I don’t vacuum as often as I should. I have confessed this before. It’s for a good reason, though: the cats don’t like it. We have two cats and both would prefer I never roll the vacuum out of the laundry room. Their reactions are way different though.
Kanklefritz, the more mature, normally wiser, grey cat, runs and hides as soon as he hears the rolling of the sweeper’s wheels. His most recent place of refuge is behind the couch. He will stay put until we come to tell him that we are finished, and it’s okay to come back out. The only time he will come out on his own is if we are vacuuming in his direction. At that point, he darts out, head down, eyes straight ahead and running at full speed to the other end of the house.
Oreo doesn’t do that. Our quirky black and white soft cat will look at it curiously, and he will come over and sniff it, examine all angles and maybe even climb on top of it. He seems a little nervous but wants to see what he is dealing with. I wish I was more like Oreo.
This past week, Pastor Marc was talking about having faith even when we are crushed. Discussing it later that evening, someone asked what we have learned from some hard things we might be going through.
I was coming up with nothing. I realized that when I go through a problem, in true Kanklefritz-style, I focus on getting through the situation and miss the opportunities to learn from it. I need to be more like Oreo, paying attention to what’s going on. Being intentional about it can make all the difference.
The more we talked, Sunday evening, I jotted down a list of ways to pay more attention during the hard times:
1. Run to God first. It’s easy to feel like our first action should be to call a friend or talk to our spouse, and those are both good, but first talk it out with God. Something about that can set our hearts in the right place.
2. Pray often. Keep it up, every day. Talk to Him. It might feel natural to skip when we have a lot on our minds, but it’s important to be consistent.
3. Talk to people who love Jesus and have also been through difficult stuff. When you see how God has brought other people through hard times, it builds a strong base for the growth of our faith.
4. Remind yourself of all the good stuff God has done for you. Make a list. Remember his faithfulness.
5. Journal – this will help you remember the times you are seeing God in all of it, and the things you are learning from it. It doesn’t have to be fancy; use the back of a receipt or your phone’s notes section but write it down. And when you need a reminder, re-read the things you have written.
6. Gratitude – make a list of things you are thankful for this very day. This can be a game-changer.
When we are able to focus on God during the hard times, we won’t miss out on the wisdom He has to offer us. I am trying to change my thinking, paying attention, and putting some of these ideas into practice. I have a lot of learning to do.