For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1 NLT
While Ecclesiastes may feel discouraging, it’s really not. It’s actually quite possible to find encouragement in the book. There is plenty of wisdom in it, and where there is wisdom, we can be encouraged.
Chapter three talks about there being a time for everything. There is a season for everything. It’s hard to believe or accept that there is a time for life and death, crying and laughing, love and hate, and a time for peace and war. But rather than be discouraged by this, what would happen if we embraced it?
Maybe what makes life difficult is not understanding the times. With that said, God knows the time for all of these things. It’s not up to us to figure it out or try to manipulate it, but to accept it. In accepting this, perhaps we can embark on a journey of peace about timing. After all, God has the perfect timing.
Anything I wanted, I would take. I denied myself no pleasure. I even found great pleasure in hard work, a reward for all my labors. But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere. Ecclesiastes 2:10-11 NLT
Solomon is essentially saying that he enjoyed life. He had everything the world says we should want. He had servants, gardens, food, wine, resources, concubines, and wives. He denied himself no thing that we would deem pleasurable.
He even found pleasure in work, maybe even purpose in it (we’ll talk about work later). In other words, whatever he wanted, he had. Whatever he thought would make him happy, he had. No thing was off limits. Yet, in the end, he still had the same conclusion that he began with. It was all like chasing the wind.
It all brought momentary pleasure but no eternal value. It still left him wanting. So if pleasure didn’t bring a life purpose, he thought work might. Might it?
The Teacher is quite downtrodden in Ecclesiastes. It’s full of wisdom and truths, but at the same time you read it thinking, is there a light at the end of this tunnel?
Chapter 7 in particular was what I read today. There were some positives that made you feel good and then there were some very half empty outlooks. But what I found interesting after reading the positives and negatives of life the following verse was the ending to Chapter 7:
But I did find this: God created people to be virtuous, but they have each turned to follow their own downward path.” – Ecclesiastes 7:29 NLT
So before this, he’s talking about there being no virtuous men and women in this world. He pretty much says if you don’t follow God then you’re doomed to the trap and chains of the seductive woman. Again, half empty outlook to life. But in all of this, he concludes with this hope. And the hope really has nothing to do with us, but with God.
The hope we can have is what God intended for us to be like. He created us to be virtuous, and we are the ones who have chosen another path. Doesn’t that make you see the glass of life a little more half full? That God’s original intent for you had nothing to do with failure, hurt, pain, or sin. And although we in our fallen state experience all of the above, His plan is to still bring us through it all virtuously.
Less is more. I always thought that phrase was rooted in material significance. Now I realize it’s just true for a lot of things period. Less really is more.
When I complain less, I experience more joy. I’m able to see the positive all around me because I’m not focused on the negative. Every time I choose to distance myself from complaining, I tend to experience joy.
When I’m less distracted, I’m more productive. It’s a simple science really. When I resist distraction and choose focus, I am more productive every time.
Less excuses produce more results. When I spend less time coming up with excuses, I spend more time actually producing results. It’s simple and it works.
Less of me and more of Jesus makes me a better person. John said it best, “I must become less and He must become greater.” John knew that if people could see less of him and more of Jesus in him, he could really make a difference (John 3:30).
Less is more when we do less of what’s negative and more of what’s positive. When we focus less on distractions and excuses, we produce more and better results. And when we choose to be lesser so that God can be greater in our lives, we actually become the most we can ever be.
Value you. I think that’s my phrase for 2022. Value you. In fact, value you enough…
Value you enough to say no to anything that doesn’t recognize your importance or significance. And value you enough to say yes to what does recognize and respect you.
Value you enough to know that you deserve a healthy life. You deserve mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional health. So value yourself enough to reject anything that doesn’t promote that in your life.
Value you enough to keep and seek those God-given dreams. Yet, value you enough to let go of those self-centered, merely self-gratifying ones. Seek to serve rather than be served, seek to value others as you learn to value you.
Value you enough to know you deserve a better relationship. Value you enough to know you’re worth it. You’re worth the wait, you’re worth the time, and you’re worth the sacrifice.
Simply, value you. As long as you devalue yourself others will too. But once you actually start to value yourself, you start to surround yourself with others that do too. I’ll just close with one of my favorite authors, Og Mandino.
“I am rare, and there is value in all rarity; therefore, I am valuable.”
Life is too short not do the simple things. If the simple things make you happy, then do them. I’m all for dreaming big, but if you forget to celebrate the simplicity of life, I believe you miss out on something. I believe you miss out on a little bit of joy and peace because those things don’t come from the “big stuff” only, but can be a part of all our life.
The idea of this is funny, because I’m thinking of a conversation with my mom last night. She asked what we were having for dinner, and I said Chick-Fil-A. She sighed, not because she doesn’t like Chick-Fil-A, but because she can’t believe that I don’t get tired of having it. To which I told her it’s been like a week since I had it, and it was SO good!
