Gray skies … Dark days … Frigid temperatures … Barren trees.
Large numbers on the bathroom scale … low numbers in my checking account … an empty house … a lonely heart.
Such is the culture of January.
If I am not careful, I can be swallowed alive by the cold and gloom … by the emptiness … of January.
However, I have learned to be careful of all that belongs to the season known as “winter” … I have learned to be very careful, indeed.
I have grasped, over the years of my adult life, how to cope with the month of January. I have discovered a way to escape the wind and chill that is unique to winter and how to look beyond the desolation and then to set my gaze into the promise.
I have ascertained that my circumstances must not dictate my attitudes.
I have identified that the inevitability of the winter outside of me doesn’t have to freeze the heart that lies inside of me.
I have learned.
Winter is a certainty in life ~ as is the month of January.
However, depression … discouragement … the blahs … and emotional malaise are not required attitudes during this dark time of year.
While I have not been given the honor of always choosing sunny circumstances, I most certainly have been given to capacity to select my response to that which I dread.
“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest,
And cold and heat, and summer and winter,
And day and night shall not cease.” – Genesis 8:22
And so I choose joy. I choose hope. I choose courage. I choose Him.
I choose to serve others rather than to hibernate.
I choose to engage my mind in rich books rather than in mundane movies.
I choose to sing rather than to sob.
I choose to exercise rather than to eat.
I choose gratitude for the ordinary blessings in life.
I choose to pray about my future rather than to regret my past.
I choose to plan for a healthy and productive tomorrow rather than to be entranced by the glories of yesterday.
I can’t choose for you … only you can choose for you.
“People don’t notice whether it is winter or summer when they are happy.” – Anton Chekhov
You can choose the January within … or you can choose June to spring alive in the winter of your heart.
You can choose the mud and sludge of March … or you can choose the vibrant glory of August to breath fresh life into your soul.
You can choose hope or you can choose despair.
You can choose to worry or to worship.
You choose the manner in which you will spend the next few hours … the next few days … the next few weeks … of your life.
What will you choose?
You see, my friend, your winter will not change by chance … but it will be changed by the choices that you make even when the snow is piled high against your windows and when the storm is raging outside your front door.
If you choose not to discover joy during the winter seasons of life, you will endure unfriendly chill of winter … but you will also be ignoring the joy that could have been yours!
There are many days when I wish that I could simply snap my fingers and instantly be transported to July … but the power that I have been given by my Creator is vastly more impressive than mere transportation.
I have been bequeathed with the rare and beautiful gift of having the innate power to revolutionize the conditions of my life from the inside out.
My inner heart attitudes do not have to reflect my outer circumstances.
You don’t believe me?!! Well … would you believe it if it were in the Bible?!
“My sisters and brothers, count it all joy when you fall into various trials knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” – James 1:2-3
James, the brother of Jesus, was either clueless or he had the same grasp on life that I do!
James’ sage and eternal advice is this – when trials come your way, the healthiest response is to choose joy!
Or, how about leaning into the wisdom of Peter, the cornerstone of the early church, on the topic?
“In this you GREATLY rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” – I Peter 1:6 & 7
Peter’s life coaching serves to remind anyone who is dealing with rotten circumstances not to just give a little whistle … but to sing LOUDLY for the world to hear!
Don’t merely hum under your breath … but throw your shoulders back and sing with confidence even when your life is filled with pain!
I’ll do it … will you?
I won’t just endure the dank days that belong to winter … but I will embrace the joy that far exceeds my circumstances.
I will do it.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Carol McLeod Ministries
Featured Image by kristamonique from Pixabay
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