I often wonder if God looks at me and shakes his head, saying, “When will my child but learn? When will she fully surrender—stay surrendered—to my good and hope-filled plans?”

He’s certainly given me ample guidance, encouragement, and warnings. In fact, for over a month now He’s been reminding me of the need for praise–commanding me to live a life of gratitude. (You may remember my post, Is Your Attitude Holding You Back. If not, read it here.) So then why does my attitude appear to be bungee cord jumping? One minute I’m singing hallelujah, the next I’m gritting my teeth, stressing over the temporal, the insignificant. Maybe it’s time I started reading my own blog posts. 🙂 I also need to camp out in Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiastes 5:18-20

18 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 life19 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. 20 God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.”

 Our house has been crazy. We’re in the process of moving, which means rooms need to be painted; tilers, electricians, landscapers, roofers, moving companies, and window-cleaners need to be contacted. Clutter needs to be hauled away; floors, corners, and floorboards need to be scrubbed, and all while maintaining our normal responsibilities. Needless to say, the tension in our home has increased and there’s been a few instances of tears.
After almost a week of bickering, yesterday, I finally put feet to my faith by demonstrating grace instead of finger-pointing, grace instead of frustration, and love instead of bitterness.
An amazing thing happened. I had fun, and what started out as an exhausting chore turned into a special time with my family.
Imagine three people in a cramped bathroom, paintbrushes in hand. Are you cringing or laughing? Envisioning temper-tantrums or giggles?
It could go either way, couldn’t it? And thanks be to God for His mercy and grace, I chose to embrace the latter, and as a result, had a wonderful time with my family. A bonding time that ended in hugs instead of tears and laughter instead of frustration.
God tells us to enjoy our work. This command is easy to follow when we’re doing something we love. But what about when it’s tedious, discouraging, or wroth with frustration?
God tells us to enjoy it anyway, to accept where we are and quit fighting, striving, angsting over what we don’t have. Because here’s the deal–complaining and angsting won’t get you that new job, or pay that bill, or teleport that annoying co-worker to another planet. What it will do is make you more miserable.
Looking back over the past week, my misery came from a faulty focus. I’ve been frustrated at how much writing time I’ve lost instead of surrendering my day into God’s hands. I’ve been frustrated at our economy and how that effects our relocation instead of surrendering our check book and future to God. I’ve been angsting over the future–all those what-ifs–instead of enjoying life. I’ve been rehashing the past–past moves, past locations, past frustrations, instead of embracing each day.
 But God says let it go. Let it all go and rest in my hands, my plan, my love.
As always, freedom and peace comes from trust and full surrender.

Tomorrow, join me at Wielding the Sword of the Spirit Blogtalk radio as I talk with author, publisher, and radio host Donald Parker about throwing off joy-sapping negativity so that we can live lives of gratitude. (I believe he takes call-ins. 347-215-6902. I’d love to hear from you!) The best way to do this is to take our eyes off ourselves and our problems and place them on God and others. Listen at 5 pm CT to find out how I hope to make gratitude, love, and acts of service contagious by launching a “Reach Out to Live Out” campaign in April. I’ll also talk about my “Beauty For the Broken” campaign which launches in June, and Christ to the World Ministries.

Life’s too short to remain consumed with self. Life’s too short for white-knucking. God invites us to embrace the abundant life He promised, but first we’ve got to let everything go–our plans, our desires, our selfishness, our sin.

God’s got plans–big plans–and He invites us to join Him as His ambassadors. The question is, what kind of representatives will be? Those that radiate joy and the love of Christ or those that portray lives of angst and misery? The former is contagious. The latter repels.

Join us at Living by Grace as we talk about the benefits of “accepting our lot” and “enjoying our work.”