the joy of the Lord.

Anytime we foresee or face change in what we call our “normal”, there is an uncertainty of what it will bring.  The change may be a moving to a new town or state, starting a new chapter as a college student, or simply a change in schedule.  Whatever the change, whether it be anticipated or completely out of the blue, whether you’re prepared for it or grasping for air, change affects us.

It’s my tendency to wonder if I am ready for the change.  Am I strong enough to face the unknown and even the discomforts of the change?  Is there any possible way to stay in “the normal”?  And with this thoughts afloat in my mind it is easy to give way to the worry and anxiety and fear that accompanies change.  Please don’t tell me I’m alone in this, the I-can’t-sleep-because-I’m-to0-busy-planning-all-the-what-if-scenarios in this so called season of change. Please.  Why is there an unspoken negative connotation to the current changes we face?  There is hope that this change will be over soon, things can go back to normal, and none of this ever happened…whew, I can breath again. But like I said, in the meantime worry and fear lurk behind the corner of “what I know” and “change”.

As David and I are a few weeks into a changed lifestyle (he started classes at the end of July) and the change will continue through the course of his program and as the leaves change in the Fall so does my schedule as a paraprofessional and personal fitness trainer, I have had the constant “what if I’m not strong enough” flash through my mind.

What if I can’t handle the pressures of being married to a medical student?  What if my schedule is too packed with responsibilities?  What if I struggle to make it through the day? 

But then I took a step back, gave myself a reality check and asked isn’t there a better way to approach change.  Yes, change is difficult. Change is uncertain. But change is good.  It’s good because I realize I can’t do it on my own- I need something outside of myself that is constant, unchanging. (“For I the Lord do not change…Malichi 3:6)  It’s good because change brings forth personal growth and refinement.

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.

Proverbs 31:25

  • My strength is not my own.  The original Hebrew for strength is ‘oz, a masculine noun from the root meaning to prevail, to be made strong. The same word has been used to describe God’s character.

“You have a mighty arm; strong is your hand, high your right hand.” Psalm 89:13

To cloth myself with strength is to cloth myself with God.  I am strong enough to face change because I look to God for  strength and counsel and provision.  I choose to rely on him to meet the challenges of change and uncertainty.

“Seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his presence continually!
1 Chronicles 16:11

  • I surrender to God.  Strength and dignity are so much a part of her character, that it is described as her clothing.  Her character is reflected as such because she has allowed God to change her from the inside out.  She has surrendered herself to God and she has submitted herself to be used by Him.
  • I am free to face the day with joy.  Fear and worries about life do not define her.  She laughs at days to come. She does not run from change, but embraces it with joy.  Can you imagine…To laugh at days to come and approach change with a thankful heart verses being overcome by fear and worry.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,  present your requests to God.  And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7

This season of change is filled with uncertainty for David and I.  I could easily sit here and continue to add to the list of fears and uncertainties, the what-ifs,  but instead I will choose to be thankful and laugh at what is to come.

I’m thankful for new friendships.

I’m thankful for jobs that engage my interests and education.

I’m thankful for a home with two bedrooms so David can study at home.

I’m thankful for the resources to bake. (a good study break tactic) 

What are you thankful for in your season of change?

Proverbs 31;25 

 

joy’s thief.

Just write.

That’s what I had to tell myself to do.

“You haven’t blogged anything recently,” David mentioned in our now passing conversations.  He officially started classes last week and with a quiz almost every Monday, studying has been in full swing.

Truth be told, I haven’t had much of a passion to write.  As I sit on my computer and read blogs others write, I quickly retreat, thinking I don’t have anything worth sharing.  I don’t have a strong opinion or knowledge about the best beauty products or latest fashion trends.  I’m not a gifted photographer.  My cooking is not anything special, or unique.  My hobbies or skills have not be perfected to be anything close to lucrative as these other blogs.  Well, no wonder my passion to write or blog has gone out the window – I have compared myself to everyone else and have it stuck in my mind  that in order to be a sucessful blogger or a blogger who others would follow, I have to do EVERYTHING that EVERYONE else is doing, and I have to do it WELL.

And then I had to ask myself, why I started blogging in the first place.  I started because I wanted to document life happening now. Life as a wife. Sister. Daughter. Friend. And Child of the King.  When I remembered that, everything about the blogging world seems so much smaller.  And everything about God’s story so much bigger.

 

For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10

That very realization, that we are HIS workmanship gave me joy, purpose, and freedom.  It gave me joy in who I am. Gave purpose to my day. And freedom to not be perfect, but to be God’s work of art, which HE prepared in his infinite wisdom.

For me it was comparing myself to other bloggers; sometimes its comparing our stage of life, our possessions, our talents, our appearance to others’.  Whatever it is you compare, you are robbing yourself of joy and the fullness of Christ who is at work in you.

Comparision robs joy

So what would happen if we stopped comparing ourselves to others?

I can tell you as soon as I stopped comparing my blog to all of the wonderful blogs out there, God gave me something to write about and my creativity started bloom.  Just think if I stopped comparing my appearance to CoverGirl, I would embrace my curly, sometimes unruly hair.  If I stopped wishing to be in another stage of life, I would enjoy all that is happening now.  And if I stopped comparing my hobbies or talents to what other people have chosen, I might find some creative outlet or something else that I’m skilled in.

And the opportunity to really find joy in who God created us to be will flourish.