Sidebar: I truly love Chick-Fil-A. I know some locations don’t always have the Chick-Fil-A attitude that they should, but for the most part, all the ones I have been to have been good. I also like the message of kindness and respect they publicly display. While the organization does have different political views than a lot people, I feel like the respectfully disagree. Now, back to the point. J
I told her, why would I stop doing the simple thing that makes me happy? If getting Chick-Fil-A is that simple, but makes me smile, why not get it?
And that’s my advice to you. If a nap makes you happy, then take one. Don’t sleep your life away, but get some rest. If reading makes you happy, then carve out intentional time to read. If a healthy movie or show brings you happiness, then watch it, just don’t waste your life watching or binging on trash. If you like working out, then work out. Do the simple things that make you happy for as long as you can in life, because you may not always be able to.
And if you want some Chick-Fil-A from time to time, grab some. I just thought, the only thing that could make Chick-Fil-A better is if they had pizza. Chick-Fil-A’s new Chicken Pizza. Yum.
Life is too short to do what you don’t want to do. Hear me out, this isn’t a promotion for you or me to be selfish. I’m not saying that.
I’ve decided that my life is too short to waste doing things that make me miserable when I don’t even have to do them. My dad passed in November, and as epiphanies continue to come through processing that, I realize this year especially, that don’t want to waste time with things that don’t bring me joy.
Simply, if I don’t feel like going out, then I don’t have to go out. If I’m dreading an event or phone call that I don’t have to do or have, then I don’t have to do it. And I won’t.
Life is too short to waste it away doing things that don’t bring me joy. Some would say, well that’s work or marriage for me. My response would be I’m sure having provision from working brings some joy. But if God told you to quit, then go ahead.
Life is too short for me to do anything that God has not called me to do and that does not bring Him glory or me joy. I choose joy, and sometimes that choice means that I have to choose what I’m not going to do. And what I’m not going to do is be miserable and live in dread.
Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Matthew 6:26-27 NLT
The prompt is: What do you look forward to every week?
Honestly, I look forward to date night every Friday. As a kid, I always enjoyed Fridays. Football games, Family Matters, and my grandma was the only one who ate Chinese so she’d take us out on Fridays and we’d ride and look at Christmas lights. Friday is the day for me! It’s the one afternoon I intentionally try not to work on anything.
But Friday is special to me now because of the memories of course, but Date Night is Friday. Everyone knows that Date Night is Friday for the Moores. And for that reason, I look forward to “Fri-yay” every week. Yes, it’s the start of the weekend, but it’s the one day Brandon and I do our best to intentionally focus on us and date.
Friday, Friday, Friday! Is it Friday yet? Even if we go nowhere, which is usually my choice, I still look forward to Friday. It’s our day. Date Night Fri-yays are our days. And I look forward to them each and every week.
“At last!” the man exclaimed. “This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man.’” – Genesis 2:23
And Adam exclaimed. Exclaimed. I like that word. Adam was excited when he saw Eve. Eve was different, but still like him.
Adam knew God was the Creator. He’d seen God form animals, so he was familiar with God as Creator. Adam had even been able to choose names for the animals. So he had familiarity with the creative process. So something amazing had to have happened that caused him to exclaim about this creation.
Can I tell you what makes me smile when I think about this? This is just my imagination.
God as Creator. I believe Adam knew God as the One and Only Creator. But I like to smile thinking that maybe he thought to himself, wow, God outdid Himself with this one!
Woman. I smile because I like to think that Adam was floored that something so wonderful came from a part of him
For him. I smile thinking that Adam was blown away by this companion for him. He fell asleep with animals that weren’t meeting his need for companionship, and woke up with the only one that could, by God’s design.
The miracle of marriage is and was always meant to be as remarkable as this moment. There was always supposed to be this indescribable moment when a man in God’s will meets a woman in God’s will, and God ordains their marriage. At last!
Long before there was Etta James (singer of At Last), there was Adam. At last! At last, what I didn’t even know I needed, God provided.
We’re celebrating our anniversary, and apart from happiness, joy, gratitude, and appreciation, I’m asking myself why wait?
Why does it take a specific date for people to celebrate things? Why are people so giving in December when we can be giving year round? Why do we vow to live life to the fullest on our birthdays when every day we can? And why do I really really focus on my husband on our anniversary when every day can be an intentional effort to give him attention?
I’m grateful. God has blessed me with a lot, and that’s so that I can understand that I have Him to thank for it all. But I can’t help but feel like it may be a bit of a slap in the face to thank Him only once a year or once in a while for all that He’s given me.
So the question I have for myself every day is what am I waiting for? Why am I waiting to celebrate life? Why am I waiting to give? Why am I picking and choosing when it’s convenient to value people, especially my husband? Every day people matter. Every day is a great day to give. Every day matters. Let’s not wait for a specific date. Let’s just do it now.