Monday, April 3, 2017

Better

I had a simple realization the other day while listening to the sermon at church.  The topic was about waiting and it hit home, since I feel like most of my life has been stuck in the transition zone instead of the present.  I keep waiting to hear about work coming in.  I keep waiting to hear from applications I've sent in.  I keep waiting for a man to see my worth and stick around during the hard times.

I keep waiting on change, but not just any old change, change that will make my life better.

In the sermon, he talked about waiting patiently, praying earnestly, while eagerly waiting with hope.  And then he said, "you have to transform your bitter to better", and carried on with his sermon.

That was the sentence I heard echoing over and over in your head.  He didn't explain how to move from bitter to better but that was alright, because for the first time in my life, I saw the difference between the two words beyond the one letter difference.

I thought back to the book of Ruth, a book we'd studied a few weeks earlier, and how Naomi changed her name to Mara because it meant bitter. (Ruth 1:20-21)  And Naomi/Mara wore her bitterness well, letting everyone know she was a widow, her sons had died, and God had taken everything away from her.  During a hard time, she chose to be bitter.  Not better.

And then I thought about some of my past struggles and how my first reaction was to turn bitter and blame others for my misfortune, compared to now, where I see my current situation clearly and understand the struggle, but my attitude isn't bitter.  It's optimistic.  I'm faithful and in constant prayer. I'm not consumed with fear because I trust God is guiding me.  After all, everyone in the Bible, and anyone called by God, has gone through a few "bad spells" where nothing seems to go right, but in the end, they see God's providence leading them to exactly where He wanted them.  After all, we can lose a lot of things in life, from careers, to houses, we can even lose our faith, but the one thing we never lose is our purpose in life, or the destiny God has designed for us.

Back to my thoughts and how I started thinking about the story of Ruth.  After I realized how bitter Naomi/Mara was, I realized how much better Ruth was.  She too, was a widow, and now moving to a foreign land with her mother-in-law, working long hours in the fields for food, and despite her circumstance, she had the heart of a servant.  She was better.  Not bitter.

Then, I noticed the true difference between the words.

B{I}TTER.... I.  Woe is me!  Bitterness is created when the whole world revolves around us and what we are lacking.  Bitter people complain.  Bitter people aren't grateful.  Bitter people are self-consumed.  If they aren't happy, no one around them should be happy.  It's negativity full speed ahead.

B{E}TTER....E.  Everyone.  Others.  Everyone is included.  Have you ever noticed the people who are happy in life are the ones helping others?  And, it's not out of obligation, but it's because they genuinely want to make the world a better place.  They have learned to look outside their own personal life to see a bigger picture.  Most people feed off of their energy, while bitter people try to destroy it because after all, it makes them look bad!

It is still my natural tendency to be bitter because pointing fingers, living in fear, and complaining, is really EASY!  Each day I try to do and be better.  It is a process but I am making progress.  Even if I don't always go out of my way and have the heart of a servant, I am much more aware of my missed opportunities to make the world a better place.

Today, and every day, I choose to see love instead of fear.

I choose to be better instead of bitter.




1 comment:

  1. Love this!

    I want to say that in our church we talk a lot about the "natural man." There's a verse in the Book of Mormon that says "the natural man is an enemy to God." There's more to it, but essentially, it's okay that you have certain natural tendencies. But, in becoming better, it's important to put off the natural man.

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