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Tips on improving your vision! By K. Choate

Updated: Dec 15, 2019

A new year is here, along with all the goal deadlines we had set for a better world. Humanity set some pretty impressive goals for 2020, including achieving world peace (Rotary Intl.) and ridding the world of preventable blindness (WHO's Vision 2020) and preventable diseases (CDC's HP 2020). Unfortunately, while we have made progress in these areas, people still fight each other, they still have ailments, and (to the disappointment of time-traveling Delorean fans everywhere) where we're going, we do still need roads.      On a much smaller scale, the top New Year's resolutions individuals set every year are to lose weight and get into shape. Ultimately, people want to be happy, and every single goal we have set, either as organizations or as individuals, is aiming for that achievement in some form.      There is nothing wrong with happiness; however, like any other emotion, it is often based on circumstances and cannot be maintained indefinitely. Instead, I encourage you to set a goal this year to look for the opportunity of joy in every circumstance. True joy is not emotionally-dependent and can give you the strength to praise God in even the worst situations.      Here are seven different scenarios wherein you can respond with joy: *When something you have waited for finally comes to pass. This can be something minor or it can be something life altering. Perhaps you were waiting for five minutes or for fifty years. Nothing is too big or too small to be worthy of praise to God. Allow joyfulness to determine your attitude. In Matthew 2, the magi responded with "exceedingly great joy" at the sight of the star announcing the arrival of Jesus. They even disrupted their schedules so they could express their joy in person. *When a tragedy becomes a miracle. It can be difficult to look past the shock and horror of a tragic event, and seeking joy on the other side of tragedy does not mean suppressing your grief. There is, after all, a time for everything. Trust God to make beauty from ashes in His own time. In Matthew 28, the disciples ran from the empty tomb with great joy. Jesus had been tortured and executed just a few days prior. All of those horrible things had still happened, but when God touches a situation, the outcome changes, and the pain that lead you there lessens. Take comfort and try to find joy in that outcome. *When good news comes. Good news is a gift that naturally brings about rejoicing! John wrote, "It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth" (1 John 1:3-4). When the angel proclaimed Christ's birth to the shepherds, the message was "I bring you good news of great joy" (Luke 2:10). Do not allow the "what if's" to rob you of that joy. Instead, praise God, Who is - quite literally - the Author of Good News. *When a single life is saved. The fifteenth chapter of Luke contains three parables with the same message - rejoice with me, for what was lost has been found. Many families are awaiting the return of their own prodigals, and others are praying for family and friends who have yet to commit their lives to Christ. Praise God and rejoice with all of Heaven when that decision is made. *When you find yourself being tested. The Apostle James in his epistle challenged Gaius to "count it all joy" when your faith is tested, because these difficulties help to produce patience. Take a deep breath, ask God for wisdom, and follow His leading. After all, you must be doing something right if the enemy is trying to stop you! *When everything that can go wrong does go wrong. We have all had those days when it felt like everything fell apart and it could not possibly get any worse. The Bible tells of a man named Job who, very suddenly, lost all of his children and his wealth. It is not written how much time passed, but later, again without any warning, he lost his health and the support of his wife and friends. Only at the end of the story do we see a reason to rejoice. "The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part" and gave him twice as much as he had before. He saw four generations of his children and passed away at an old age. His life has been an inspiration and encouragement to countless people, and that is a reason to rejoice. *When all is well. It is so easy to seek God when life is difficult, then take God's blessings for granted when life is going as planned. Both are times to appreciate what He has done. The nation of Israel set up stones of remembrance so they would never forget God's provision in bringing them safely across the Jordan River. Find purposeful ways to remind yourself what God has done in your life, and do not get distracted by your schedule. Keep growing in your relationship with Him, and He will fill you with joy! This is far from an exhaustive list; perhaps by now you have thought of more. Make a conscious choice this year to look for opportunities for joy in everyday experiences. This change in perspective could help you see 2020 with a whole new set of eyes. I guarantee you will like the view...

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