While washing dishes, I had to sing to avoid complaining. While doing laundry, my daughter laughed as I repeated over and over, "I'm thankful that we have clothes."
I finally succomed at rest time and escaped into a book. This is a Christian Fiction book that many friends have raved about, but I just didn't like it. It was gruesome and harsh, and it left me feeling worse than when I started. I finished it, because that's just how I am when I read a book, and I was left empty and irritable.
After the bedtime and pick-up routines were over, I longed to run away to a resort in Cancun that I loved so much. I dreamed of just packing our bags and catching a plane that very night.
Where do you run when you want to escape? I was reminded yesterday that all of our "escapes," though not bad in and of themselves, are just temporary pleasures that cannot satisfy. An evening with friends. Reading. Movies. Vacations. Parties. They all bring temporary joy, but not joy that lasts. That only left me feeling discouraged as I plopped into bed, ending the day.
I woke up this morning with a groan, and then immediately cried out, "Oh God, I don't want to start my day this way!"
I turned in the Psalms to chapter 71, and I was encouraged with verse 1. "In You, O LORD, I have taken refuge." The Psalm goes on to praise God for all that He has done for us. That's what I needed, more than a night out with friends or a trip to Cancun. I needed my heart to be renewed in thankfulness.
When my heart was embittered
And I was pierced within,
Then I was senseless and ignorant;
I was like a beast before You.
Nethertheless I am continually with You;
You have taken hold of my right hand.
With Your Counsel You will guide me,
And afterward receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
For, behold, those who are far from You will perish;
You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You.
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works.
Here's the funny thing: All of those good things I escape to only bring joy when I am already filled up with the joy of Jesus. I don't understand it completely, but when Jesus is in the center of my thoughts, everything shines brighter.
"Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed." Ps 34:5