As every baseball lover knows, strikes and curve balls are great when happening to your opponent, but not so much fun when they are happening to you. The past eight months or so, strikes and curve balls have abounded. During this time I literally wanted to just go to sleep and wake up again in eight or nine months to see the outcome. I did not want to be in the game! Thankfully during this time Kathy Pingel was leading an excellent & applicable Bible study titled “Armor of God” by Priscilla Shirer at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and School, which was incredibly helpful to me. One day as I came out of Bible study the school children were climbing and giggling on the big snow hills near the school. On that cold day my heart was warmed as I remembered the joy of my boys playing on those snow hills. Nothing brought happiness in the winter time to my boys as much as being king of the snow pile. That night I wrote that “happy dance” moment down in my journal. I began writing “happy dance” moments in my journal every day. The moment that brought happy dancing to me the next day was a washing machine that did not leak as I did a load of laundry - the night before when I went to bed, I noticed that for some unknown reason water was pouring out of my washing machine. I do not know why and thankfully it hasn’t leaked again. Every single day, I experienced happy dance moments: brilliant blue skies and sparkling white snow glistening in bright sunshine, flowering spring trees, beach walks, musicals and cast parties, family fun times punctuated with love and laughter.
Bring on the curve balls. James declares, “I count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” (James 1:2-3)
By writing down happy dance moments, and also going back and reading them, I have experienced peace & joy. Every single day, I have had delightful moments! I realized I didn’t have to know the future outcome of this uncertain time, but I could trust God and live in the present enjoying the blessings of this moment.
In “The Screwtape Letters” by C. S. Lewis, Screwtape, the older and wiser devil, is coaching Wormwood, his young nephew, about tempting people to worry about the future. “He (God) would therefore have them continually concerned either with eternity (which means being concerned with Him) or with the Present-either meditating on their eternal union with, or separation from, Himself, or else obeying the present voice of conscience, bearing the present cross, receiving the present grace, giving thanks for the present pleasure. Our business is to get them away from the eternal, and from the Present. With this in view, we sometimes tempt a human to live in the Past. But that is of limited value, for they have some real knowledge of the past...far better to make them live in the Future...thought about the Future inflames hope and fear. Also it is unknown to them, so in making them think about it we make them think of unrealities.” How often we are tempted to live in the past or future, instead of enjoying life with God and enjoying the present.
Writing down my happy dance moments has continually helped me to live in the present, enabling me to give “thanks for the pleasant pleasure”. As I read over my happy dance moments, I see how much good happens and I’m glad I have not missed all the wonderful blessings of the present.
This morning in my devotion I loved reading about Habakkuk’s rejoicing, in spite of all kind of trouble. “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the oil fail and the floods yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls,” -wow, that’s some serious strikes- “ yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; He makes my feet like the deer’s; He makes me tread on my high places.” (Habakkuk 5;17-19)
I don’t know what curve balls and strikes are coming your way, but I strongly encourage you to WRITE down your HAPPY DANCE joy moments every single day. You, too, will experience great joy and God will reassure you that, in spite of strikes and curve balls, there are base hits, doubles, and even home runs, too!
(If you like listening to podcasts, I would encourage you to listen to MurdyCreative.com-October 14, 2018 called "The Present". Having written this blog post before I heard his podcast, I was surprised. I felt like he was taking the words right out of my mouth??!! Almost like we are related or something. ;) Obviously, this year in our family we have had multiple discussions about living in the present.)