Our memories can be of good times, or bad times, or even a combination of both. A lady wrote me recently and said that I didn't have any idea what it was like to go through "real problems or hard times," because I always write positive articles. I replied that I had my share of difficult times in my life, but just chose not to dwell on them.

Anyone who grew up on a farm knows the bad or hard times, but that's not what we choose to remember. Actually, the farming part of my life only lasted until I was 13; after that I started working as a construction laborer, then eventually as a carpenter (summers and weekends) until I graduated from High School. During this time, I became independent, to an extent, buying most of my clothes and taking care of other needs.

I don't have any idea of how much manure, how many tons of gravel, or how many yards of dirt I shoveled in my youth. I don't have any idea how many thousands of board feet of lumber I carried on my shoulders or how many thousands of nails I drove with my hammer. I don't know how many times my thumbs and fingers were smashed or how many splinters I had to dig out of various parts of my body. Not only don't I remember those things, but I don't care to remember them either — they are unimportant.

I know lots of folks that love to remember the bad times in their lives. How do I know that? I know that because that is all they talk about. You don't have to be around them very long to know they are stuck in the memories of bad things that have happened to them. Struggles are part of everyone's everyday life! There is a saying that goes like this, "Cease to struggle and you cease to live."

What is the focus of your life?

Do you dwell on only the struggles? The apostle Paul says those things should not be our focus. Notice what he writes:

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, DWELL ON THESE THINGS." (Philippians 4:8 NAS, emphasis mine).

Life can be hard.
Yes, life can sometimes be hard and problems sometime seem never ending. However, keep in mind Paul's words to the Corinthians where he gives us insight into the correct way to view our lives:

That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are quite small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! So we don't look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).