A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. Proverbs 15:13
This week I wanted to scream!
I realize that everyone has down days and everyone has up days. I am one of those “everyone’s”, so I totally get that.
But have you ever been in situations where NO ONE in your world seems to appreciate an upbeat spirit? And I don’t mean “appreciate” as in needing to be commended for it. I mean, in all reality, being in situations where you are just truly being you, being as much of a light as you possibly can to others, being friendly, reaching out, smiling, joking, and just no one is responsive? In fact, everyone looks at you like you are an alien or something! It stinks!
That was me a lot of this week, and I am dumbfounded right about now. I’m still pondering it all.
So, I want to encourage my friends, just as I have been receiving encouragement from my dear husband for my little old self: GO AHEAD AND KEEP ON JUMPING!
Jump for Joy in Jesus…
Jump because it’s fun…
Jump because you want to…
Jump even while you run!
Man! Where’s the fun, yo?!?!
And if you feel discouraged because every which way you turn, you feel like everyone around you is intent on being a walking zombie, jump some more.
And some more, and more and more.
Just Jump Already!
You might even jump right into prayer….
Or jump into the Word to see what God has to say about it all…
Or, like I did, jump right into the arms of the one or two people in your world who can encourage you, support you, and help you to remember that regardless of the zombie-like reactions we may face when we jump for joy in Jesus, we can, and should, keep on shining our light, love, friendly disposition, cheerful and fun-loving selves all over the place.
We can keep jumping, even when we might be doing it all alone.
And we should jump at the chance to do so. Every.Single.Time.
Jump on these verses now already!
Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Psalm 13:5 But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Psalm 40:16 But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation always say, “The LORD be exalted!”
And finally, here’s a fun song to make you go jump –
Keep your eye on the prize, friends.
Did you know that the Lord actually is pleased when we notice even the smallest of things in His creation? Did you know that it brings Him great joy when we pause, take a moment to ponder such things, appreciate them for what they are, and then praise Him for all of it?
It’s true. He tells us so in the Bible. And I stink at doing this! I can do it with people a lot of the time, but in my immediate “environment” I tend to overlook such things. I tune them out. I’m a distracted little child of God, I am! And this is an area that I think He might want to work on in me. (Ya think?)
My husband, however, is very good at this kind of stuff. Maybe it’s because he works outside, so his awareness of such things is heightened. Maybe it’s because he values and appreciates the things that are right in front of us and I don’t. And maybe it’s because he is far better at tuning out the distracting stuff that doesn’t matter, and tuning in to the stuff that does. I imagine upon meeting the Lord, this will be just one of the many crowns my blessed husband will be receiving from Him ~ the crown for praising God for all His creation and for the little things in life ~ And that is cool.
For many reasons, I think this is an attribute and a discipline to be admired, and one that the Lord particularly values in His children. I think of the story of Mary and Martha, where Mary spends her time at the feet of Jesus, instead of being distracted by all there is to do.
I suppose you can probably guess right now which one is the Martha in this family. Sheesh.
We were walking into the gym the other day and I was, of course, distracted with deep thoughts and the big issues of our culture and world. I was sorting through about ten of these all at once in my heart and mind. Processing, praying, processing again, assimilating, praying, sorting, analyzing, praying – you get the picture. This is how my brain and heart work, and I realize the Lord values this too. God values both Mary and Martha.
But Martha does have a lot to learn from Mary and from Jesus, doesn’t she? And I am thankful the Lord has shown me the areas in which I need to grow.
As we were walking into the gym and I was “making the transition” in my own little mind as to what I needed to focus upon next as we entered those doors, my husband, all of a sudden, starts whistling – really, really loudly.
It got my attention, for sure. I was actually irritated at first. (Big surprise, I know) 🙂
Then I heard it. That thing that I hadn’t even noticed at all, really, until my husband started whistling.
It was a bird, right by the door of the gym and it was singing and whistling LIKE CRAZY!I mean, this bird was going nuts! It was like a bird on pixy sticks. It was like a bird on steroids. It was a very vocal little bird with a very big, big voice!
And, what does my husband do?
He stops whistling and then says, “That bird is really happy.”
And then he just keeps on walking. Just matter-of-fact. Notices the bird. Whistles back to it. Tells me it’s really happy. And then keeps on going about his day.
This may be one of those things where “you had to be there” to see the humor and awesomeness of it all, but I started cracking up! In fact, I was so entertained by this, that I stopped in my tracks and emailed myself (yep) so I’d remember to write a blog post about it later. Ha Ha.
I was laughing for several reasons…
1 – The bird really was going bonkers and it was funny to listen to it.
2 – My husband actually “talked back” to the bird with his own whistling.
3 – The statement my husband made, in his “good ol’ boy, John-Wayne-type” voice was hilarious. He has a really low voice, so to hear him say “that bird is really happy” – well, you probably have to be there, but the only way I can paint the picture for you is to imagine someone like Orson Wells or Morgan Freeman saying that. With no smile on their face whasoever. Just…saying it. Matter of fact. And then walking on.
4 – I am truly lost in space, yo and this entertains me when I look at myself in these situations from the outside in.
