Are We Thriving or Just Coping?

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Are We Thriving or Just Coping?

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Without hesitation, the woman next to me replied, “That’s easy. I’d take the money. Who would want to live forever?”

Amazingly, the entire group nodded in agreement.

Why has life become such a drudgery to so many of us? When did we begin thinking we could exist without really living? Can we learn how to thrive, rather than being content merely to cope with our daily lives?

Many of us adult women entered the workplace out of economic necessity. The continued press of financial needs, emotional problems of the family and stress of society exact a heavy toll on our sense of well-being.

We begin each day with a huge list of seemingly overwhelming tasks and end each day frustrated over the matters left unresolved. All too often our lives seem to be an endless trudge down a path surrounded by unfulfilled and unattainable desires.

Yet there are ways to break the daily cycle of drudgery and learn to actually enjoy life without changing the circumstances that surround us. Here are some simple methods that can help you thrive again, rather than just cope!

Go on a treasure hunt

My son had worked and saved his money to buy a pair of sunglasses. He had never really shown an interest in sunglasses, but suddenly there was something enticing about a pair he had seen at the local corner drugstore.

The glasses were really nothing special, but he valued his prize. To him, they were a treasure. It didn’t matter that they cost only $10. In his mind they were worth a great fortune.

All too often we have lost the ability to treasure simple joys. Even a hot cup of coffee on a cold winter morning is a luxury we sometimes take for granted.

I recall an instance when life had been extremely busy and hectic, and I was frustrated and exhausted. I looked up at my youngest child, then an infant, and was greeted by the most adoring smile I had ever seen. Suddenly it struck me that there is no amount of money, no career title and no worldly treasure that can compare to the feeling of being totally and unquestionably loved and adored by this baby. I realized that I had forgotten how to appreciate the simple thrill of a baby’s smile.

Appreciate accomplishments

Whenever my mother used to tell me that any job worth doing is worth doing well, I knew that I’d soon be doing a job that I didn’t want to do at all. Most of our days are filled with tasks and assignments we really do not enjoy. Let’s face it: life can be a drag.

But, when we take the time to step back and appreciate what we have done well, we are giving ourselves well-earned rewards. Sometimes no one else notices we accomplish a task well, but we know when we have done a good job.

I know a bright, intelligent college student who is working at a large toy store stocking shelves to pay college expenses. Although she is capable of much more, this is the only job she’s been able to find. She once told me, “When I step back and look down the aisles at the end of the day, I can tell where I have been working. All the skates, trucks and cars point the same way. All the games are lined up evenly and all the shelves are neat and tidy.”

She has learned to find the joy of a job well done. She is following the principle found in Ecclesiastes 9:10 Ecclesiastes 9:10Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, where you go.
American King James Version×
: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might.” A neatly typed letter, a beautifully decorated cake, a spotless house-most people may not notice the job unless it is not done. But the joy that comes from knowing that you did a good job is a small victory in an otherwise mundane chore.

We forget to laugh

My family decided that, at the age of 43, it was time I learned to water-ski. After many unsuccessful attempts, I was becoming frustrated. But then I visualized myself as seen through the eyes of those in the boat. When I realized how funny I must look, I couldn’t help laughing out loud.

Did you ever notice that children can have fun doing the most ordinary things? Laughter comes easily to children, but sometimes we take ourselves and our lives so seriously that we forget to laugh, especially at ourselves.

Taking ourselves too seriously is a big mistake. Most of the irritating, annoying events that come our way daily are already forgotten by the next day. We waste a lot of time worrying about what might happen and what has already happened. We fail to find the humor and the joy in what is happening right now. Looking for the lighter side of life can help us cope with the mundane chores of life.

When I reentered the workplace a few years ago, my new job seemed difficult at first. There were so many personal responsibilities that I had to leave undone, and other things were simply not done as well as I would have liked.

I had to get up early in the morning and dress in the dark so that I didn’t disturb anyone else. The results were not always the professional look that I desired. More than once, I glanced in the rest-room mirror at work and discovered that I had two mismatched earrings on! Funny, nobody at work ever mentioned it. Still, it would annoy me that, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to get all the pieces of the daily puzzle to fit.

It has been a long time now since I’ve worn mismatched earrings, but the pieces of life’s puzzle still don’t always fit where they should. Sometimes it just takes a moment to step back and look at the entire puzzle and stop concentrating so much on each little piece.

Greater goal and purpose

None of the points listed above will help much if one important point is missing. There must be a greater goal and purpose for life for each of us. Every event that occurs, every action and reaction we take, is part of the learning process. Revelation 21:1-3 Revelation 21:1-3 [1] And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. [2] And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. [3] And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
American King James Version×
tells of the time when a new kingdom will come to earth. Verse 4 tells us that “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.”

The world as we know it now, with its trials, sadness and sorrow, will pass away. What remains will be beautiful and perfect. The lessons of life we learn now help determine how we will fit into this new world. Each daily activity we undertake shapes and molds us in preparation for our part in this awesome future of all mankind.

Our education can be a much more enjoyable experience if we keep our eyes fixed on the ultimate purpose of human existence.

So don’t be content with merely coping. Learn how to thrive in life. 

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