Joy, Faith, Hope, Encouragement

I think I am couple blogs behind.  I’ve been thinking about these “4 words” for almost a month now.  That’s all they are – 4 words.  If that is where you want to leave them.  I want – am aiming – for them to be more than just words.  In other words, I want them to be verbs in my life, not just nouns (technically the noun form of encouragement would be encourager – and that would be okay).

There is a song that includes the line “there’s always a reason to always choose joy”.  Sometimes that is a challenge.  I lost my wallet a month ago.  There is a slim to bordering on miraculous chance I will find it somewhere in our house.  More likely, I dropped it or left it on a counter somewhere.  Whoever found it chose to avail themselves of the cash inside and not turn the wallet in or attempt to return it.  I had saved several hundred dollars and stashed it in the wallet.  Not smart, I get it – but that’s what I did.  I am (still) trying to convince myself of the joy of starting to save all over again and hoping that perhaps the person who found it really needed that money more than I did.

Even harder – choosing joy when I learned that my uncle had passed away.  I knew he had some health problems – some really tough ones – but this was still a shock.  I’ve written about him and my aunt before.  They have “the Funny Farm”.  There is great joy in knowing him and his family.  Great joy in the wonderful memories that flood my mind just thinking about him. 

Faith – when I choose joy, sometimes it requires me to really exercise my faith.  Faith in things unseen, faith in the goodness of people.  Exercising faith requires me to let go of control (this exercise is really tough for me – harder than pull-ups, fast running, burpees, weight-lifting , etc.).  When I choose to exercise my faith, it becomes easier the next time (just like physical exercise!?!?), and starts to feel very comforting.

I have been listening to Zig Ziglar, Wayne Dyer, Brene Brown, and Tara Brach on audiobook.  If you’re looking for inspiration – check them out.  Zig talks about the importance of being a person than inspires hope and encouragement in others.  A worthwhile endeavor indeed.  If you can set your ego aside, get your focus somewhere other than yourself, sharing encouragement and hope can be an act of gratitude.  It doesn’t have to be anything grandiose or extravagant.  Simply share (honestly) a sense of hopeful encouragement.  You don’t have to look far to give it a try.  And, yes, in these COVID times, you can be socially distanced, appropriately masked and still do it.

When dealing in hope and encouragement, don’t go there if you don’t mean it.  As an example, I offered to start something I thought would be beneficial.  Received very positive feedback and spent a great deal of time and energy in planning.  Reached out for help in implementing – and ….. nothing.  I choose to look at this as a lesson to remind me not to offer encouragement and hope to someone else if I am not going to back up the words.  Verbs, not nouns.

My Grace Lessons:  Choose Joy, Exercise Faith – Share Hope, Give Encouragement

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