Joy is trying to break into my house over the last several weeks. A little yellow goldfinch has been knocking on various windows in my house daily, and while I am not exactly sure why he is trying to enter my house, I smile every time I watch him cock his head in confusion when the window panel prevents him from entering my house. I am coming to the realization that he tends to visit when things are emotionally heavy and so I have named this bird Joy and believe that Joy is trying to break into my house. I have been talking to a lot of people lately who feel stuck in a hopeless and joyless cycle and find themselves focusing on all that is without hope or joy instead of all that contains hope and joy. Each day we have the choice as to whether we focus on moments of joy (or a bird named Joy) or moments of hopelessness. I choose the former but don’t get me wrong; I grieve, too, yet if I only focused on the losses, I would only see the losses. Each day I have to look for where Joy is trying to break into my life, because I will tend to see Joy when I look for it. Ask God to show you where joy is today and hope will follow on its tail.
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
How did you react to the recent national traumas of these past two weeks? Did it cause you to want to say or do something about the pain you witnessed or did it make you want to shrink back into a place of self-numbing withdrawal? Trauma causes us to have flight or fight responses to other things that stir up pain inside of us. Think about your friends and family and your reactions to their pain. Standing back and watching friends and family experience pain is difficult in many ways. When we see someone in pain, we can experience empathy for similar pains from our past and we do one of two things: we rush to the scene to help the person in any way we can, or we turn our heads to the side and look away. If we do not look at it, we will not experience the pain as strongly. The fight to help the trauma and the flight away from it can both be unhealthy responses when dealing with someone who maintains foolish habits and keeps making the same poor choices over and over. The Bible is full of many proverbial instructions on dealing with foolish behavior. The general rules are summarized as to have boundaries and consequences for foolish behavior, but to not expend any of your resources of time, finances, and wisdom on people who repeatedly make poor choices. People have to experience the consequences or the pain of their poor choices in order make the changes they need to make in their lives. Pain motivates us to make a decision to alleviate pain, but if people are carrying our pain for us in areas in which we are foolish, we will not feel pain. What are the areas in which you are carrying the pain for those around you who are repeatedly making foolish choices?
- Do you make excuses for your family’s or friend’s foolishness?
- Do you rescue your family member from the consequences of their foolish choices?
- Do you make decisions for family or friends when they refuse to not make decisions?
- Do you to protect people’s feelings and not tell them the truth of their actions?
- Do you allow your boundaries or values to change because of your family and friend’s foolish behaviors?
If you are doing the above actions, you are enabling more foolishness in the lives of friends and family. It is time to stop fighting to and flighting from the pain of those around us and it’s time to actually help.
Proverbs 26:4-5 Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.