Frustrated. Anxious. Short-tempered. That’s how I felt when a large project seemed to take too long over Memorial Day weekend. Delays—completely out of my control—made it difficult to embrace my joy.
After the project, however, I looked back thinking, “Well, that wasn’t so bad.” On the drive home, embarrassment erupted from the level of frustration I’d shown. I gave some serious thought to why I let things move into such a downward spiral. In the future, how could I erase my ill-tempered attitude by clinging to my God-given joy?
Learning to Embrace My Joy
Here is what I discovered about my weekend bad attitude:
I believed the holiday weekend was “my time.”
Over the years I’ve learned to surrender my work, chores, hobbies, writing projects, and much more to the Lord. They belong to Him. I do them all for His glory. But it became obvious over the weekend that I still consider recreational time as “mine.” The truth is, it ALL belongs to Him. He gives me the time I use—every minute of it.
I’m in the beginning stages of learning the Hebrew language and one of my teacher’s lessons leaped into my mind. In Hebrew culture, instead of saying “I have a cat” or “I have two children,” they say, “There is to me a cat.” Or “There are to me two children.” The emphasis is not on my ownership of things but on the provision of the Lord and His gifts to me. It’s a powerful message and one that includes treasure as well as time.
I didn’t “have” a long weekend, the Lord provided it to me. His reminder to use that time for His benefit and glory was well received. And He generously provided enough time for a little rest and relaxation, even after the work took longer than I’d hoped.
I didn’t start my days focused on Him.
During the work week, I’ve developed a routine of prayer and devotions before I start my day. In all honestly, weekends run a little differently. I try to sleep a little later which means my feet hit the floor running. Then I face family needs, packed schedules, and catch-up projects before I know it. I need Him as my first focus every day.
As James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” There’s not a moment in my life when I don’t crave His nearness. I must draw near to Him to receive it.
My focus was on myself.
Truly, the weekend project was a privilege. But instead of a grateful heart toward the opportunity to serve and honor others, I let myself get wrapped up in my own sacrifice. For me, there’s nothing that resets a bad attitude like reflecting on gratitude. I know this. But I sure didn’t practice it over the weekend.
Had I stopped, even for a few moments, and expressed my thanks to God for all He provided, for the opportunity to serve Him, and the gladness I saw on the faces of those involved, the downward spiral of my attitude could have taken a different course.
Learning to Embrace My Joy (Intentionally)
It’s said that we learn more through failure than through success. I’ll give a hearty amen to that! Through the lessons absorbed over the last few days, I’ve committed to more intentionality about . . .
- Acknowledging God’s provision of all things
- Focusing on Him every morning, even at the cost of a little more sleep
- Showing a heart of gratitude especially when I’m a little grumpy
These things will go a long way toward helping to embrace my joy—even when life is jumbled and looks different from what I expect. I pray you can learn from my mistakes and let joy overtake any bad attitudes that come your way.
May the Lord strengthen you by His Word today.