Do a Reframe


Outer Life/Inner Life

Poor me.

I was sitting on the beach last Thursday with three of my closest friends. We’d driven to Gulf Shores on Wednesday to spend four uninterrupted days together, catching up on each other’s lives.

But it was windy. And it was cold. And I was growing miserable.

It’s easy to depend too much on our surroundings to make us happy. When they turn sour, we can, too. Our energy drains away. We focus on our discomfort. We have little positive to share.

As the sand storm blew fiercely around us and on top of us (y’all, sand was literally filling in the pages of my magazine), I finally decided to go up. Poolside. Surely it would be calmer.

But while it was less windy, it was also colder. I inwardly vowed, “I’ll never come back to the beach in March.”

Get a Reframe

I needed a reframe.

When we can only see one side of something, it’s time to flip it around.

“Reframing is changing your mental and emotional responses to people and events.”

I recently participated in a 21-day e-course, “Reframing.”


It was designed to walk us through areas of our lives that need a new perspective, see other people and events as spiritual teachers, and become less judgmental. Topics included:

  • Reframing Negativity
  • Reframing Anger
  • Reframing Fear
  • Reframing Worry
  • Reframing Waiting

It challenged us to make a list of things that needed reframing. Then encouraged us to set an intention, and actively find new meanings behind events.

So I decided to reframe my Thursday afternoon.

I took my Kindle, a snack, and a jacket to the balcony of our condo. I poured myself a Diet Coke and read and ate. I was no longer on the beach, but I could still see the ocean, still hear the waves.

And joy returned. Despite the wind. Despite the temperature.

Receive New Gifts

I realize that reframing our situations are rarely that easy. Especially when circumstances are out of our control.

Our stories don’t unfold like we expect.

But instead of fighting against the differences, maybe we can open our hands a little wider, and receive the new gifts that God is giving us instead.

  • Pray for reframed attitudes.
  • Invite the Spirit to give us new perspectives.
  • Claim hope for God’s grace in the moment and grace in things to come.

On Friday morning?

You wouldn’t have called me a beach fashionista, but wearing a warm sweatshirt, a cap cinched tight on my head, and a beach towel wrapped around my legs, I sat on the beach with my friends with thankfulness, laughter, and grace reframed.

Poor me no longer.
Blessed me instead.

* * *

What situation do you need to reframe? Please share in the comments.

38 thoughts on “Do a Reframe

  1. Pam

    Great concept and example! You did a great job of describing it. Some people get the misconception it is denying the reality of what is. I am a fan of reframing. It was a tool I learned in graduate school for clinical counseling and one that I found very effective when I used it for 25+ years in my office with folks. Great to visit with you here! Have a blessed day!!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      How encouraging to hear that you used the tool of reframing for so long, Pam! Thanks for sharing your experiences. I haven’t read all the reframing emails sent from my e-course yet, but I saved them so I can return to them soon. This is definitely a concept that I need to apply in many areas.

  2. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    What a wonderful essay, Lisa. And yeah, the beach in March can be cold!

    I’ve found that the best way for me to reframe is to stop both my words and my thoughts. It’s fine to say, “I’m cold” or “I’m in pain”. But the value judgement that usually follows it isn’t needed. Admit the fact, and move on.

    It’s a lot easier with words than thoughts – after all, speech is volition – but practicing speech discipline for awhile makes thought discipline a lot easier.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      That’s a good distinction to make, Andrew. While we’re waiting on our thoughts to change, we can at least control our words in the meantime (or try to!).

  3. Christine Duncan

    Oh, I love this wisdom for my week, Lisa. To re-frame and dig into a new perspective and make the most of what I’m given… thinking outside the box and then appreciating having to… some days this seems so much harder than others, but oh the reward of seeing His goodness in our circumstance! Hugs and blessings, appreciate your post today. Your neighbour from #HeartEncouragement Thursday today 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, some days this is harder than others. A day at the beach wasn’t much to complain about. 🙂 But chronic illnesses, job struggles, etc., would be much more challenging to reframe. Glad you stopped by, Christine.

  4. BettieG

    Dear Lisa,
    I love these thoughts! Lately I have been convicted to reframe the viewing lens of my eye also. It’s so easy to focus on the negative, and miss the positive that God wants to show us in the middle of it all. Thank you for this confirmation of what the Lord has been speaking to me as well. Blessings to you!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      We’re in agreement, Bettie. I want to focus, too, on the good things that God is showing me each day. He’s always up to something good, even when I don’t see it initially.

  5. Debbie Wilson

    Lisa, reframing makes a huge difference. It’s a choice we get to make. Thanks for reminding us how to do that. I was at the beach last week. The first day was cool but the next two days were amazing. But my time was spent reading on the dock or inside and walking on the beach. Since I was moving on the beach, that may have made the difference.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Glad you had a great time at the beach, Debbie. It’s one of my all-time favorite go-to places to refresh and to see God. Even when it’s windy. ha. At least it wasn’t raining! 🙂

  6. floyd

    Good for you! Most of us can’t see that in us until it’s long after the fact. You got it right while you were still in the middle of it and got a blessing for it!

    This gift of free will is such and amazing and powerful gift.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      It’s easier to recover quickly at the beach, right? 🙂 Everything is better at ocean’s edge. Yes, free will is a gift that we need to appreciate and not take for granted.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Good point, Maree. I agree that it’s hurtful to me, too, when someone “gets over” something so fast that it seems dishonoring to the original grievance. We do need to respect everyone’s feelings. Thanks for sharing this insight.

