– Nicole Victory
Summer in Halifax is particularly lovely. Under normal circumstances, people gather from all over, cruise ships venture in, and crowds consume our harbour-front. The downtown pier has a certain feel, full of music, laughter, families, sunshine, and so much food—my favourite of all being ice cream from PEI. Community is everywhere and it’s truly a beautiful thing.
This particular day was extremely perfect by any human standard. I went for a chocolate variety of my favourite treat, in a locally made waffle cone, and began to walk down the boardwalk. Looking out onto the beautiful blue bay, I noticed something I hadn’t before: a rock in my shoe.
At first it seemed very small and insignificant. But as I continued, this rock began to rub me the wrong way. It began to erode the happiness I had initially felt. I no longer noticed the sunshine or joy around me. I no longer valued the deep sense of community. And my all-time favourite treat melted away while my irritation grew, and I let this small simple rock steal my good moment.
Isn’t that so much like our lives? Small or sometimes big things come into focus and we forget to notice how much goodness we have around us. Our attention gets fixated on the issue and our tunnel vision sets in.
We become what we focus on.
Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Peace grows within a thankful heart. Peace grows when we give our irritations, fears, and unknowns to our Creator.
Is life easy? No. Is life incredibly unpredictable and unkind at times? Absolutely. But my friends, I can guarantee you that there is goodness around you if you look hard enough.
In my office I have a piece of paper on my wall that says, “You are surrounded by goodness” and reminds me to ask myself, “What are you grateful for today?” It anchors my soul especially when storms rage on. How we focus on the goodness matters. We are not alone in this adventure called life. We are hidden in Jesus, and through it all, let’s keep our eyes on His goodness.
As for the rock that ruined my day, I had the power at any point to stop and clear it out of my shoe. I chose to let it wear away at the things that bring me joy. We have the power to change our attention, and sometimes we also have the ability to clear things out of our lives to make sure our focus is where it should be.
This process can be scarier than staying with our familiar discomforts. But there is such good news in our gospel. We have a God who thrives in our weakness when we step back to give Him room. When we are weak, He is strong! He is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11-18) and is always ready to guide us through it all.
I’ve decided the only kind of rocky road I want to entertain in my life is the ice cream flavour.