By Kevin Howell
Life is good. Not perfect, but good. Those are the thoughts I tweeted from my phone as I sat on the beach reflecting on another disappointment in life. The day prior, I was pretty low, as my hopes were dashed. It’s been a recurring theme this first half of the year. As opportunities both personally and professionally seemingly open up and I start to step into them, the door is shut in my face. But none of those letdowns has been devastating. Yes, I had hope and expectation of things working in my favor, but I didn’t align my self-worth with the outcome of those opportunities. Just because the relationship didn’t work out and I didn’t get the new job or the promotion doesn’t mean I wasn’t worthy of it… it doesn’t mean I wasn’t qualified for it… it doesn’t mean I wasn’t good enough… and it doesn’t mean it wasn’t “God’s will.” It just didn’t happen. And that’s fine. It’s a setback. It may have been a failure, but I’m not a failure.
It’s imperative that we distinguish what we do and what happens to us in life from who we are. At its core, that’s what the gospel of Jesus is about: We are righteous, forgiven, and extravagantly loved by God not because of what we do, or how we live, but because who we are — children of God. I love the first chapter of Ephesians because the Apostle Paul drives home this theme by saying that we are loved and redeemed because we’re in Christ. In fact, he uses that phrase eight times in that chapter.
The right perspective helps during times of disappointment, and perspective comes from within. It’s understanding the truth that God loves me trumps anything that can ever happen, positive or negative, in my life. No variable can change that. Whether I’m successful or not in any endeavor doesn’t take away from or add to that love. My value doesn’t rise or fall on the outcomes of my actions. It took me some time to get to this point, to embrace love like this. But once I did, I never felt more secure.
Life happens. Circumstances change. Good and bad come upon us, and it rains and shines on everyone. There is conflict and ups and downs. The one constant we can count on is who we are in God’s eyes. Knowing that helps you appreciate the blessings you have. You smile because you have health, friends, and family. You can smell flowers, hear birds, see the sun, feel the rain. You can drink life in, taste it, feel it, and live it — the good and the bad. You can still love, and know you’re loved. That’s why life is good.