5 – As I am experiencing this surreal thing, I am stopping in the middle of it all to email myself.
6 – I am still laughing right now, because I am making this list about why I thought it was funny. That is funny all by itself.
Organization through the random – I have deep, deep problems!
Anyway, I thought I’d share that with you and hope it gives you a good little giggle today.
If you are more like me, you probably realize we can’t fully change our own intricate thought patterns. But God can ~ when and where they need to be changed ~ and He will…… if we submit to Him. For now, I don’t believe I am called to be an entirely different way but I could stand to let go a lot more, couldn’t I?
And, there are times we just need to brain dump, you know? There are times we just need to listen to the little birds of the world and their whistling little songs, and appreciate it for what it is – a gift from the Lord.
I do this best when I am writing or when I am running, because through both of these things I do connect with God differently than when I am doing anything else.
However even then, there are distractions going on, aren’t there? The sound of my fingers on the keyboard, background noise, the sound of the treadmill, or music in my ear, or people walking by. The weather outside, the pace I am keeping while running, the pictures I am thinking about inserting into this blog post after it is written. It goes on and on and on….the little ticker tape in my head.
I could stand to go to the hiking trails once a week or so and just make myself walk around and listen. I may need to do just that tomorrow. I can’t do it like hubby – no way, man. I would have to focus upon not focusing. But I can stop and I can listen – in my own little way and with God’s help. It’s about the heart behind it, isn’t it? It’s about doing such things the Lord thinks are good for us in the way that we are able to do them, as His children.
No two children are exactly alike. I think the Lord appreciates that and made us that way too.
How about you? Do you notice the lovely day to day? Do you look for the beauty in things even in the midst of all the distractions of this world? And do you take a moment to stop and thank the Lord for these wonderful gifts? Have you found your own way to notice the lovely and be the child that God created you to be all at the same time?
Sometimes, it’s the smaller things that seem to be more true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, praise-inducing, than many other things I spend my thought life on. I just don’t always notice it until someone else points it out to me. This is definitely an area I need my eyes wide opened in – but God knows that too, and I have no question that He is going to help me with this.
Besides that, what I am very grateful for is that the Lord has placed people like my husband in my life to help me to do just that. I appreciate my husband for many things – he truly is a gift from God. But this area is one in which I have to really emphasize in importance, because it is this type of attribute in a person that often goes unnoticed in our world today.
So today, I challenge and encourage you all, just as I do for myself: Don’t try to completely change the way you tend to notice the lovely if you are already doing so. Just try to make sure it is a high priority in your lives. If it isn’t, ask God to help you to change that. If it is, then celebrate it!
Maybe you can whistle like a bird on pixy sticks while you do so!
Think on These Things
Whatsoever things are true,
Whatsoever things are honorable,
Whatsoever things are just,
Whatsoever things are pure,
Whatsoever things are lovely,
Whatsoever things are of good report;
If there be any virtue,
And if there be any praise,
Think on these things.
This following after Jesus with reckless abandon deal is a lot of things, friends….
It is trial producing
It is a blessing
It is backbone strengthening
It is spirit testing
It is mind blowing
It is peace
It is joy fulling
It is deep
It is exciting
It can be “scary”
It is faith deepening
It can get hairy
It is awe inspiring
It is full of toil
It is sprinkled with waiting
It produces new soil
It is full of growth
It’s all that it’s rumored
Today I’m reminded most
That Jesus has a sense of humor!
Dudes! I have so much to share with you…but today I won’t share it all. I shall do it incrementally….and yes…it may seem random and out of order. That’s what its all about these days when it comes to what’s going on around here!
No, but seriously…it really is because I always share what God puts on my heart in the order He leads me to share it. And sometimes that seems random, but our God is a God of order, isn’t He? And His order is far different from ours. If you really think about it, ours is in all reality, a bunch of chaos. It’s just another one of those little lies the enemy likes to tell us.
So, I gave my notice at my night job last night…that is another story I will post about another time. But suffice it to say that there are some truly wonderful people I work with there, and although my husband and I have no question this is what needs to happen, already, we have seen some interesting things emerge about where we may be going from here.
Today, there are two things that happened out of the blue as the morning dawned. Ha Ha…I have to pause to laugh at myself right now, sorry.
Actually, one of the things is not something I had “planned”, but looks like a possible blessing, for sure. I’ll talk about that in a minute. The other thing, made me literally laugh out loud – I will get to that as well. But first, I must digress…..
You know, when the peace about what to do in this part of the puzzle came about for us (to quit the night job), we felt a sense of relief (I guess that’s what God’s peace is all about, right? Duh.) God had finally given us a little thing we could actually “do” in this process. Whew! We are digging God’s peace, bro.
We embrace the waiting aspect of everything else, but as you know from last week’s posts, I was indeed getting weary….weary about having no direction at all….weary from waiting. I grew from that, and I expect God will continue to have me wait upon Him forever in many different ways. I am sure husband man is growing from that as well.
I am now open to that – an area I needed growth in, for sure – waiting. But lest ye need reminding: I have a loooonnnnnggggg way to go with that. Yes, a very long way. He, the Almighty….He knows it too.
