News from the Tennessee Valley Religion

Rev. Terry L. Greer

Look up when you get down

William James, the noted philosopher-psychologist, once suggested, "The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind."

I have discovered across the years the marvelous gift that comes from altering my current thought process or mental state with a spiritual outlook. It is gratifying to move our thought processes from areas of self-limitation to those of self-improvement, going from deterioration to growth, from failure to accomplishment. As a pastor, I sometimes find that many "little things" get people down. Usually, these are not big issues or great tragedies but rather the smaller, bothersome frustrations and irritations of everyday life.

Many common frustrations take on quite uncommon forms and expressions. I do believe that more than 90 percent of the things we worry and fret about never actually happen.

Yet, I realize that life on this Earth can have a powerful crushing quality. Circumstances relating to health, job, money, hostility, misunderstanding, relationships and numerous other adversaries of well-being are making it difficult, if not downright painful, for multitudes of people every day.

It is little wonder the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud is reported to have said, "The chief duty of a human being is to endure life." And life can indeed be tough, very tough. There are certain inevitable life-situations with which one must live. Learning to live with some painful disability, because no cure or remedy has been found, is in itself an achievement.

With due respect to those things that must be endured, which often make the difficulties of human existence pretty grim, there can be an attitude that is upbeat. This is the determined attitude that I will "master" this situation. Basically, nothing can get you down if you use that quality deep within your human nature that resists defeat.

Faith is the most powerful of all forces operating in humanity, and when you have it in depth, nothing can get you down. Remember, Holy Scripture encourages us with the words "Nothing is impossible with God."

When you are hampered by negative thoughts, when thoughts of inferiority crowd your mind and heart, rely on your faith in God through Jesus Christ. Pack and fill your heart with the love of the one who said, "Come to me, all you who have burdens. Take my yoke (my burden) upon you and learn of me, and you shall find rest for your souls."

These are the words of Jesus, who truly knew what a burden was. When life is tough, start looking up. Shore yourself against the little irritations and frustrations of everyday living. Remember and never doubt that with God's help you can do incredible things. Put your problems into God's hands and leave them there. He will take care of you and bring things out right.

The Rev. Terry L. Greer, pastor of Decatur First United Methodist Church, is a guest religion columnist for The Decatur Daily. For more information, call Melanie Smith at 340-2468.

Rev. Terry L. Greer Rev. Terry L. Greer

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