Last week I wrote about what Daily Bread means to me and how I hope to share my bible journal entries (more about the S.O.A.P. method here) at least once a week. I really enjoy working on this blog as both a creative outlet and opportunity to practice discipline. I’m still learning how to put it all together, but I don’t think you can go wrong with sharing the Word of God 🙂
Keep in mind I am still a work in progress, so my understanding of scripture is simply that…..what little me got out of it and how I think it could be applicable to my life. There is always an opportunity for a deeper knowledge of context, or historical understanding, so I am sure I will misinterpret some things. All the more reason to SHARE my entries with you! Together we can be the “iron that sharpens iron” as we work together to mediate on His Word!
This entry is from my reading yesterday in Ecclesiastes 5:18-20. Whenever I have read this verse in the past, especially considering the preceding verses, I walked away with the general “don’t chase money, it’s not our source of happiness” concept. Growing up poor, I haven’t personally struggled with that issue, which may have been why I kinda skimmed over this section in the past. Thankfully, with the S.O.A.P. method I took a more detailed look:
“Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life. And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God. God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.” Ecc 5:18-20 NLT
The lines, “enjoy your work and accept your lot in life” and “so busy enjoying life, that they take no time to brood over the past” stuck out to me most. Countless times in the bible we see where God calls us to work, and shows us the value of working hard. Even Adam had work on DAY 1 of his life! So just accept the fact that you will have to work, recognize the ability to work is a blessing and take joy in it! Secondly, perhaps the chaos or workload in our life never seems to end because IT is a gift from God! Maybe instead of fighting the workload, we can embrace it as a gift to keep our minds on today, the beauty of this moment, rather than the wounds or frustrations of yesterday. I also couldn’t helping thinking about it in terms of how we interact with people, not just the physical work of life. That relationships take effort, and you need to accept people for who they are in order to find joy in the connection.
In regards to work, I need to kinda suck it up, and just KNOW that it’s not supposed to be easy. Maybe I won’t feel like I’m drowning in the pressures of motherhood and life if I quit treating it like an affliction. I love being a wife and mother, and though I don’t see my children as a burden, I find myself feeling like a failure more often than not. I recognize that in my exhaustion I’ve developed this idea that I’m too weak to carry this load and subliminally felt that if people really cared, they’d rescue me. Maybe, just maybe….this IS MY RESCUE. What if I started to see it for what it is instead of how I feel? It’s just laundry. It’s just dirty dishes. It’s just a math lesson. It’s just a pile of papers. If I could quit letting my “success” in these areas determine my self worth, I’d see the bigger picture. If I could remember that I am the daughter of the King of Kings, loved and redeemed by His Blood, and it’s his approval alone that I seek. I need to remember, that the ONLY way I’d ever be able to do the work HE has for me, is by His Grace and with His Strength.
Relationship wise, I need to quit expecting people to meet my needs and accept them for who they are. I can struggle with pride as I think I hold myself to a high standard and consider myself quick to admit my failures. Somewhere along the line, that opinion fed into a twisted rationalization of holding other people to extreme standards. I don’t expect people to be perfect, I know that’s crazy…but somehow I act like it’s less crazy to demand they subscribe to my definition of their role, and that I have a right to be upset when they won’t at least admit they failed my expectations. When did I let my hurt and pain turn me into a relational dictator? Maybe instead of focusing on what people need to do in order to make it EASIER for me to love them, or fulfill my part of the relationship….I could, idk… LOVE THEM UNCONDITIONALLY!
Note: Please do not think I am condoning an emotionally toxic or physically abusive relationship by any means. If you find yourself in that situation, please reach out to a trusted professional for help and guidance to lead you to safety. I am just that I personally need to shift the focus in my interactions with my loved ones and close friends from, “what they should be doing if they love me” to “what should I be doing if I love them?”
Thank you Lord for directing me to this passage and loving me enough to show me the errors of my ways. Help me to recognize that the work You have for me is a blessing and with You, Your yolk is easy and Your burden is light. Help me Lord to see and behold the beauty and joy in trials, to praise You no matter what and to know that with You all things are possible…that it is the joy of the Lord which gives me strength. Thank you Lord for my family and friends, forgive me for not appreciating them more or expecting them to meet my needs when it is You I should run to in all things. Forgive me for letting my expectations cause me to dwell on my pain rather seeing the work of relationships as the blessing it is. Please help me to see and love people as you do. Thank you for drawing me to your Word and for living where I have the freedom to share it. In your Holy Name I pray, Amen 🙂
So in a nutshell, circumstances are not our source of happiness, God is. With that in mind, we can focus on the work He has for us, and press on with joy to bring him Glory. We can also remember to accept people for who they are, and love them as Christ did, without condition as we look to God to fulfill our needs.
John 10:10 reminds us that “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”
That’s what I noticed this time….how about you? Have you read other verses that support this idea? Maybe a different line spoke to you…or in a different way? I’d love to hear your observations in the comments!