Chapter 4 -- The Art of Reframing
Some thoughts . . .
"Opportunities often look like insurmountable obstacles. . . . to take advantage of these opportunities, we have to learn to see problems in a new way -- God's way. Then our biggest problems may just start looking like our greatest opportunities." (pg. 61)
The author suggests we need to "rethink prayer" by reminding us that often our prayers are aimed at problem reduction. (Yeah!) He writes, "Many of our prayers are misguided. We pray for comfort instead of character. We pray for an easy way out instead of the strength to make it through. We pray for no pain, when the results would be no gain. We pray that God will keep us out of pits and away from lions. But if God answered our prayer, it would rob us of our greatest opportunities. . . .Maybe we should stop asking God to get us out of difficult circumstances and start asking Him what He wants us to get out of those difficult circumstances." (pg. 64)
Is the problem our circumstances or our perspective of them? God sees the big picture clearly while we see as one "looking through a peephole. So why do we assume that what we pray for is always what's best for us? If we could see what God sees, we would pray very different prayers." (pg. 65)
When we focus on our problems, we tend to get down and frustrated. At those times the author suggested we "zoom out" through worship. "Don't let what's wrong with you keep you from worshiping what is right with God. Reframing problems is about shifting focus. You stop focusing on what's wrong with your circumstances. And you start focusing on what's right with God." (pg. 67) Of course a great Biblical example is Paul and Silas who were praising God after being beaten and thrown into jail for preaching about Jesus.
"One of the purest forms of worship is praising God even when you don't feel like it, because it proves that your worship isn't circumstantial."
Every day we are free to choose our attitudes! "Basically [there] are two types of people in the world: complainers and worshipers. And there isn't much circumstantial difference between the two. Complainers will always find something to complain about. Worshipers will always find something to praise God about." (pg. 69)
I want to be in the worshiping group!
I loved this thought: "The circumstances you complain about become chains that imprison you. And worship is the way out. Worship reframes our problems and refocuses our lives. It helps us get through the bad days by reminding us of how good God is. And when you are worshipful, your eyes are more open to notice the miracles that are happening all around you all the time. One way or the other, your focus determines your reality. The outcome of your life will be determined by your outlook on life." (pg. 70)
The author concluded this chapter reminding us that adversity is often a blessing in disguise and how the people God often uses the most have been through a lot of hard times. God uses our pain in order that we can help others. And when we go through adversity, we can come out stronger in the end.
Not that I want a lot of adversity, but I do want to be used by God. Hmmm. Like we have a choice about how much adversity comes at us in life! I want to see things through God's perspective and worship Him instead of grumbling about my problems. The world needs fewer complainers so I might as well begin with me!
A psalm. For giving thanks.1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his ;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.