The Key To Joy

Alarm clock buzzes.  Feet hit the floor.  Foggy thinking slowly clears to reveal the day’s list of activities.  The mind steadily hits second gear and all of yesterdays worries pop up again like a whack-o-mole game!

That’s how my days start most of the time – sometimes to where I just want to turn around, get back in bed,  put the covers over my head and go back to sleep.  I think, “is there ever a day where I don’t need an alarm clock and a list of things that has to be done?”

I heard Pastor Chris Hodges speak at She Speaks conference in April and he suggested to make a “not to do list”.  I like it!!

But in the rat race of life we’re not sure how to slow down.  And then we just become hateful and angry because we want to have the peace and joy that rest brings.

We can.  We can have that joy even if we have crazy lives just by being grateful.   The key to joy is gratitude.  When we start being thankful for all the things we have we can’t help but find joy.  Our brains trigger some chemical that brings this peace.  A smile automatically comes to our face.  Our physical demeanor relaxes and something inside of us twinges with excitement.

That’s joy.  What are you grateful for today?  Start with the little things like a house to protect you from the rain.  A fan or air conditioner on a hot day.  Food to eat.  Chocolate!  Freedom to come and go as you please in this country.  A job that, although is sometimes filled with annoying attitudes, provides money for expenses.  Family.  Physical health to get up each day.  A Bible to read. A church to go to.  A God who is in control of every last bit of everything!  Salvation to know Him and a promise of eternity in heaven when you do.

That is gratitude.  And that, my friend, is the key to JOY.

I pray you find the key to open the door to experience your JOY today.

I Corinthians 13 In Real Life.

I know it sounds cliché but I married my best friend.
He is still my best friend.
And I am so happy to celebrate 30 years of marriage today.

Roger really has lived out 1 Corinthians 13 to me.

Love is patient.  [Even when I am running late to church.]
Love is kind. [To always make sure vacations are memorable.  To spoil me beyond belief.  To support my missions and ministries.]
Love does not envy. [When I get a few days in Florida with our daughters and you couldn’t go.]
Love does not boast. [Even when you wanted to say “I told you so.”]
Love is not proud. [Even when our daughters choose you over me as the fun parent you didn’t rub it in my face.]
Love is not rude. [Even when you don’t really want to talk.]
Love is not self-seeking.  [Going somewhere with me even when I know you would rather be playing golf.]
Love is not easily angered. [You always listen to my rants, calm me down and make me laugh.]
Love keeps no record of wrongs. [And I’ve had to say I’m sorry many times.]
Love does not delight in evil, [You never reminded me of my wrongs.]
But rejoices with the truth.  [You always remind me God is in control.]
Loves always protects. [You make a safe environment for me.]
Love always trusts. [You always trust that God’s got it covered.]
Love always hopes. [You always help me look to the future for our hopes and dreams.]
Love always perseveres. [You have never ever given up on me or on our future because you remind me God works it all out for His good.]
Love never fails.  [No matter what, you are there beside me and reminding me of your love.]
And now these three remain:  faith, hope and love [faith in God, hope for a great future together and love for infinity and beyond].
And the greatest of these is LOVE.

Here’s to my knight in shining armor, my protector, my best friend and the absolute love of my life forever and ever.  Happy 30th Anniversary, Roger Young.  I loved you then.  I love you now.  And I will love you forever!

 

It Is Well With My Soul….Or Is It?

The shoes are lined in paired perfection.
The white glove keeps its pure crispness.
The pillows are layered in meticulous fashion.
All is well with my home but not with my soul.

I’ve always been somewhat of a perfectionist liking things organized, my house picked up and clean and all things in order.  But life isn’t that way.

My husband tells this story that after we were first married he placed his glass on the floor by his chair to walk into the bathroom.  He returned and I had the glass washed, dried and put away.  The problem was he wasn’t finished with it!  I think he may be exaggerating a little but truth be told, he wasn’t far off the mark.

Over the years I have certainly mellowed a lot.  A couple of daughters, full sports schedules, a job and other responsibilities break that mold of perfection pretty quickly.  I’ve realized that perfection on this earth is unattainable.

However, I catch myself still striving almost on a daily basis to reach that perfection: a list of to-do’s, a bed made before I walk out the door, house picked up, dishes done, daily chores on top of trying to eat healthy, exercise, be all that I can be for my husband and family, be a good employee, volunteer, Christian and the list goes on and on.

Now I’m exhausted just thinking about it all.  But the devil is happy.  That is exactly what he wants.  He wants me to keep striving for perfection and be too exhausted to do anything for God.

If you are running on this perfection spinning wheel with me, stop!  God’s not looking for a picture-perfect house, an organized closet or an excellent result from a white glove test.  He’s looking for us – me and you.  He doesn’t want anything else except us…our heart…living for Him.

Let’s let it all be right with our soul today.  Give up striving for extreme perfection a little at a time. And maybe you can have this little song stuck in your head all day, too.  “It is well…it is well with my soul!”  🙂

A Card, A Canvas and A Celebrity.

I had several things weighing heavy on my mind and I just said out loud to God, “please show me something that will take this burden off of me.  Please.”  I walked into my office and honestly, had very little hope that the Lord was going to be so bold.

But then the picture on my desk of Jennifer Hudson’s Weight Watcher ad (which I keep on my desk for motivation) caught my eye.  “BELIEVE. Because it works.”  Of course it was referring to the tagline for Weight Watchers but God whispered to me, “I mean it.  Believe. Because it works.”  And He wasn’t referring to Weight Watchers!

I smiled and then my eye drifted to this little sign on my desk that said “when in doubt, pray”.  I smiled again.  Then God used this canvas print that I look at everyday (but have basically become immune to) to smack me right in the face.  Not literally but figuratively.  It said “The Lord has promised good to me.”

Then I laughed out loud and said, “OK, Lord.  I get it.  Believe that you’ve got it all under control.  I need to let it go and let you handle everything.  You will bring YOUR good to me.”

So I did.  And I am.  And hopefully I won’t take it back again….. or you’ll get to read another post about how I let it go and took it back and let it go again and took it back again! hahahaha

Share with me when the Lord showed up in a bold way in your life.