I looked at the smiling picture of myself and thought “I’ve not been that woman lately.”
Of course there are always reasons for this- everyone’s been sick, the kids are in a phase, I’ve been too busy, the husband has been working late, yada yada.
But I get to choose. I get to choose what kind of woman I am every single day regardless of what’s going on around me.
I want to be that woman. I want to be that smiling woman who has three small children. I want to be the woman who has joy in Christ when life is crazy or difficult or pressed for time. I want to be that woman who walks in confidence when her husband’s schedule is busy and she works with small children while completing some creative work. I want to be the woman who runs a happy home because she has a happy heart and finds fulfillment in Christ and not her circumstances.
I don’t want who I am to be dictated by how I feel or how easy my day is or how well my children are behaving. I don’t want to be washed around by the changing of culture or current events. I want to be grounded and steady in Christ- rooted just like my word of the year.
Sometimes I’m not her.
It’s time to forgo the excuses, no matter how good they might be. Why not make the necessary changes instead of wallowing where I am even if I have a good excuse to be there? Life will never be perfect and you can’t even wait on it to be easy. Who you are now is who you are becoming.
It all starts by acting how I want to feel not by acting how I feel. Most days there is a drastic difference. It’s bad enough to feel crazy (and it happens) but I don’t want to act crazy.
Unfortunately I don’t have a easily-remembered five step program to being a joyful woman. I don’t have any mind tricks or books to read. My heart is the problem and so I must work on my heart. But here are some places to start.
1. Read your Bible. Not for a to-do list but to spend time with Jesus. Look for what He’s saying to you; the Bible is a living book after all.
2. Pray. Ask for God’s heart for your family and home or your place at work or whatever your issue is. Stay in communication with God throughout the day.
3. Pick your place. Go all in on the work God has given you. The grass is not greener somewhere else. Jim Elliot said, “Wherever you are, be all there.”
4. Dismiss your excuses. You pick the person you are every day regardless of what’s going on. Quit allowing yourself “reasons” to behave poorly.
5. Practice joy. What do I mean by practice joy? Smile when you don’t feel like it. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Kneel down and look those children in the eyes while you talk to them in a quiet voice.
6. Be fully there. Have a place for social media (I love it) and leave it there. Don’t be on your phone or computer all the time. Quit running away and engage where you are. Leave all the distractions behind.
All of this ebb and flows. When I get one in check another is out of place and I have to start working there. It’s a constant battle to serve Jesus well. Not to gain His approval/love/acceptance or earn salvation but to please Him with my life because, after all, it is His life. He died for it; He paid for it. I want it to make Him happy.
Smiling pictures aren’t always real life. Sometimes real life is cleaning the cereal off the floor again and breaking up another fight. But I can be that woman with joy in her heart regardless of what’s going on around me. I can choose to live in the confidence and calm of Christ when I’d rather spin out of control. But not by myself. I’m not that strong or self-controlled and I’m glad. Because if I could do it myself I’m afraid I would.
I need Jesus. So do you.