1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” This is my favorite passage. The one I would have as a tattoo if I was brave enough to do such a thing. This is my go-to passage. And I share it, because joyful is exactly what I am NOT feeling tonight.
I sat in front of my computer for a while, blank page before me, thinking “what can I say to encourage others tonight?” One problem: how can I inspire you, if I am not feeling inspired myself? And it’s not just uninspired. I am downright grumpy. Staring at the computer was interrupted several times by children needing water, kisses, help in the bathroom, or reminders of bedtime rules. So I gave up and closed the computer, knowing full well working full time means you wouldn’t see a post for another week.
Then Grumpy moved to the kitchen, where my oldest son (and his ADHD inherited from me) once again did not finish the dishes. “But I filled the dishwasher and ran it!” Because everything we use in a day can be cleaned in a dishwasher. Including the electric griddle which has been sitting on the counter for a week. This is when I turned into Cinderella minus the birds and singing mice. “Sing Sweet Nightingale” was replaced by incoherent grumblings and some rather loud dishwashing.
This is when I learned some things:
Joyfulness, prayer, and thanks all work together and at the same time. Prayer is a constant dialogue with our Maker. And what a thing to be thankful for! And when we are thankful, we find joy, which leads us to prayer and thankfulness. It’s as if all these things are a bubbling fountain, each a result of His love for us, as well as an outpouring of our love for Him.
Joyfulness does not mean I won’t ever be unhappy. This is Earth, we are human. There are bound to be moments of disappointment. These are emotions, along with anger, sadness, fear, grumpiness, happiness, joy, surprise, love. These are a part of who we are, how we are made. Emotions are also reactions to happenings in our lives. And we have choices. Tonight I was choosing grumpy. Really I was choosing uber-impatient, snappy, grumbly, mumbly mommy, and she’s not pretty. It’s not always easy to choose joy, but we have a God who listens. “For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. (Matthew 7:8 and Luke 11:10 NIV)”
“Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-31
I do not have to be shiny and perfect for Him to use me for His purposes. I do not have to be superwoman to inspire you. Sometimes I encourage best when I feel I’m at my worst.