I just got back from our family vacation! Let me tell you- I needed it! 2020 has been quite a year for the record books, but not in a good way. I recently saw a post talking about all the bad things that have already happened in 2020… I honestly read it and thought, “Yep, that’s a lot of bad, and I’m not even to March yet…” But then I wondered if we only focused on the bad things, could get a list as long for 2019, 2018, or any year prior? I am so sure that the answer would be yes.

The difference though is that this year, we have all been forced to social distance, stay at home, and only focus on those negative highlights of the year. No weddings. No parties. No library programs. No sporting events. No regular life events. Just negative press.

When my family and I set out on vacation this year, I knew I wanted to travel with my family, but I had no idea just how bad I needed to get away from the negativity.

We took a road trip to the coast and back. We made stops every 4-6 hours stopping at the Ark in Kentucky, Grayson Highland State Park in Virginia, Holland Beach in North Carolina, Folly Beach in South Carolina, The Smokey Mountains National Park in Tennessee, and the Giant Superman Statue in Metropolis, Illinois. Then we came back home to Saint Louis!

We found a new love for hiking and exploring the natures of this world!

We had a great time as a family making new jokes, laughs, and memories!  

You know what I saw when I traveled across the country with my family?

Beauty!

Peace!

“Thank You, Jesus” signs in numerous people’s yards across several states!

You know what I didn’t see?

Negative press.

Negative signs.

There was no one forcing you to side with them on a stance you just can’t get behind.

There was no one trashing our country or her leaders.

I also did not see social media except to post the occasional pictures for our friends back home.

It wasn’t that there was no negativity, it was that I didn’t focus on it.

Renee, you traveled during a Pandemic! Aren’t you worried about the virus?

No. Let me be clear. We were safe. We social distanced and wore our mask when we were inside any building. But I refuse to live in fear of this virus. Fear is what has had me focusing on the negative, hiding in my home, and being suspicious of my neighbors who left their homes. This is no way to live.

I will be safe. I will keep my children safe, but we are not going to let this virus stop us from living.

Social distancing was not a problem at all. There were no crowds at the beach, on the trails we chose, or even at the Ark. There were people, but everyone respected each other’s space.  We wore our mask anytime we were insides, but no one forced anything on us.

It was normal.

It was the reality check that I needed. Life can be normal.

If you focus on the negative, you will see negative.

If you choose to focus on the blessings, you will see the blessings.

“Thank you, Jesus.”

Seriously, thank you Jesus. Do you ever stop to think about what He did for you? I mean really think about it. Not just look at a cross and minimize it. He died willingly for you. So that you could have eternal life. And so that you would no longer be separated from God. Don’t live separated from Him! Embrace the opportunity you have!

We don’t have to live in fear. We don’t have to focus on the negative.

We have a direct line to the Creator of the Universe. We can see His presence all around us. He is at work!

It is your choice my friends.

Maybe you need to put down social media. Maybe you need to turn off the news. Maybe you need to take your family and go on a hike. Go (safely) explore God’s beautiful creation.

There may be a lot wrong with the world, but God is still on the throne! And if you choose to look beyond the negative put in front of you, you will see it.

I challenge you to spend a day only focusing on your blessings. Even when bad things happen, choose to see where God is at work. Because He is!

“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3

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