Sometimes, it’s hard to tell if a circumstance is a blessing or a curse.
You’d think it would be easy to know if something was good or bad, wouldn’t you?
But you might not be correct.
I used to complain to anyone who would listen about how much work it was taking care of my parent’s yard. The huge corner lot involved endless mowing of the lawn in summer and raking of leaves in fall. Not to mention shovelling all the snow off the driveway and extra-long sidewalk in winter.
I’d gripe that caring for their yard would be the death of me.
Then one day I happened to look at my biceps.
Not bad at all. Sort of impressive, really, for a woman my age. I don’t go to the gym, so what was keeping me toned and fit?
Taking care of the dang yard, that’s what.
What I had cursed as a burden was actually the very thing that was keeping my muscles and bones strong. I repented for my grumbling and ingratitude as I realized that the big yard had been a blessing in disguise.
Sometimes God uses what appears to be something negative to bring about something positive. We shouldn’t be too hasty to assume that we know whether something is good or bad.
Among the most spectacular aspects of nature for me are its colours.
I’m continually wowed by the vivid colours found in nature, such as the brilliant red plumage of the Northern cardinal.
The cardinal’s red feathers, which come courtesy of pigments, look the same when viewed from any angle. But there’s another source of colour in nature that is even more mesmerizing:
With iridescence, the hue of something changes when seen from different angles. You’ve probably experienced this shimmery optical phenomenon yourself when looking at certain insects, butterflies, birds, or even soap bubbles.
A good example of iridescence is the head of the mallard, a common duck found in the northern hemisphere. Its head appears to be a bright emerald green at first, but if you shift your angle of observation, it can appear green-gold, blue, or indigo.
It all depends on your perspective.
Maybe there’s a little lesson here for us.
If we shift our perspective about our own situations, we can see beauty that we didn’t know was there.
If you live in a warm climate, there are a few things you’re missing out on.
One of them is the ability to see your own breath.
(You’re also missing out on high heating bills in winter, backaches from shovelling snow, and frostbitten fingers, but I think you can do without those things!)
Why can we sometimes see our breath in cold climates?
With the combination of cold outdoor temperatures and the right humidity, your breath condenses as it is exhaled. It then appears as a misty cloud being emitted from your mouth.
It got me thinking: wouldn’t it be helpful if we could see our own words, too, and not just our breath?
By that I mean, if only we could see in physical form how our words affect others, we’d think twice about what we say.
If words came out of our mouth visibly shaped like the weapons they often are, we’d probably be horrified. If we saw what appeared to be daggers or fists hurtling toward the other person, we’d want to take back what we’d just said.
It can be hard to remove labels once they’re affixed, can’t it?
They can be so darn sticky.
You can try to peel off the paper part of the label, but the adhesive often stubbornly remains behind on the object. It can take some strong chemicals or a lot of scrubbing to remove every last trace of a label or sticker.
But what about the labels that people affix on us, whether we want them to or not?
Labels like “loser,” “clumsy,” “screw-up,” “stupid,” “misfit,” or “failure.”
They can be the stickiest, and the hardest to remove.
Once people classify us in a certain way, it can be awfully hard to shake that identity. We eventually internalize the labels that people put on us, and believe that they must be true.
Especially when they’re negative.
But did you know that God has put “labels” on believers?
And they’re all good!