Are you living in the midst of the unexpected? If you are not in the middle of the unanticipated, I can guarantee you it is on its way. No matter how much we plan and prepare the truth is life is unpredictable. The bigger question is will you have what it takes to embrace the unexpected?
Maybe you are already in the middle of the unforeseen and feeling overwhelmed with life circumstances you never intended. So whether you are in it, just out of it, or headed towards the unpredictable, you need to develop and nurture a few things to carry you through.
How a simple gift reminded me of what I needed to embrace the unexpected.
I opened up my mail to find a special gift from someone that was dear to my heart. It was a simple gift that reminded me of my faith and my sweet friend Sara. At the time I had no idea the significance it would hold in the years to come.
Sara’s gift was a small silver cross to attach to my key ring. Little did I know that later in life this cross would represent so much more than a reminder of my faith.
You see my beautiful friend that gave this to me was in her last few months of living. It was the last gift she ever gave me.
Have you ever noticed when walking through difficult circumstances we can’t quite see the lesson we are to learn?
At the time I had no idea that her journey would begin to cultivate and teach me the most important things I would need to embrace in my life in the midst of the unexpected. This cross would later serve as a reminder of the things I needed to embrace in my own unanticipated life.
Today as I hold this cross in my hands it reminds me of what I need to live the life God intended in the midst of the unpredictable.
What we need to Embrace the Unexpected
1. Faith – Faith is so important, but we can’t just rely on what we have, we need to be developing it steadily. We need to fill our minds with Gods word and spend time with him.
Each time I look at the cross I am reminded of a faith that is strong and built on a good foundation.
2. God’s Peace – We need to tap into God’s peace. It is attainable in the midst of the worst circumstances. It really can transcend all understanding.
The cross reminds me of the times I saw Sara with that kind of peace and knew it came from God.
3. Hope in Jesus – We must anchor our hope to God. He is BIG and capable of anything. Our hope must center on Jesus no matter what the outcome.
With Sara we clung to the hope of Jesus and that if it were his plan, he would heal her.
4. Trust in God – We need to put our trust entirely in God and let go. Sometimes this means moving over so God can work. We need to believe he has us right where he wants us and that all things happen for a reason.
5. Courage – We need to be courageous in all circumstances. Jesus was courageous on the cross.
One of Sara’s last requests was to have me speak or read some scripture at her services. At the time I was not a public speaker nor did I have any desire to become one. It petrified me.
But how do you say no to someone that exhibited such courage in her fight against cancer? So I tightly grasped the cross in my hands and said yes.
After all, if Jesus could endure the cross and Sara could courageously fight cancer surely, I could stand up and say a few words.
Of course, my voice quivered, my knees knocked, and maybe no-one even heard what I said, but this was the beginning of learning to be courageous and speak out.
6. Community – We all need a team to fight life with us. We were not meant to do life alone. God must be the center of this team.
In the times when I was physically alone in unwanted situations, I would squeeze the cross and remind myself I was not alone. God is always with me. I would then think of Sara and what a privilege it was to be on her team.
7. An Attitude of Gratitude – Be a seeker of the things you have to be thankful for.
Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude and count those blessings.
The cross reminds me it starts with being grateful for my relationship with Jesus.
8. Be in the Present Moment – Jesus is the best example of knowing how to live in the moment. When we train ourselves to live in the present, our suffering goes down. It is a heck of a lot easier to endure a moment of pain instead of all of the past and future misery.
Sara became excellent at displaying this quality. She would rise from feeling ill and embrace the moments she had, leaving behind any worries she had.
9. Acceptance – We must learn to accept people and our circumstances. Fighting reality is only going to add to your misery.
The cross reminds me of how Jesus accepts us right where we are.
10. Grieve Your Losses – All pain is significant and should not be compared. We must learn to recognize our losses and mourn them.
The cross reminds me of Jesus and how he wept even when he knew that Lazarus would be raised from the dead.
11. Self Care – We must take good care of ourselves. God loves us and wants that for each of us. We will not be good for anyone else if we let ourselves get depleted.
Jesus took time away.
12. Seek Joy – Allow yourself to be joyful. Joy can be found in the midst of horrible, terrible circumstances and we need to allow ourselves to find it.
My friend Sara found joy in the moments of life, and it was contagious.
So when the unexpected life reached our family, I was ready with a faith that was strong. Little did I know I had been on holy training ground learning from a remarkable friend. I then knew what a privilege it had been to be allowed to walk alongside my sweet friend.
And when life gets hard because it does, believe me, I grab that cross and cling to it with all my might knowing it points me to exactly what I need to embrace the unexpected.
I would love to hear what you cling to when embracing the unexpected?
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