Ever said that to yourself? I know I have. It has sometimes in the past been easier for me to tell myself that, rather than turning it over to God, who can and will remind me that, “I’ve got this JoAnn”. But… I can easily forget to take it to God first, because I feel like I got it on my own. What a mistake I, and maybe you also, can make by this mindset. I need to take it to God first.
It’s like me in honing my skills for making sourdough bread. I can try making it based on what I think I know, or even what a friend does. However, we know in baking there are many variables and if I don’t know what those are, I’m not going to have the same results as others, or even as good of results as others. It is best if I go witness what another experienced baker does, or read a book about it from their experience. I can learn all those little tricks and techniques that can help me be successful. But even then, I can have a loaf come out of the oven and looks as though I have arrived, but really my rise is left lacking in my expectations. I have to go back and learn what I may be doing wrong. And just l like listening to others can confuse our decisions or direction in life, so it is with reading various books about making bread. They all have their ideas of what works best. I find at times that I am in the middle of the kitchen with books spread out around me and thinking, “What the heck? Does anyone agree on the same technique?” The answer is… nope. We are each unique and different and so how we approach even making bread is an example of how different we are. Our home and environment make a difference in how the bread loaf comes out. But as in life, being a life long learner, I will learn more from experience, and I am not afraid to try it again. I can even go to God first with my bread making to help me. You say, “Oh I don’t think God cares about how our bread comes out, JoAnn”. Well…I think He does. He cares about what we care about. Am I trying to make bread when there is lots activitiy going on around me? Am I stressed out just to get it done? You see, I want to enjoy the process, and then I know I will enjoy the yummy bread too!
In the same way that I am learning to be a better bread baker, I have to remember that God and His Word is where I need to go to first for my daiily life needs. He knows. He knows me. He welcomes my seeking Him. He has the answers, even when I might not get to know what those answers are right now. I am thankful that reading the Bible does not vary and that I can get the same insight and answers no matter when, where or how I read it, which personally I like the Bible in front of me to read from rather than a phone. I like the insights from the notes in the Bible to help give understanding if I need it. It is sure something I need with all that is going on right now. I need to read it, be encourage by it, and know the truth of it. I DO need to take time to read it, however. Our life this year has been hard enough without feeling like there is no hope. There IS hope. I have a choice how I look at it, and my response to it as well. I could complain, rant and rave, be upset, step into the drama, or I can go my way and stay in peace; keep my environment inviting, keep doing things that I love, praying about what is going on, and then let the rest go. That is what I do. It’s a good way to live.
Let me ask you a question…who do you put first in your life? We hear so much about taking care of ourselves, and putting ourselves first. But I don’t think it means in a selfish way. We should be caring for ourselves everyday in small ways and moments of time. How does your pyramid look? Who is at the top above everything else in your life? Do you have a tendancy to always think of yourself first? Be honest. Or, is it easy for you to put others first?
Huddled at the moment in my office space with candles burning, I ask myself the same questions. I am happy to share that I feel I put myself down on the pyramid a long ways because it doesn’t matter to me to have approval, the most attention, or to do something for the sake of someone knowing about it, or to think I am better than someone else. Doing for others comes naturally for me and I enjoy it. Even my photos are something I share more for giving you a fun moment to enjoy, rather than, just for a photography hobby I enjoy. Now in these times, it becames more difficult to do some types of things for others, but we CAN find ways. I believe my kids have learned that from me, at least I hope I have been an influence on them in that regard. They think nothing of helping another person where they can. I love that trait in them!
So don’t be discouraged; be encouraged!! Go to school with yourself. Keep learning. Keep doing the things that YOU enjoy. It keeps you happy and focused on what brings joy to you. Light the candle, give candle light at your dinner, even IF it is just you. When we do that, we are more likely to feel joy in our hearts. Life is harder at various times than other times. It is just that way. But knowing we can have a choice as to how we live in those times, like now, means we can make ways that work for us to cheer us on. When we do for others, we aren’t thinking about ourselves and our problems. We are bringing joy to someone else who may need it more than we do! I can guarantee it works!
Me? Well…I am putting up Christmas early this year to give myself a great long season of Christmas! It feels right and good to do so! Going back to the basics.
Have a joyous and fun Christmas Season!
Until next time…