We all have days that go well; others that don’t. Some of my days have even included lost keys and pinched fingers. Fortunately, we have a God of loving kindness who is there every day, reaching in so we can reach out.
Here at Fave Lifestyles I hope to share encouragement and empowerment as we “walk the WOLK,” as we walk God’s words of loving kindness. I also want to be able to celebrate what God’s doing in, through, and around each one of us.
My husband, Kurt, “walks the WOLK” every day. He encourages me every day. I met Kurt as a ditzy 18-year old. We were a study in contrasts then; we are a study in contrasts now. He speaks when he has something to say; I never shut up. He’s calm, reasonable; I’m not. But more important than our differences is the journey we’ve been able to take together.
Kurt is a man of great faith who supports and encourages those around him, and I’m a grateful beneficiary. After my first episode of “Morning WOLK with God,” Kurt came into my office and sat down at my desk to talk. Kurt’s a former high school football coach and when he calls a timeout, I’ve got to put the ball down and hustle over to the sideline, if you know what I mean. Even if the games just starting (or a web show), if the coach needs my attention, I listen. I let him call the next play.
Kurt pointed to a rock on my desk and said, “You need to talk about your rock.” Knowing the words “Choose Joy!” were etched in my rock, he added, “Talk about joy.” Excited to think about a future episode, I thanked Kurt for his suggestions, made a couple notes, and went back to work.
Days later, stress started to overwhelm me. I had several days in a row where I was making a zillion—zillion with a z—client calls. There were also days with more than my usual share of online meetings, a wonderful way to stay connected, but difficult for someone needing to see eyes, hear words, and read body language. Day after day found me further and further behind with calls and messages. By Thursday, I was in tears when a co-worker asked for a small favor.
Knowing I was not at my finest, Kurt sent a short text. While I was out running errands, he thanked me for including him in one of my videos, a short feature in which I’d shared my own gratitude for him and his special place in my life. And in that moment, I got to find joy.
Friends, driving around that afternoon, I was planning a very large pity party, addressing invitations to every single person I’d ever known, ready to order a massive cake and lots of party favors. Gotta have party favors. And in that moment, I found joy. In that small moment for a small moment. I still had a zillion—zillion with a z—calls to return and emails to answer, but in that small moment I was able to cancel the pity party.
It wasn’t easy. Every part of me wanted to cling to my frustration, my anger, my righteous indignation. But into a small moment, God poured a few words of loving kindness, a text of gratitude.
God is always with us, so we can be there for others. But sometimes He’s there for us, so we we’re not there for others with our frustrations, anger, and that ol’ self-righteous indignation. Sometimes He’s there with a moment of joy in the middle of chaos and overwhelm.
In the New Testament is the book of Titus, a letter the apostle Paul wrote to a young co-worker, Titus. Writing to Titus, Paul knew that our walk as people of faith would be most compelling when we fully participate in public life (It’s what Jesus did!), when our lives look culturally similar on the surface, (Days that go well and days that don’t.), but when it’s revealed that we live by a totally different value system, knowing we have a God of loving kindness, a God who insists on being there for us in the smallest ways as well as the bigger ones.
You and I are women of faith and we are fully participating in public life, albeit pandemic-style. On the surface our lives look culturally similar. We have hard days, difficult weeks, stressful days, frustrating weeks. Too much stress, too many mis-understandings, not enough answers, no breaks. But you and I live by a totally different value system, because God steps into our frustrations, grabs hold of our anger, and stops us in our tracks of self-righteous indignation. I found joy because God found me in a small moment. God will be there for you, too, in times of frustration, anger, and—should it happen—self-righteous indignation. Watch for Him.
Two things to consider: 1) Find a rock and 2) Find joy.
First, find a rock. Go outside and find the roughest, ugliest rock. My rock is smooth, but beside it on my desk, I’ve added a second one, a rough one. I’ve also added a little gravel. Yep, gravel. Put it somewhere where you’ll see it—when times are great and also when times are rough. Then, under your rock, put a sticky note or a small piece of paper that says, “Find joy.”
Tiffany Gough (Goff), one of Fave Lifestyles contributors, shared a beautiful post encouraging us to “Find Your Joy.” Her article talks about the gift of joy and the importance of finding joy. She suggests writing down things that bring us joy and putting the list somewhere we know we’ll see it. She ends asking us to keep joy in our hearts.
This next week find a rock, find joy. As Kurt nicely reminded me at the end of our discussion, when we don’t find joy, we can find ourselves being a butt.” That’s my guy!
Today I close with a verse from the Gospel of John, chapter 15, verse 11, where Jesus says, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
May your joy be full!
Deanna Nowadnick is the author of Fruit of My Spirit and Signs in Life.
Speaker | Writer | Author
Before my father died, he reminded me that Mom had asked me to write a book. At the time the boys were in college, and the notion of writing was unfathomable. Writers write books. By the time my boys were adults, I’d run out of excuses. I was also at that age when I could pause and reflect.
Fruit of My Spirit: Reframing Life in God’s Grace was my first publishing endeavor. My second was Signs in Life: Finding Direction in Our Travels with God. Both are collections of stories that tell of God’s love and faithfulness. Both tell of His remarkable grace and mercy.
When not writing, I serve as the Client Service Coordinator for The Planner’s Edge, an investment advisory firm in Washington state. I’m active in my church, serving on the Leadership Team and gathering with a wonderful group of ladies to study and giggle over lattes and chocolate. On my desk is a rock with the words “Choose Joy!” etched in it. It’s my inspiration for each day. As an author, it is my hope that my own words might share that joy we find together as children of God.
With Him, it can be so.
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