This past weekend, my daughter, Kristen and I made the long trip up to Kentucky to visit my son, Dave and his wife, Leslie. Being Memorial Day weekend, Kristen had an extra day off from school so it made the trip worth the eight hours to get there.
Saturday morning, we three girls went out on the deck to enjoy the sunshine and the nice breeze. This is the kind of weather I like to sunbath in because you do not feel the heat so badly until later in the afternoon. I was content with the calmness as I relaxed and soaked up some rays.
We were laughing and joking about this and that, when something out of the blue happened. Suddenly, I felt a plop of bird poop hit my left arm. It was not to the left or right but slap dab in the middle near my watch. At first, I could not believe the bird, which I never saw, could have had such perfect aim. Then, I wanted to tell that bird a thing or two. Finally, I merely went inside and washed it off. When I came back out, the incident became the joke and our laugh for the day.
Later, I asked the Lord if there was something he wanted me to see since the bird’s aim was so sharp. That is when I hear Him speak to my heart.
“Don’t allow sudden negative actions of others steal your joy.”
This has been a difficult lesson to learn. Suddenly, a phone call or friend would come by and upset my day with their attitudes or actions. I would mull over the situation again and again. At first, I wanted to lash back or cultivate self-piety but I knew neither one of those answers was a positive solution. After I started praying, God began inserting this phrase into my thinking.
“Are you going to let them steal your joy?”
When the Holy Spirit said it the first time, it surprised me. I wasn’t sure how to respond. I felt justified in my feelings of anger and piety. However, the more I thought about what God was trying to teach me, I knew I had to learn to clear my thoughts of “them” and turn my attention to something more joyful like my plans for the rest of the day, events coming up or maybe even make plans to visit a friend. Cultivating the joyful thoughts in that moment would be the strength I needed to overcome. Once I changed my thinking, my attitudes and actions followed too.
The joy of the Lord is my strength.