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Generally, I am a pretty upbeat person. I tend to see the possibility or potential in most people and situations. I like to laugh (which is probably why I have so many friends that are real jokers) and I smile. A lot.

But every once in a while I find myself overwhelmed by difficult conversations or situations. They drag on me and rob me of my general joie-de-vivre. This has been one of those weeks. It just seems like one thing has piled on top of another this week and none of the things piling up have been easy dealt with.

When this happens, I often make a mistake. My favorite Christian singer/songwriter puts it this way:

Well, I realize that falling down ain’t graceful
But I thank the Lord that falling’s full of grace
Sometimes I take my eyes off Jesus
And you know that’s all it takes

–Andrew Peterson, The Chasing Song

In hard times, I admit, I find it all too easy to take my eyes off Jesus…and you know – that is all it takes.

That is all it takes for me to stumble. That is all it takes for me to become overwhelmed. That is all it takes for me to lose sight of hope.

And it is a dangerous place to be. It is a place where Satan whispers all sorts of terrible things in my ear and I lean toward believing them. It is a place where my fear-and-anxiety monster grows because I have begun to feed him well. It is a place where I am easily defeated because I have forgotten the victory I have in Jesus.

And yet the grace of God is this: in that dark place, as I begin to lose hope, Jesus shows up and extends his hand to me. This week that happened when I received a lovely card from my folks. They wished me me a Happy Easter and included a Starbucks card (they know my addictions well). And it was just like a breeze blew through my spirit, carrying away the dark clouds away.

The week didn’t get instantly easier, I have still had some tough moments to face…but I faced them with hope and I was not overwhelmed. And I kept my eyes on Jesus because I had been reminded of all that he has done and continues to do for me.

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