Yesterday I finished reading the book of Hebrews. If you weren't aware, I am working on reading through the Bible... The last 4 chapters of Hebrews I just wrote and wrote and wrote pages in my prayer journal. So much good. But in light of the day I had, I am going to focus in on the verses I kept replaying in my head today.
12:1-2, 14-15 ~ Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross... Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up....
Today was one of those days where you realize that life does feel like a marathon that I'm halfway through. And my muscles are in fact aching. And I wish that I could just pull myself over to the side and check out of the race for awhile. But I've been told to run. Not walk, not jog. Run. And so I persevere. Granted there are changes I hope to make throughout the next 6 months (prayers appreciated), but for now, run.
I am fixing my eyes on Jesus trying to find the faith to believe I am in the place that He chose for me to do the job He chose for me and perfectly both designed me for and designed for me. Even though everything in my body is screaming "no no no". And then we come to that word Joy.
Oh Joy. So much deeper than transient emotion. A sustaining contentment. And how on earth do I find a way to be content when I'm overwhelmed by lists and expectations and people who seem to lack the ability to phrase what the need to say respectfully?? I remember that my responses reflect Christ. Who endured the cross for my sake. And I find joy in the fact that I can control my responses in such a way as to reflect Christ and that's sharing the gospel and that is the one thing I love more than any other. It's crazy because the thought of sharing the gospel through my actions really does make me smile! I can live in peace with people who come off rudely when I find joy in getting to show them the love of Christ. How priveledged am I that I even get to show others Christ?!?! I wish I could say in the moment I do that. I don't. But typing and reflecting on it, I know I will start my day with the goal of trying to respond with Christlike joy to even negative attitudes. Without holiness no one will see the Lord. What a weighty statement. But I want more than anything for my life to reflect Christ. So I will persevere in hopes of sharing Christ.
Not just for their good, but for mine. So that I don't miss the grace of God. Ohhh 1000 gifts. The list that I must keep counting for it is my one antibiotic against a negative, anxious, overwhelmed heart. Some gifts from today: lunch with a friend where we reflected on how our jobs show Christ, eating dinner with Jude and him telling me all about his day- I love that part of 3yr olds, encouraging words from a friend, encouraging words from my bf, a vanilla latte, getting to read Kevin Henkes books this week, reading Katy and the Big Snow with Jude and talking about buldozers (he got one for Christmas) and watching him act out the story, the Bachelor comes on tonight, the sunset, a golden cat which perfectly camouflaged into the golden grass, Jude making up songs, having leftovers so I didn't have to make dinner in my exhaustion..... And even with that list the grace of God, I know, is so extensive, there are 1000s I'm still missing.... like my brakes worked today... or I managed to fill up my gas before it went up 10 cents.... Oh the love of God that is immeasurably more than I can imagine. Oh the joy of running this race in a way that causes no one around me to miss seeing the Lord through me.
Here's to teaching this semester. And if you think about it, pray for me, and all the teachers :)