It could be worse

It just doesn't get any better than Pensacola Beach, Florida. :)

It just doesn’t get any better than Pensacola Beach, Florida. 🙂

Granted, I was complaining. To my credit the woe-is-me talk was harmless, sarcastic humor—pretty funny stuff too, I might add—but regardless, there was belly aching. And on this particular day, in this particular place, my grumbling didn’t sit well with someone nearby. She glared at me and exclaimed, “It could be worse!”

She was right.

Ever since, I’ve been borderline obsessing over those four words. Was she scolding me? After all, blessings do indeed abound, and I should be more grateful. Was she helping me look at the bright side? If so, it’s uncomfortable to feel relief when someone else suffers more. Regardless of her intention, the sentiment was accurate: It could be worse. So what am I supposed to do with that?

First and foremost, this revelation: I could be afraid of what happens when this life runs out. But I’m not. I could lie awake wondering what my purpose is, why I was born at all. But I don’t. I could run myself ragged trying to be good enough for God to notice me, to love me, to save me from myself. But I don’t have to.

Thanks to Jesus, it couldn’t be better. And I am eternally grateful.

So why think twice about one comment? I’m honestly not sure. Can’t help believing, though, that it’s making me grow. Since the “could be worse” encounter, I’ve been praying about the real Ava—who she is on the inside, whose hope she shows to others. Here’s what God’s been teaching me:

  • Struggles are temporary. And to rise above the earthly bad, I must consciously focus on the heavenly good (Philippians 4:8).
  • Emotions can blind me with grief, regret, insecurity, and self-pity. I need at least one safe person—a wise, Jesus follower who knows my heart—who’ll let me vent but won’t let me stay there. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)
  • I shouldn’t complain to anyone and everyone within earshot. I may be misunderstood. (Philippians 2:14)

More than anything, I’m learning that—like it or not—my outside should match my inside. I’m praying for infectious joy, that a smile is found on my face. That the smile is 100% real. And that all my words please Him.

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