Focus on what you have to gain, not on what you have to give up.

I took this photo in January, and I've been meaning to post it, thinking I’d be on to a new quote by March. But life hasn't been the fantastic, fresh start to the new decade I was hoping for (even before this pandemic hit). Weeks of illness flares and exhaustion didn’t allow me to get to writing it or, honestly, moving past the need for this reminder. It's interesting, though, how this quote seems more relevant than ever. 

When I chose it, I felt like it spoke to the idea of how we focus on what we're giving up when we try for those New Year's resolutions versus on how much we'll gain from sticking with them. And for me, personally, it was a reminder to stay encouraged when I felt that twinge of sadness about what I have to give up daily for the sake of my chronic illness & healing journey (because, lately, I've been forced to be give up more than I ever imagined—I thought I was already at my limit of change and loss). I HAD to find a way to keep shifting my focus purposely—from the loss of old things that seemed good (but were not helping me heal) toward things I would be gaining because, and ONLY because, of those losses. 

Living in the midst of society's messaging of "we can have it all," we often lose sight of the fact that sacrifice is most often, if not always, the price of gain. We see evidence of this throughout the stories of history—the winning of World Wars, triumph of Olympic athletes, voyaging to a new land, the union of marriage, raising of children, and, most importantly, the ultimate sacrifice and triumph of Christ on Good Friday & Easter. 

So today, I want to encourage you to focus on what you’re gaining, even in the hardest circumstances: when the state of your health requires you to give up so much, when you feel like you can't keep going and want to turn around and give up, when life feels like it's asking so much of you. Find the courage to direct your eyes toward the outcome. How is what you're giving up today, giving you something you could have never had before? We can find true joy and rest by fixing our gaze on the gain and by finding comfort in the One who’s been there and will always be (Psalm 46:1).

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