Exult: “show or feel elation or jubilation, especially as the result of a success.”
Is this you? Is this me? It’s not at 6:30am, I can divulge that much to you. I used to work in a factory. And when I think about “exulting” I think of him. He was a man who was different. He was different because when he came in, not only did he bring a smile to everyone’s face, but people were drawn to him. It was amazing to experience. I would watch as workers just wanted to be near him because he laughed, he sang, he danced, he even jumped up and down. He was a light in a dark place. He showed joy as he stocked the vending machine. Did you imagine him having a “more sophisticated” job? He was the one who stocked the candy bars and chips. I don’t know if this was his ultimate goal or not, but he let his light shine where he was. He wasn’t waiting for the day when he “made it” to get excited about life.He was amazingly exultant right where he was and he changed lives because of it. I looked forward to seeing him because he always had something good to say.
As I get older, I realize it’s more difficult to hold on to and talk about the good stuff. The “bad doesn’t outweigh the good”, as my wise father would say, but it’s so much easier to gripe, isn’t it? We are so blessed and yet most days if not all, it’s a struggle to make the gratitude flow. *Instantly I’m reminded of yesterday when the “blessed truck” (read “bless-ed” as per Methodist church circa 1988-this is better than referring to it as a mule-ish barnyard animal) pulled out in front of me. It wasn’t thankfulness that I was safe flowing out of my mouth at that point. Keep in mind I’m waaaaaaaaaay better than I used to be (see above: I worked in a factory. My mouth was an issue Jesus Himself had to tweak.)
My point is that it is work to think on and speak the positive. We are supposed to be that light. There are quite a few I would imagine that would shout and honk and yell not-so-creative names out the window at the blessed truck, but we are not them. We are jubilant! We are holy and righteous and good! We have to adjust our mindsets daily at the very least. I’m recognizing mine needs adjusted a wee bit more than that. Maybe hourly. Kids have a tendency to stomp out my good mood like a finished cigarette. Elation is work, but it’s worth it. We are unbelievably blessed. So plaster on a smile and fake it til ya make it if you have to, but God says to rejoice in his name all day long and exult in His righteousness. (Psalm 89:16) It’s only through Him that we can see the awesome.
My thoughts are about our thoughts today. What’s goin’ into that beautifully-created brain of yours? Ideas and thoughts that build you and others up? Or are you feeding into the idea that it really doesn’t matter what goes in and how that affects your thoughts?
I personally heard “garbage in-garbage out” so many times when I was younger, I wondered if it was truly something I needed to prepare for by setting up trash service. I wasn’t sure what it meant, but now that I look around God’s beautiful green and blue earth, well, in short, I get it. We tend, as human beings to stink things up sometimes with our garbage. We say things we don’t mean, or even say things we DO mean, but are just plain mean! We don’t take hold of the thoughts that keep us down below the level God wants us (i.e. “You’re not good enough. You can’t do that. Whaaaat? You’re gonna go to church??” Or “Whaaaaaat? You’re gonna ASK someone to go to church?”) We are to grab onto these thoughts after we identify how they affect our actions, and just throw ‘em out. Replace them with a positive thought and go about your day. I believe it’s one of the most effective methods to change your life.
Say you’re taking a nice country drive (people still do that where I’m from) and you’re enjoying the sights: deer, sunshine, green leaves, gorgeous pastures, and then…what do we have here? A sack of “fast food memorabilia” if you will: fry containers, used napkins, “burger” wrappers. These are all scattered along with a broken TV and possibly someone’s unfortunate Oldsmobile bumper. This should not be so folks. We are to show God respect, glory, and honor and I firmly believe that if we dump our trash out on His creation, well, wouldn’t it be like walking into someone’s house and scraping the caked-on mud off your shoes? It’s disrespectful. It’s the same with cluttering our brain with thoughts and ideas that don’t belong in His creation. We have the ability to clear out the clutter and litter on our roads and our minds!
It’s just occurred to me, as I write this, that it’s Earth Day. God is so cool…show him some respect today by picking up some ugly trash from His awesome Earth and taking captive some thoughts that have lingered to long in that beautiful mind of yours.
Exposed. That word makes me very uncomfortable and yet relieved at the same time. I think of crimes being exposed, or politicians admitting guilt or public indecency involving a trench coat. It almost gives me that feeling of, “Uh-oh, I ate the last of the Girl Scout cookies…I was gonna save some for my hubby! Oops!” You know the one I’m talking about? That feeling that just makes you feel, well, icky?
Then if we truly look at the idea of being exposed, it goes so much deeper than that. I had emotions that I’d never dealt with before I was an adult. To go so many years without having said anything to anyone or spoke them out loud or even admitted to myself they existed…I tear up just thinking about some of it. The enemy of our souls wants us to keep that stuff in the dark. Feelings of remorse, guilt, shame, ugliness, meanness, cruel thoughts, hurtful words, the list continues for miles upon miles. I had a lot of fears surrounding childbirth and raising children. I saw the struggle some had with both and the complications that could ensue. I saw how awful children could behave (and in public!! Gasp!) and wondered if I could ever handle those situations. What if I couldn’t even have kids? That was a biggie for quite a while as my husband and I first decided we had been wrong; children were indeed a gift from the Most-High God and we wanted that gift desperately! Years later, we wondered why we didn’t deserve that gift, or if we had made the Almighty God upset that we hadn’t realized how precious kids were in the first place. Those feelings can overtake you if you let them…wondering what you did wrong, realizing you were wrong, then dealing with that fact. That nasty blame game we play is one in which no one wins and it’s not any fun playing!
God exposed my feelings and showed me what exactly I was dealing with and not only that, but how to overcome it! Once I started dealing with the issues, instead of trying to run from them, or soak them in booze (see earlier post–“Brutally Honest”) God and I were a united front. And if God is on our side, WHO can be against us? I pray today that you are brave enough or maybe curious enough, to ask God to expose your fears and thoughts because I’ve learned that it is through this act that we gain freedom from chains we weren’t even aware of.