Anyway, I can’t possibly put everything down I’d like to say today – no way. But I do want to tell you something interesting. The desire of my heart (as far as the work I do outside of the home) is to put my whole self into the church, but there is the financial aspect of things and the timing aspect of things that may not make that be able to happen – at least, not in Annie’s special little idea of great timing (which is flawed, my friends…very, very flawed sometimes).
Another great thing about God! Because He has His own plans. We don’t know what they are.
But to be truly obedient, I have to be “open” to whatever He may want for us…for me, and my role now as far as what, if anything, I do outside of the home…whether for service, for employment, you name it.
So….true to my nature, I am hopeful that He will open more doors for me to get to work even more at the church – if that is what He wants. But it may not be what He wants. Sigh….So I went ahead and decided to complicate matters (dontcha love that?) and look into (be open to) other things, and just trust Him. Hopefully, these other things will be able to work along with what the part time job at the church involves – but we don’t know yet, do we?
It wasn’t a part of my “plan” at all, but He led me to go ahead and apply for some other jobs. I was reluctant because of what I said – I would rather leave myself wide open for the church and what it may grow into (it still might, who knows?). What if I am offered things that might intervene with that? What if something else comes up that totally thwarts that little desire of my heart? What if I get more and more confused again? What if…what if….what if?
Yep…I’m doing it again, and God is letting me laugh at myself right now. He can manage it all. He may have plans for me in one of these areas I never even considered. I am thinking in that limited way again – that way that says…ummm….”why in the world would you ever leave a sweet job like you had to even think about doing something else that wasn’t in the “plans”? Give yourself a break…enjoy being a stay at home person and just work at the church part time…stop confusing the matter.”
Ha Ha Ha!!!!
Get this: I had applied, (just because this job came up on my site I look at from time to time) for a job that looks pretty sweet, yo. I only did it because it almost felt irresponsible not to apply. This is a hard job, but daytime hours. It is right up my alley. It is also a job that everyone and their dog and kitty cat along with all their imaginary friends wants in this city. I am not worried about it at all. Honestly, I don’t care that much about this right now. I just opened myself up to it in case the Lord would want me to. Guess what? I was “selected” for the next step in the process – 48 hours after applying. They aren’t even done accepting applicants yet. It doesn’t mean anything, and I still don’t care much about it either way, but I found it interesting. So I shall start that next step. And then I will put it back down.
That’s not the funny one though. The funny one is this: I keep getting alerts about this one job out there in my city. The title of it seemed like such a turn off, that I kept just “deleting” it when the alert came up, you know? It has been starting to really bother me though, because it keeps on coming up! So this morning, I wake up and it’s there….again! “Fine! I will read the job description, God!” Ug.
So I read it. Friends, this might be something. On the surface, everything about it seems not Annie-like. But isn’t that the point? Aren’t we supposed to not make this about ourselves, but about God and what HE might want for us? Oh yah…..
But the things needed to do this job, well, they are Annie-like too. I have never seen a job description written quite like this one that is not a part of a church or Christian ministry. It says things like “must have a heart for this or that”, “must have a true passion for helping people in time of need.” Stuff like that. But at the same time, it is a firm and reputable company laden with benefits and things like that as well. You usually don’t see those two things go together. Doesn’t make a lot of sense. Just like me….ha ha. Aren’t we funny humans?
Guess what the title of the position is? Drum roll please…..
I will leave it there. I am applying this morning. Ha Ha. This isn’t about embalming bodies, friends. Seems dark and weird still though, no? But if this is what the Lord might have in store for my role in bringing glory to Him, who am I to challenge it? It may not be….. He may just want to see that I am willing. But I have a funny feeling about this. I don’t know why. Ha Ha.
And I sit here and laugh at myself again because I am like a toddler, right? I am laughing, but screaming within myself…”But God!”
“But God…I want the church thing!” (in the whiniest voice I can muster up)
“But God….whaaaaa…I want to do this other thing, it would be way more fun!”
“But God….aren’t you going to let me have the desire of my heart?” Hee Hee Hee….whine whine whine.
And then the verse…the verse that continues to come back to me through this whole journey…the verse of His voice, assuaging my discomfort, reassuring me of His sovereignty and might….the verse of His voice that I imagine Jesus saying to me with a smile on His face if He were here right now….
There are many plans in a man’s heart,
Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand. Proverbs 19:21 NKJV
Annie B? In a funeral director position? Are you kidding me right now?
Annie B? Surrounded by death and grieving people? You must be joking, right?
Annie B? Annie B? Annie B?
And a small whisper….one I need ever-so-frequently to hear, dear friends……
“No….not Annie B, dear child. Not just about Annie B. and her husband. Not just Annie B. and her family.”
Oh yaaaaahhhhhh………It’s not all about me and my role. It’s not all about me. It’s not about us. It’s not maybe even a little about me or us. It’s not me….It’s HE.
Aren’t you glad that He can teach us, humble us, but laugh with us as unto a two-year old throwing a little fit – one of those kinds that is kind of cute, but in which they still need a little bit of correction too?
Just another one of the reasons I love my Jesus, friends. Just another one.