Thankfulness leads to joyfulness
A couple of weeks ago, I was chatting with one of you and you were telling me that you were completely stressed out.
“What’s going on?” I asked, getting into full-on empathetic-pastor mode.
“April,” was all you said.
And that said it all.
Since that conversation the weather has improved, lifting our spirits with the rising temperatures, but the work remains. Deadlines loom. Projects need completion. Meetings need to be scheduled into calendars that are rapidly filled to capacity and the stress seems to increase.
“I just need to make it to next Friday then I’ll be fine.”
We manage ourselves through the tight schedules, breaking things down into short term goals, juggling competing claims on our limited time, trying to do those things which are most necessary for our success.
“I ask myself, ‘What needs to be done today?’ and I focus on that, otherwise, it’s overwhelming.”
Perhaps we like to imagine that we will somehow be able to accomplish it all and then we’ll be done, that we’ll find our joy in the rest that comes to those who have done good work well.
The joy of accomplishment is real and worth savoring.
The dirty little secret, however, is, that those who get all of their work done get more work.
For the creative, the productive, the successful, there’s never an end to the opportunities, to the needs, to the demands – even if they are willingly engaged. This side of eternity, there will always be something that needs tending. So the deadlines lay out ahead of us like the white dashed lines on the highway, one after another. It’s easy for us who derive satisfaction from our accomplishments to begin to imagine that our worth is made by meeting the deadlines.
We are much more than our deadlines and the work which must be done to meet them. We are beloved creations of God, called into loving relationship with God and creation and empowered to work in that creation for the sake of the service it provides in the moment of the service, before the deadline, while we’re in the midst of the project. We are blessed to remember this and find in those moments before our work is done, things for which we can be thankful.
At some point today, I encouraged you to take 30 seconds to note three things for which you’re thankful. Three things = a short list. Write this list in the margin of your planner or put them on a post-it or in an email that you send to yourself. We needn’t be thankful about everything, but in every circumstance, there are things for which we can be thankful.
Thankfulness leads to joyfulness, even in April.
April 25, 2018
- Archives of Devotional Writings from our Pastoral Staff
- “Some Lent!”
- (Your vocation here) of people
- A call to courage for 2021
- A charming tale for over-achievers
- A Lesson On Beans … and Being
- A New Place
- A Point of Privilege
- A season of anticipation
- A Time of Dust
- Acquiring a peaceful spirit
- Advent = Hope
- All will be well
- Anastasis: the Greatest Story of God’s Saving Power
- Another kind of darkness
- Are we willing to cross the road for one another?
- As if we needed a reminder
- Beacons of hope
- Better Together
- Blessings As You Go
- Can we learn to be happy?
- Carrying the COVID Cross
- Come and See
- Did Jesus really suffer?
- Doing without in a life of plenty
- Don’t miss this moment
- Exiles with Vision
- Fear not!
- Fear of the Lord
- Feeling at Home
- Finding Purpose in the Journey
- Finding Words for Times Like These
- Forgiving others – and ourselves
- Getting ahead with Jesus
- Getting down on Jesus’ level
- Getting through this together
- God is not overwhelmed
- Good Friday
- Grief & Graduation
- Have yourself a merry little Christmas — somehow
- Holy Week and Taking Out the Trash
- Holy Week: The aid station late in the semester
- Hopes & Dreams vs Life in the Wilderness
- How do you keep from giving up hope?
- How glad we’ll be if it’s so
- I almost slipped
- Imagining Eternity
- In a time of uncertainty, these things are certain
- In everything, grateful
- In praise of plans B … C … D …
- In the midst of grief, God will bring life
- Is there such a thing as being too forgiving?
- It’s a Three Day Weekend!
- It’s In the Bag
- It’s What’s Happening
- Jesus among us
- Killing off our future selves
- Knowing a Good Thing When We See It
- Lessons in fire building
- Let there be light!
- Let us work for real wellness in our communities
- Life Is a Highway
- Lilies and leaves and whatever else is beautiful
- Living in the Present
- Naming our demons
- O Lord, you know I hate buttermilk
- Of Fear and Failure
- On Christian Unity: When we’re not one big happy church
- On the Bucket List
- On the day after the night before
- Persistent and Extravagant
- Pray and Let God Worry
- Praying for Reconciliation
- Preparing for the world to be turned rightside up
- Recovering from an Epic Fail
- Reformation calls for examination
- Remembering among the forgetful
- Rest is Holy
- Right where we are
- Seeing beauty in brokenness
- Signs of Love
- Starting Small
- Still in the storm
- Surprisingly Simple: Breathe!
- Taking a Break from the Relentless
- Talking ourselves into it
- Thankfulness leads to joyfulness
- The Art of Holy Week
- The Funny Business of Forgiveness
- The Greatest of These is Love
- The Magi: Exemplars of Faith and Learning
- The Power of Small Conversations
- The Trouble with Mammon
- The Power of Taking a Sabbath
- The Spiritual Gift of Hindsight
- This can’t be done alone
- To be known
- You might be a Lutheran if…
- You will be in our prayers this summer of 2020
- Ventures of which we cannot see the ending
- WWJD? We already know
- Walking in the Light of Jesus’ Resurrection
- We had hoped
- We’re on a mission from God
- What do you do with your anger?
- What good is a shepherd?
- What is your base reality?
- What to do after you find your voice
- What to do on the day after
- What we know and what we don’t know
- When bad things happen
- When God uses something terrible for good
- When heaven & earth click
- When joy and sadness live together
- When stress overwhelms
- When the promise of resurrection is hard to believe
- When you offer up your broken cup
- When we are moved
- Where God will be found
- Where is the good shepherd carrying you?
- Wilderness Journeys
- Won’t you be my neighbor?
- Year-end time management: Keeping the main thing the main thing
- Your Valpo roots will help you grow into your future