A little something I started a few years ago as the kids started to head into adulthood (and before I say, know that the follow-through has been well-intentioned with a side of freedom to be imperfect) is to highlight a Bible for them. Not in some super-spiritual sort of way or to make a point, I like to highlight all the words that God speaks out loud. In the same way a Bible my parents gave to me (that I still have, with my maiden name stamped on the cover) red-letters Jesus’ words, I wondered a few years ago (when reading Isaiah, realizing that the majority of the book is quotations from God) what it look like to see those in another color too? So I grabbed a blue highlighter and made my way through my Bible – loving it. It changed how I read Scripture. Much less focusing on me (and all the how to’s), much more focused on God. I could go on, but that’s enough of that – except to say: try it, you might like it. So as our third was heading to college, I thought I’d do it for her. Which I started, took took way more time than intended and never finished. Then, decided that her finishing it is probably a great thing too. Now I’m on a Bible for our fourth (still needing to go back and do it for 1 & 2). Which leads me to what I wanted to share – or really to not forget (a big reason I like to blog and/or mini-blog on Instagram … I don’t want to forget). I was blown away by these few things in Ecclesiastes that I hope invite you, as they did me, to live in freedom that is sometimes hard to see in our do-all, be-all, ever-striving days.
There is nothing better (for man) than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil … (T)his is God’s gift to man.
I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live
There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and FIND ENJOYMENT in his toil.
Basically – be happy and at peace, filled with joy while working. When we work (toil) in our giftedness and purpose, it takes time and effort – not all of which is a delight – but is paved with satisfaction and joy. Everything else (all the performing and striving) is “chasing the wind.” Ahhh…. breathe. And do what you’re created to do — happily. Because you can. Last week on our little SaySomething Show, Julie Hildebrand joined me to chat with the amazing Holley Gerth (check out her stuff – she’s incredible). Her last book The Powerful Purpose of Introverts: Why the World Needs You to Be You. She’s so encouraging on natural (biological) inclinations and living them out. Here’s a clip:
Holley has SO MUCH GREAT STUFF TO SAY, but this seemed to fit like a custom made royal slipper: “All of us are perfectly designed for God’s purpose for OUR lives, not for anyone else’s. For ours; we have what it takes.” So, a little bit of freedom and encouragement to “eat and drink” (not as coping mechanisms, but sustenance) and “be joyful in our toil”. Your toil – what you were created to do, to the best of our ability. Then let the results of the toil fall where the giver of your gifts allows them to fall. That’s about it. Thanks for walking the road with me. Kay