Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My Lent: Part 4

I don't do well with rejection, bullies, people who hurt the ones I love, or people who run their mouths. When I say that I don't do well with them, I mean that I either get angry (like, judgemental, irrational angry), annoyed and cranky or hurt and confused. In all cases, I tend to dwell on the negativity in the situation or the negative attitude of the other person(s) involved and I end up developing a negative attitude because of it. My tendency to dwell and brood and stress and worry about situations or people like this has caused me in the past to turn my back on God. I'm not blaming the people who initially presented the issue. I know that my habit, my addiction to negative thinking caused me to act out in improper, destructive, hurtful ways. This kind of negative "dwelling" is what I've been trying to do away with.

As I've began this "journey" with this year's lent, I've realized what I've been doing wrong and what I need to change. And I've come to realize that none of it is as hard as I originally thought it would be.

For starters, prayer. Praying all the time, at random, on purpose, by accident, sincere... it's not as difficult as I thought it would be. In fact, I find myself starting to pray without really even thinking about it. Just talking to God and focusing on Him instead of all the frustration surrounding me. Being thankful for the smallest, and gigantic, things is coming more naturally. And it makes room for joy to grow, no matter what the situation.

Thus follows my next point. Joy. Deep, indescribable, breathtaking joy. Joy that comes from God alone. I didn't realize that through my attempt to put out the negativity from my mind and heart that God would rush in and fill that emptiness with a joy so severe that there are times that all I can do is cry. Right now life is kinda... tedious to say the least. The kids have all been sick. We've been dealing with extended family issues, personal stuff and so much more. It's been so easy for the walls to go up, the numbness to set in or the negativity to swallow me up and suffocate me. But it's almost as if God knew that these things would happen right now, right around lent when I would decide to give up the negative and replace it with the positive. It's like He's watching out for me and helping me cope with trying times in a way that is going to build me up, not tear me down. As long as I keep my eyes on Him.

But this joy. This joy has caused me to realize something that I've really known my whole life but never pondered, never accepted fully, never consciously believed. God wants me to experience joy to it's very fullest. He doesn't just want me to be happy. I wont be happy all the time. Christ wasn't happy all the time. But He knew a joy so deep that gave Him the strength to do what was Right and Loving. He knew the joy that comes from being loved by the Father.

This past week, I've experienced this joy in so many different ways. My daughter, who is very sick at the moment, asking me yesterday if I was happy and telling me that she loved me over and over. I think that only a parent knows the kind of joy that comes from being loved unconditionally by your child. Also, through the hugs of my husband who needs me. Through my son's smile as he proudly tells me that he just went potty in the big boy potty. The delighted smiles of my baby who just crammed another of her favorite crackers into her mouth. The breeze coming through the open window on a beautiful day. Hearing a song that reminded me of my Dad. Spending all day cleaning and then getting to relax next to my husband. My garden full of gorgeous, tiny green shoots that will grow into tasty veggies we'll be enjoying later. Looking at my family quietly devouring a meal that I made for them. Being surrounded by my laughing children and husband during a family night. The flowers growing in my office. Sunshine. All things that God gave to me that fill me with a joy so strong that it takes my breath away. Fills me with a peace so powerful that I know it is from God and God only. Just the very fact that it brings Him joy to make my soul "happy"... Just that alone is more than my mind can handle. That He loves me so much that He wants me to experience nothing but joy for the rest of eternity... How can one be negative knowing something like that?

I know that I'm human and that I'm not perfect. I know that I am going to slip up. However, I also know that if I keep God and what He wants for me at the front of my mind, there will be less and less room for negativity. I know that the little annoying things life throws at me wont be such a big deal. I may not even notice them as much. I wont have time. I'll be soaking in the joy that God is giving me. I'll be basking in His presence, enjoying His love.

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