A country song tells the story of a young man asking his grandfather about some old photographs. The grandfather explains to his grandson the stories of the photographs; surviving the Great Depression, going to war and finally marrying the woman he loved. A line from the song goes, “A picture’s worth a thousand words, but you can’t see what those shades of gray keep covered, you should have seen it in color.”
Are you familiar with those old black and white photos—the somber looking expressions on the faces of those nameless souls of history, each one living out their own story? And, because of the lack of color, we don’t truly understand what life was like for these individuals. The shades of gray covered the colors that would have helped us appreciate their struggles and share in their joys.
So often we women can look at our lives in shades of gray, without color. Life’s cares, from finances to family and more, can weigh us down. Sometimes as women, it’s easy to fall into a trap of comparing ourselves to others—and coming up short. As a result, we come to a point where there is really no joy or fulfillment in our life. The bright sunshine has been covered by those dark, gray clouds. But are dissatisfaction and discontentment all we are meant to get out of life?
Jesus Christ makes a very real promise: “I came that they might have life and might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). But, what exactly does it mean? According to Merriam-Webster.com, abundant means: “marked by great plenty, amply supplied, occurring in abundance.” Our lives are to be amply supplied with good things—we are to be happy and to have the fullest lives possible!
Is this even possible? And if so, how?
Well, for starters, we have to get rid of worry! “For this reason, I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on… for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things” (Matthew 6:25, 32). Once we realize that God will meet our basic needs and provide good things for us, then it will seem like a great weight has been lifted from our shoulders. Our minds won’t focus on the worries, doubts and fears that had previously consumed so much thought and time. This allows us to look around and to begin seeing some “color” in our lives. The breathtaking sunset, the way the wind blows through the treetops, the way a bird soars in the air.
Once worry is gone, we can see clearly what is right before us. That’s when we start appreciating what we have. In fact, being thankful is a command; “…in everything, give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Sometimes being thankful means taking time to meditate on what we have, not on what we don’t—even if our circumstances are relatively meager. Most of the world lives in fear of their lives or their family’s.
Now the gray clouds are breaking up. The sun is casting light back into our world. The sky is a vivid blue, the trees and grass lush and green. Even so, still a little gray exists. Those clouds aren’t fully gone yet. There is one more thing to do.
“I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service” (Romans 12:1, NASB). Our gratitude plants a seed of service. We want to serve God and humankind with our fullest capacity. Serving others is so important; it was the very reason Jesus Christ came to this earth. True outgoing service sets the example of a truly abundant life. Selfless service erases the gray from our lives, and allows the colors to be more vibrant. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
Let’s see our lives in color!