Wednesday, September 20, 2023

How Do You Frame Your Problem?


This morning, I sat down with little time for anything.  My body needed extra sleep, and even though I kept waking up at 3:30 AM, 4:00 AM, and more - I have learned through the years that sleep is something that our body needs for optimum health.

By the time I finally got out of bed at 5:30, I stumbled to the master bath sink to wash my face, then gathered the dog and cat bowls for refilling.  Walked to the kitchen to make coffee and then back to my desk to quickly read today's devotions.

I guess that was my first "mistake," as I read one of the first sentences of my first devotion:

Would you be more likely to play a game that had a 25% chance of winning or a 75% chance of losing? Statistically, more people will choose the 25% chance game even though both numbers communicate the SAME thing.

How you present, interpret and frame a problem has an immense impact on how you will approach it.

This train of thought was bouncing off the story of the prophet Elisha and his servant from 2 Kings 6:

When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked 
“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

Isn't it amazing the way the Lord wants us to look at our problems?  It's all in the way we frame them.

God knew I needed to hear this, and before I could rush anymore this morning, I was stopped in my tracks.

Let me provide a little background here.

I've been divorced ten years now.  God has been 100% faithful.  He has sustained and supported myself through the end of my children-at-home raising years and henceforth.  God faithfully provided a home for me and the boys, all our food, and anything else the boys may have needed throughout their time at home with me.

I am still able to tithe, and even - just recently - I was able to give above my tithe to help support our church's building program.  I had to sacrifice something else I paid monthly for, but I was able to do it.

But now, it appears to me that I am in the, "75% chance of losing" outlook in my walk with Jesus.  Savings is down to the level my financial advisor set for me as a red flag of when to call him, and I have one credit card I cannot pay off (and that I depend on).

My job is GREAT - I love what I do, but it pays less than $50,000 a year and that is just not enough in today's world to make all the payments one needs to live on a basic level.  My travel business is going well (I love selling travel and helping people plan their dream vacations), but being a travel agent is not a steady paycheck.

So this week, as my bills come due and bank accounts dip lower, my sleep has been less and less constant.  My mind constantly wonders, wondering if I will have to go back to those early days of marriage and the financial struggles we had.

Faith is real and deep, but when real world struggles present themselves, it is hard to cling to hope and faith.

So fast forward back to sitting down this morning at my desk.  Little time to read and get ready for work.

When I read the devotional preface to Scripture, it struck me hard.  Stopped me in my tracks, and time no longer mattered.

How am I looking at my current financial problem?  Am I looking it as 75% losing or as 25% winning?

Obviously, with no sleep - I am looking at it as 75% losing.  God is silently and quietly reminding me there are chariots of fire surrounding me.  It is not time to give up yet.

I am claiming His promise this morning and shifting my perspective.

Anyone that knows me, knows I am a fighter and a survivor.  I will do what I need to in order to survive.  I will try new things (like my Amazon entrepreneurship venture), and I will keep learning (like finally applying for college and getting ready to set down that road one more time).

I am trying to keep my eye on God and my faith strong.  But, life can be difficult.  I know I am not alone, and so many others are struggling too...many worse off than me.

My story is deeper than what I have shared here today, but this morning, I am thankful for a God that tells me to slow down on a busy weekday and listen to Him.

I am listening Lord.  I hear you.  "75% chance of losing vs. 25% chance of winning."  I will choose the 25% chance of winning.  I will walk in faith.  I will win.  With Jesus in my corner, how can I lose?

So, that is my prayer for myself and for all of us this morning.  Let's choose the 25% chance of winning.  God is on our side.  Jesus is in our corner.

We can do this.  One tiny baby step at a time...



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