Winter days at home. Doesn’t that sound lovely? Just say yes and listen to my latest discoveries about joy versus angst and complaining.
It is the easiest thing during January to complain. The weather will offer reason to complain any way it comes. This year we don’t have enough snow. And it has been icy and rainy more than snowy. I am guilty of complaining about this myself. Whoever heard of rain in January!
The ash build up that must be removed from the wood stoves is perfect complaint material. While I shoveled the ashes into the bucket this morning dust and smoke flew up and is now settled on the piano and books. I don’t like that part about heating with wood. But the fire burns so much brighter and warmer not choked with ashes.
Or the government being shut down. People don’t like to work without pay. Not even security people. Besides, the news is full of the conflict and elbowing and shouting that goes with negotiating and navigating decision making, It’s all so ouchy and angry. Maybe scary, if you get carried away with the cares of this world.
Yesterday Amy stopped in for coffee. No one understands and sharpens me quite like our daughters. And I’ve been missing our talks. Winter home stuff, you know! As perfect as the scenario is: coffee by the fire, surrounded by “home”, and cabin loveliness and blessed quiet and beauty, complaining can happen. We talked about real things of marriage and life and family and ideals, laughing and crying, or just talking, maybe but always solving and comforting or letting go of the chaff. Always there’s chaff, because we’re humans with trial or tragedy to sift.
And there are always problems. Problems like bouncing piano keys. It was enough of an annoyance that I didn’t want to play anymore. I’ve been walking past without sitting down for months. But Brad is starting piano lessons again so it had to be fixed. One way to avoid complaining about something is to ignore it, but it is hard to ignore a bad piano. So I had to find a better way. I took the piano apart and found a way to adjust it. That was profoundly like finding joy by action and choice.
James 1:2 says, My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials. I was curious to see if we could find ways to count and what is this joy? I use a concordance and the center column reference for study most times. I found that Joy is to be found where Jesus is and that it is sort of measure-able. Anyway, one can have a fullness of it. The Psalmist said that joy comes in the morning after a night of weeping. That’s curious on several levels. For one thing, isn’t it kind of messy to weep all night and feel good in the morning? Shouldn’t we be more emotionally stable than that? I guess I like taking permission to settle into the emotional reality of life. God made us girls emotional along with our swinging hormones. It’s a thing, and it’s okay.
Secondly, I have thought that what you get in the morning after a night’s weeping is a headache and sandy eyes. How is that Joy? Perhaps because mornings are new and fresh? Dawn brings hope despite sandy eyes when you think about it.
I remember when I was a teenager, being in agony in my mind about something during the night and going downstairs to find Mom. She always listened awhile and then she’d say, “Go back to bed and go to sleep. Everything feels better in the morning. You will be able to think straighter when it’s light.”
In the Revelation, Jesus said that those who overcome will receive the Morning Star. I’d be into receiving a Morning Star. I’ll choose joy given the opportunity, right?
I discovered in my study that joy is entered upon and received and counted and can be used to draw water from a salvation well. So it is not just something that happens to happen to me if I happen to be at the right place at the right time and if all goes well. Joy is what I make to happen by living in Christ. In His presence. In direct contact with trial and trouble. Joy isn’t, until it has a backdrop. Who cares about joy if they’ve never been sad or angry?
Counting Joy At Home
~ A clean silverware drawer. I put away most of the unmatched, but still usable pieces. This makes me happy.
~ Two new bird feeders. Elv hung them just outside the window on the framing.
~ The nice camera on my “new” phone is amazing. I have no trouble taking joy with being able to take close up pictures of a chick-a-dee.
~ Hydroponic tulips growing on the windowsill.
~ The backdrop of cold weather that makes our fires cozy. Cleaned out ashes, too.
~The temptation to complain about hardship that reminds us to thank Jesus for our wonderful Salvation and blessings.
~ New patience and renewed faith after a bout of depression. To realize that I’m not alone. And to know that to feel condemned is the problem to be tackled … not the shame for maybe having said the wrong thing or too much or not enough. That’s chaff. The trying of my faith. It’s the opposite of joy and I can use it for a valid backdrop to fullness of joy with Jesus to rescue me. I wish I could say this more clearly. Depression seems to reach in around faith, making joy seem illicit. I have spent so much of my life trying to not make a mistake with my words and attitudes so that I don’t have to feel guilt and condemnation. Nothing of my own power works. Only the taking of Joy through what Jesus did and is (I Am) and always will be, our Morning Star, makes me to feel joy.
~ Feelings do matter, after the facts are settled. Joy is for finding and enjoying.