Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I'm Ready to Shut Up & Listen

There are things in my life that require courage, some more than others.  When I think about going it alone, I’m frozen.  I’m afraid.  I’m at a loss for words that I need to flow from my heart and out of my mouth.  My problems feel like mountains…I cannot climb them or move them.  The peaks almost reach the sky, sometimes over the clouds, and I stand at the bottom wondering and questioning.  Even in my questioning I sometimes think I have it figured out.  I’m hard on myself.  I have high expectations of myself.

My women’s group is doing a really cool study right now called Faithful, Abundant and True.  While working through this week’s lesson I read some verses from Job.  He was sort of a know it all, but God quickly reminded him that he didn’t know as much as he thought he did.  A sort of “oh no you didn’t” moment fell over Job.  God reminded Job that He is much bigger.  Job didn’t call the sun to rise, make the mountains, or have the answers that God does.  As I read this, I was reminded (again) that although what I am going through feels very significant to me; there is a HUGE world outside my small place.  Now this isn’t to say that I am insignificant because I am not.  But after reading, I was reminded (again) that I need to get quiet and listen.  In The Message version it even says that Job responded to God by saying, “I’m ready to shut up and listen.” (Job 40:3-5). 

I’m pretty sure that if I keep in mind that ratio of me to the world, my anxiousness will quiet.  I’ll find the words I need to say and I will be given the courage I desire.  Putting into perspective that my seemingly big problem isn’t all that big in the grand scheme of the world already takes it down a few levels.  It’s not easy to do…not by a long shot.

This morning I was sitting at Panera by myself reading through this study.  I had a table right beside the window—the glass was cold but the sun was warm.  Two men were right outside the window talking.  I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but then suddenly they were praying together, just standing with their heads bowed.  I’m sure that what they had been discussing over coffee at Panera is a mountain of their own.  It was just the perspective I needed to see though, just exactly at the right moment.  Funny how that happens….

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Where Is Joy?

There is a quote that says, “Joy is where you least expect it.”  As I ponder where I find joy I realize those are some true words.  Just last night Syd was on John’s lap, Elliot was next to me on the couch and John leaned over to me and Elliot.  We had this sort of family snuggle moment on the couch—that was until Elliot began to complain because Syd touched his hair, John sort of squished into him playfully, and then he said he “couldn’t breathe.”  It was a really nice moment (before the complaining) and I felt joy.  It brings me joy to have two children that are growing and learning, healthy and curious.  I love that our family fits on one couch together.
It seems to me that our society tells us that joy is experienced from things of this world.  All the Christmas gift-giving commercials are running on TV right now.  Women in these ads appear joyful when the men in their lives go to Jared.  A luxury car with a giant bow on the hood makes one man appear joyful.  However, for me I experience a deeper sense of joy from small moments; especially unexpected ones.  The feeling from a fancy gift will fade, but memories of moments with my family can stay with me.  

John is starting to get a few gray hairs and this brings me joy...because I feel fortunate to be part of his life long enough that I get to age with him (and he’s doing it more gracefully than I am).  Joy when I least expected it.  I laugh every morning when I drive the kids to school.  The topics they discuss from the backseat are hilarious.  Joy when I least expected it.  Sydney drew me the most adorable picture when I helped in her class this past Monday and gave it to me before she went to lunch.  She learned how to write, “I love you Mom” and had written that over a rainbow drawing.  Joy when I least expected it.

There are so many things in life that drag me down.  I’m a work in progress to seek out joy.  My kids provide it to me easily, but again there are even moments with them that wear me out (teeth brushing, mountains of laundry, sibling squabbles….).  I keep open to the unexpected joy though.

So, maybe instead of the quote “Joy is where you least expect it;” the quote should be “Joy is where you didn’t expect to find it.”  Phrasing it that way makes it sound more like someone is seeking it, and I am seeking it.

When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.   James 1:2-3

Thanks for reading.