  7. Julie

    Lisa- what a great tip! I love your example, life would be easier to handle and enjoy:)
    The beach sounds amazing as I sit here in Wisconsin;)

  8. Debbie Kitterman

    Lisa – this is such a good reminder and something we can all definitely put into practice. Some of us more than others. truthfully, I would have probably just went out on the balcony – my favorite times at the beach were never on the beach, but sitting up in the chairs outside our room – usually bundles in blackets and warm jackets watching the waves crash… I love the ocean, it’s my happy place. thanks for sharing at #TuneInThursday today

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, I think all of us have various situations that at any given time could use some reframing. I know I do! Perhaps we’ll never outgrow the need, but maybe we can get quicker at responding appropriately. Blessings to you, Dianne.

  9. Karlene

    Lisa, I had almost the exact scenario back in early December on the coast of Alabama. Traveled there with my favorite aunt and, of course, we knew it would not be the normal “beach” weather in December – but we like to froze. We both decided to “reframe” the time into a spiritual retreat, of sorts. I spent many hours on the balcony, iPad in hand, cup of coffee and Bible nearby, and the occasional splash of sunlight on my legs. (Visiting today from #FaithFilledFriday.)

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Ooh, that sounds like a lovely time, Karlene! I’m glad you and your aunt were able to reframe your cold time. Sometimes our blessings aren’t as visible until we dig for them. Sounds like you made memories that will last for a long time.

  10. Joanne Viola

    Lisa, this is wonderful! I have loved that Eeyore quote for some time 🙂 It is so true that as we reframe circumstances, we will be able to appreciate something positive in them. Our stories do not unfold the way we would expect or like. But God can still bring good from everything we experience. Great post!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, this is such a wonderful truth about our God! –> “But God can still bring good from everything we experience.” Thanks for sharing that, Joanne.

  11. Cheryl Gerou

    Visiting from Faithfilled Fridays. Reframing is a word I am going to write on my planner page for each week. This was a very encouraging post. May your soul be refreshed as you reframe each of your days with hope in Christ.

  12. Jean Wise

    Love EEyore! I use reframing quite a bit but don’t always right away. I whine, pout, and maybe stamp my foot – then sigh, reframe and face the Light. God is good! I just don’t see him right away.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m like you, Jean: I first have to pout a little before I reframe. 🙂 Hopefully I’m learning to get through that tantrum phase a little quicker though. Yes, God is always good even when we don’t see his work…reminds me of flying through dark clouds, but then rising into the sunlight that is always there on the other side.

  13. Dolly

    Reframing is such a powerful skill and I’m happy you were able to practice it. Thank you for courageously sharing your experience. It is always hard when we had one expectation in mind and it doesn’t come true. I get it.
    This past week I had several opportunities to practice… and what you wrote here is so true: “maybe we can open our hands a little wider, and receive the new gifts that God is giving us instead.” Reframing required me to get my eyes off of myself, ask God to help me to see myself, others, and the situation from His perspective. Thankful for grace 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I don’t always appreciate those opportunities to practice reframing. 🙂 But I know they’re for the best. I’m glad you were able to get through your experiences to see more of God this past week, Dolly. That in itself is a blessing we should never take for granted!

  14. June

    I’m sorry you and your friends had bad weather, but what a wonderful lesson to share with all of us! You and Eeyore always encourage me to find the positive side of things. Blessings on your weekend, friend!

  15. Betty Draper

    Needed a little re framing myself lately. I am such a Martha and now I am forced to be still or more still then I like due to my heart. I am walking but not far enough, I am back to some usual house work but not enough to satisfy me. This was a good post for me to read. I need to change positions and get on God’s side of this so I can enjoy what He has for me. Thanks Lisa.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I can’t imagine how you must feel, Betty. 🙁 I’m sorry that you aren’t able to pick up with your life like you’d like to. I love what you shared though: “I need to change positions and get on God’s side of this so I can enjoy what He has for me.” This is what I want, too. Getting on God’s side is what is best for all of us, even when we can’t see the gifts in it yet. Praying for your continued recovery!

  16. Beverley

    Last Friday i was out having lunch at a local restaurant with my usual book for company. It was busy and i had had to be seated at a larger table than i needed. So, when one of the waiting staff asked if i minded if i shared with another lady, i of course said – it was fine. A elderly lady came and sat opposite to me and we soon got into pleasant chatting, my book forgotten, as we ate, but it is what she said as she left that made the difference, she simple said ‘do what YOU want, not what anyone else wants, but what YOU want – they will get over it’ she smiled and left. The problem is have is i don’t really know what i want, but right now life is making me miserable. Since then i have reframed my thinking, even if i don’t know what i want tomorrow or next week, i do know what i want from moment to moment and (even church has been making me miserable) and yet yesterday i told myself that i had chosen to go to church and therefore i was doing what i wanted to do.
    I am glad that you had a good weekend, Lisa, in spite of the cold.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Wow, that is a beautiful reframe, Beverley! I’m glad God put that woman in your path, and that he put you in her path. I’m sure she walked away as equally blessed as you did. Choosing what we want from moment to moment is a fulfilling way to live.

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