I took a board game called "Visual Eyes." It contains numerous dice with different pictures on all sides. I told the girls they had a set amount of time to look at all of the dice and count all the animals. They worked frantically, making sure they looked at each of the dice and trying to remember the number in their heads. I called time, covered the dice with the box lid, and asked "Okay, how many sharp objects did you find?" Their faces fell. A couple looked confused. One spoke up, "That's not what you said to look for." "I know," I replied with a smile. "But I want to know how many sharp objects you found?" No one could tell me.
"Let's try this again," I said as I uncovered the box. "You have until the timer runs out to find out how many sharp items there are. Really pay attention this time." Again, they worked in a panic, trying to beat the clock and come up with the correct answer. When their time was up, I covered the dice again and asked, "How many articles of clothing did you find?" One girl screamed in frustration, then muttered "This is a stupid game." Once again, I couldn't find anyone to answer my question.
"Why can't you tell me?" I asked. "You just looked at the dice. In fact, you looked at them twice. Why can't you tell me what I want to know?" Several answered, "Because that's not what we were looking for." EXACTLY!
Then, I took them to Philippians 4:8 which says, Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
If we're focused on the good things, it's hard to keep track of the bad. However, if we're focused on the bad things in our lives, it's difficult to see the good. Not only do we lose track of how many sharp objects there were on the dice, but we lose sight of all the blessings that God has given us.
These days, it's VERY easy to focus on the negative. Pick up a newspaper. Turn of the television. Listen to the conversations taking place around you. War. Economic crisis. Job loss. Sickness. Disease. It's one bad thing after another, and frankly, it's easy to get pulled into the devil's trap of discouragement and depression. The really bad part is that while we're there, we forget all the good things in life. Salvation. Family. Friends. A loving church. Chocolate. Flowers. Chocolate. Sunshine. Chocolate. And, I could go on and on.
The problem is focusing on the negative in our lives instead of the positive. So, what's the solution? I'm glad you asked. Look at what I Thessalonians 5:18 has to say. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
I have heard this verse misread and misquoted so many times. It does not say "For every thing give thanks." It says, "In every thing give thanks." What's the difference? Well, my husband lost his job. Am I supposed to be thankful for that? No, that's silly! But, because my husband lost his job, we have had a lot of time to spend together lately. In fact, I got to spend my entire birthday with my husband and my two dogs. We went to the lake and spent the day together as a family. That would not have been possible if my husband had not been laid off.
Do you see the difference? In each circumstance that life throws at you, find something to be thankful for. Your thankfulness will get your focus off of the negative and back on the positive where it belongs.
Now, how many times did I use the word "positive" in this post? What do you mean you don't know? You're supposed to be focusing on it!
For any of you who are interested, here is a link to the game "Visual Eyes" that I mentioned in this post. It is a very fun, clean, family game. The object of the game is to put two pictures together to make compound words or common phrases. (EX: House Coat, Fish Bowl, Stick in the Mud)