As a former New Yorker residing in Birmingham, Alabama for the last 26 years, it is still an adjustment regarding the heat. But when it rains at the cookout, what follows can bring many blessings that may go unnoticed if you’re only expecting the bad stuff.
Many comedians might have jokes for days when it comes to the heat wave that has encroached upon the South recently. May I say, the memes on social media have been generously side-splitting.
But on Sunday, July 3rd, parts of Birmingham experienced thunderstorms and sunshowers that may have washed out Independence Day cookouts across town.
However, if you were paying close attention to what followed, as opposed to gnawing your rib in sweaty frustration, you would’ve experienced a release of the humidity that had otherwise been choking the city.
I personally wondered at the change in the atmosphere – for a moment, the humidity had dissipated, and I sensed a faint coolness in the weather at sundown many of my family members couldn’t feel.
I expressed gratitude for this simple weather change as a few of us opted to stroll to a fireworks display.
It is amazing what driving around in a car with no A/C in 100-degree weather will allow you to be thankful for.
I wonder if it was because my expectation was for a release to follow that torrential downpour. Could it be said, then, that we get what we expect to get?
If we take stock of how we have operated out of habit, saying and expecting the very thing we really don’t want, we would be surprised. For example, saying, “I’m not feeling well,” leads to a bad cold, or saying “I’m living paycheck to paycheck,” leads to people being broke in between pay periods.
But death and life are in the power of the tongue, and we will eat the fruit of it (Proverbs 18:21).
To go further, if we believe the very things we are speaking, even in jest, we shall have what we say (Mark 11:23).
Do we want to eat death or do we want to eat life?
Considering that at some point, we will all pass away from this life and transition to a new one, I would personally like to eat the fruit of life while I can. Didn’t Father God say He sent His Son that we might have life and have it more abundantly?
I for one know that I have not been living life abundantly as I could be. So let’s take some baby steps together.
Starting with the small things is a great way to begin looking at how we use our words.
In fact, I would challenge each of us to test something negative we may say frequently, and just for a week, speak the positive of that thing.
For example, I had a habit of saying, “I don’t like cats.” But when I stopped saying that, I then faced the reality of why I would say it.
I discovered it was because I had been scratched so badly by my grandfather’s cat as a kid, and then intimidated by a friend’s cat when I stayed with her in Brooklyn, NY once to attend theatre auditions.
That cat would be sitting on my lap when I awoke on her couch, just staring at me with her green eyes. Accusing me of taking her spot. The intimidation was real!
I first got an understanding of my fear and what the root was, and just began to say, “Cats are adorable.” And now, I’m really close to picking up my sister-in-law’s adorable, fluffy mink-fur-like kitty, Sammy, whom my kids have affectionately nicknamed “Fluffy Flufferton.” Almost, but I still have a ways to go.
Needless to say, I began watching my words closely, and it may seem strange, but my perspective began to change about those things.
So take courage, and remember to challenge yourself. For one week, when it rains at the cookout, expect the good to follow.
Once you begin doing this for one thing in your life, it will permeate to other areas, and begin to shift your perspective for the better!