Summer is the season for hosting in the Pace household. We like to get people over to swim as much as possible. Sometimes we even spice it up with pool-side ping pong. (Meaning we bring the ping pong table from the garage to the backyard. Party animals, I know.)
Because backyard hosting happens often, we’ve developed a routine for set up and clean up. Typically it involves my daughters running around (trying to help) as I delegate and direct.
So after a recent pool party, my daughters were scattered about the backyard doing their duties while I put the ping pong table away. However, something went wrong. After the ping pong table was folded-up, one of the sides slammed to the ground. I’m not sure how it happened, but it was no gentle crash, and there are 2 major cracks in the table to prove it. After a quick second of disappointment (because I ruined our ping pong table), I was overcome with relief; I realized a child could’ve been hit (or smashed) by the table! In fact, it could have been a child’s head that cracked instead of the table. I couldn’t help but stop and thank God for protecting my children from being in the wrong place at a very wrong time.
It’s interesting to think about how my response would have differed had my kids not been in the picture. Say they were all in the house far from danger. I suspect I would’ve focused more on the ping pong table. I would’ve been bummed (at minimum) when I thought about the financial loss of ruining the table. I might have been tempted to have a pity party.
My point is, perspective changes everything.
When we focus on the “bright side” of a problem it dramatically alters our response. And when it comes to the various challenges of life, it’s no different. If we can find and focus on the bright side, we will process our trials with praise and gratitude, instead of with complaints and frustration.
Look on the Bright Side
We can find the “bright side” by focusing on God’s kindness that’s evident even amidst hard seasons (or hard moments). For starters, we will always have something good to focus on if we admit, like the Psalmist, that God’s love is better than life itself:
Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. Psalm 63:3
But beyond our relationship with God, and all the good that comes from it, are there other things that cultivate a healthy perspective? Does not God also sprinkle (or shower) our life with his kindness in many lesser ways? Surely you can point to God’s goodness all around you. And once you do, you have the perspective you need to focus on whatever brightness is peaking out of your current darkness.
My Recent Quest for the “Bright Side”
My daughter recently broke her arm. Not surprisingly, in the first hours of intense pain, she struggled to find any glimpse of optimism. So in typical motherly fashion, I listed all the things we could be thankful for, even as it relates to breaking her arm when she did. Deep down, I was really talking to myself.
I knew we both needed to look on the bright side. We needed to recognize how great it was that her daddy was in town and not traveling that week. In fact, we were at Summer camp where we already had a babysitter— so both me and my husband could be at the hospital with her. We could be thankful for how close the hospital was. We could be grateful for all the people back at camp praying for us. And of course, we needed to be thankful for modern medicine and skilled doctors!
I’m glad we stopped to get perspective, for that is far better than questioning God or dwelling on the inconveniences, the costs, or any other worldly perspective. Instead, we needed a big perspective…and isn’t that true for all of life’s trials?
Your Ping Pong Table
What are the broken ping pong tables you’re dealing with? Are there situations that bum you out? Are things not working out as you hoped? Maybe there are even parts of life that feel like they’re crashing to the ground.
Or maybe you have your own set of broken bones or health problems. Maybe you are just weary and burdened.
With whatever is weighing you down–is there a bright side worth reminding yourself of? Could a pinch of perspective help?
Things are going to go wrong. Ping pong tables will crack. Bones will get broken. And those are life’s minor problems. But a godly, thankful perspective works for the minor as well as the major trials of life.
Let’s always be ladies who look on the bright side.