversation. Beauty fades. Sex fades. What's left after 50 years of marriage? Friendship, right? But those who are only after looks, youth and wealth will find themselves disappointed eventually. Even the wealthiest people aren't 100% happy.

Here are some great quotes from Ecclesiastes:

"Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don't have. Just dreaming about nice things in meaningless; it's like chasing the wind."

"I have observed something else in this world of ours. The fastest runner doesn't always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn't always win the battle. The wise are often poor, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don't always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being at the right place at the right time. People can never predict when hard times might come. Like fish in a net or birds in a snare, people are often caught by sudden tragedy."

"Those who love money will never have enough. How absurd to think that wealth brings true happiness. The more you have, the more people come to help you spend it. So what is the advantage of wealth--except perhaps to watch it run through your fingers?"

"Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat well, drink a good glass of wine, and enjoy their work---whatever they do under the sun---for however long God lets them live. And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life---that is indeed a gift from God. People who do this rarely look with sorrow on the past, for God has given them reasons for joy."

Once you stop caring about what other people think of you -- your entire life will change. What other people think of us is none of our business. If someone is to judge us -- let them. That's their issue, not ours. If we're happy with who we are, and what we do, and how we live -- nothing, and I mean nothing else in this world will matter. When people try to control you, or hurt you, remember one thing: hurt people hurt. Hurt people cannot stand to see other people not hurting. Even if they seem to be a good person, it doesn't matter because misery loves company. They fill your head up with negative things, hoping that their "disease" will be contagious enough for you to feel their pain. You can do one or two things with toxic people: you can avoid them at all costs, or you can pray for a hedge or protection when they start rambling off about meaningless things. Try to remain peaceful. And sometimes, silence is your best weapon.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!