I’ve said many times before, both in what I’ve written and spoken, that I grew up with the habit of seeing the cup half empty. I don’t know all the reasons for this. Some of it may be temperament. Some of it may be learned. It doesn’t matter much how it came to be. What matters is what I’d like to do about that in my life now as a follower of Jesus.
My pessimism has, at least at times, been rooted in remembering and rehearsing what I think went wrong in the past. I look back and see what could have been better. I ruminate on what I did wrong or what others did wrong. Instead of the rose-colored glasses of the optimist, mine have often been dull gray.
But, I’ve learned from Jesus along the way that I have a choice about how I remember the past. When I think about situations that didn’t go the way I wanted, or ways I spoke or behaved that I wish I could change, I’m learning that God’s gracious presence was there in that very same moment.
I’ve learned to rehearse grace rather than rehearsing trouble, or conflicts, or the other negative things that are scattered along the way on the journey I’ve taken. I’ve learned not to focus on myself so much, the good or the bad, and focus more on the goodness of God always with me. There is a kind of holy unselfconsciousness that is the fruit I hope for in such a practice.
I find it helpful to look back over the last day with an eye for how God was a generous provider, a wise guide, and a good Father. And when God’s Spirit helps me notice and rehearse these things, my mood changes. My perspective becomes a bit more buoyant. My hopes rise. My energy increases. I don’t achieve these good things. I receive them from God-with-me in the moment.
What might happen if you gave attention to rehearsing grace? What if you thought about something recent that didn’t go the way you wanted, or something you did you wish you hadn’t, or something you didn’t do that you wish you had. Might you allow God’s Spirit to bring to mind just how he was present to you in that moment in mercy, grace and love. See what that does to your perspective as you now look at your present and future.