Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:2-4 NASB
Sigh. Sometimes it’s hard to find and feel the joy.
Consider it all joy?
All of it? Really? Joy in all the trials – seen and unseen? Consider joy? Those trials in your head – the ones that wake you at 2 AM, and the trials which seem insurmountable, even if you’re the one that created them? Consider joy?
What if you woke tomorrow with only those things for which you are thankful today?
33 years to be thankful for…
We’re thankful for 33 years of marriage – today. May 27th.
Even though we’re thankful, finding and feeling that joy isn’t always easy. Marriage and life haven’t always been easy. Boy-oh-boy, have there been some trials. And thirty-three years together as husband and wife doesn’t give us a “pass” to get out of the current or future trials, either.
However, we have a promise. Those trials testing our faith produce endurance. Endurance is a gift for which to be thankful… and if we practice that endurance, we will be complete. We will lack nothing. There are gifts along the way. We’ve seen them already and we have faith there will be more, according to God’s will.
In this “not easy” season we’re holding onto that promise of lacking nothing – with both hands, all four hands. We’re trusting. We’re exercising our faith.
Gifts in this “not easy” season…
What are some gifts in this season of marriage that’s been less than easy?
Our adult children are gifts.
Consider the joy of children. At first, becoming parents on our 1st wedding anniversary was a trial. Oh, yes. That wasn’t easy. But joy has come from being parents to those children. Adult children are the best gift! They are our sparks of joy and watching them serve the Lord is a truly joyful gift.
Our grandboy is a gift.
Consider joy. Everyone predicted grandparenting would be a joy. (Frankly, I was skeptical. It was just a crying, poopy baby, after all…) Today, a year and a half later, we are unable to truly define where this overwhelming joy in the grandboy comes from… it must come from God. It must! Rob has been saying that “If God loves us the way we love our grandchild, then we’re golden!” Yes. That’s a gift. A gift filled with joy.
Friends are a gift.
In the midst of our trials, friends have reached out. A kind word. Prayers. (Oh, you have no idea what a gift it is to know that friends are praying for you and with you!) Encouragement despite ongoing circumstances is a gift of joy. We’ve received gifts – both monetary and physical. Every. Single. Friend. Is. A. Gift.
Consider joy – yes. There is joy in knowing you’re surrounded by the Godly love of friends who are also ministers. There’s joy from family, of congregational members… and friends who unknowingly provide gifts. In this time that’s not been easy, we’ve been surrounded with those who give without measure and without any hope or expectation of repayment.
We’ve been learning the art (and gift) of humbleness. It’s not always an easy gift – but it’s priceless. And there’s joy in it.
The gift of Endurance
We are learning endurance – and it’s having its result. I hope. Our faith is increasing. We have no other choice but to have faith. And we’re already feeling that promise that we lack nothing.
Because when you really think about it, all our hope lies in Jesus. In Jesus’ sacrifice. And the future His sacrifice and God’s grace will provide… is already providing. That’s ALL joy.
Consider it all joy – friends – when we all encounter various trials. That testing of our faith does produce endurance. And if we let it, endurance can have its perfect result. We will find ourselves perfect through God’s grace. And we will find ourselves complete, lacking absolutely nothing…
Are you going through a time that’s not easy?
We can relate. (As you might guess by this post.) Not all years in marriage are easy. It’s hard to encourage each other when it’s been a while since you’ve felt some joy. (Rob says that encouraging an “encourager” is really hard.)
So – as a gift for you… and us too…
As an anniversarygift, one we can all enjoy – and spark some JOY – we’ve created something.
93 simple, quick and mostly free activities for you and your spouse – for all of us – to spark some JOY! (Why 93? That’s part of a longer story you can read when you click HERE.)
We will be right beside you! We are doing this too!
Those who sign up will receive one email a day with one simple and quick action to take together. Each action is easy – and where it might feel like a stretch, we’ve given you some help. And if you really hate the idea, or physically can’t do it, then there’s the option to pull a different idea from the JOY JAR…
This is our gift to you – a gift to spark some JOY!
be united in making each other smile! Yes, making your spouse smile will unite the two of you! HERE are 51 ways…
Being united strengthens your family.
This world we live in isn’t an easy place to be. It’s filled with so many pitfalls. Too many couples succumb to one hazard or another, and their division causes pain. The pain isn’t just felt for the two of them, it’s also felt like a ripple effect. Children are hurt when couples are no longer united. Parents of the couple suffer when two people choose to no longer be united. Even friends can feel great pain when their couple friends are no longer united.
Having a united response as a husband and wife impacts more than only the two of you – it also strengthens your family. Your children, your parents, your siblings and all of your friends can have a sense of security when they trust that the two of you – husband and wife – are united.
Please – give some thought to the areas in which you are not united with your spouse.
And address those areas.
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Genesis 2:24 NIV
…on being united in finances…
When both spouses are not on the same page, success becomes very difficult. It’s like having a business partner who is not working on the business. Both spouses must pull the same cart together. When one spouse is not on the same page, the cart will eventually become too hard to pull on your own.
Thomas C. Corley researches and writes about the habits of those who are rich. This post was spot-on for Robert and me. He talks about loyalty ( that’s one of our Values) and being supportive and optimistic…
Little ideas to build unity… and JOY!
Have you seen our video about #93toJOY? We had so much fun recording it… It’s about doing 93 days of little activities together that don’t take much time or money. #93toJOY is about addressing those days, months and years that aren’t easy… Learn more HERE
Touching makes a difference in marriage – Get back in touch with your spouse!
We can get out of the habit of touching. Maybe you have small children who fill your arms all day (and night)? Don’t forget your spouse! Your husband or wife still needs your loving touch no matter how long you’ve been married.
Lots of opportunities…
Sight is found in one body part – the eyes. And hearing, taste, and smell are each attached to a specific part of the body.
But the ability to feel – our sense of touch – is found on every square inch of a healthy body.
David Ginty, Ph.D., professor of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins
Surprised? No, I didn’t think so. You know how rich the sense of touch is.
You’ve run your fingers through your spouse’s hair or tickled her/him or traced eyebrows with a gentle finger. You’ve wrapped your arms around your spouse and hugged till they squeaked.
Touching has many hues – just like color.
Every nerve ending in our skin has the ability to feel. In another study in 2006, the participants were able to decode emotions from a single touch on the forearm, all while blindfolded. They were able to detect anger, fear, love, gratitude and sympathy from a simple touch.
Touch Your Spouse Today
Make it into a game. Take 10 coins and put them in one pocket. Each time you touch your spouse, transfer one coin to the other pocket till the first is empty and this way you’ll be sure you’ve touched your spouse at least ten times that day!
In what way does your spouse like to be touched? (Before you get to those intimate touches ;-) )
Feel free. By the time you’ve reached the mid-marriage stage, you’ve tried lots of things and collected many items that match hobbies in which you’re no longer active. Now what? Here’s our experience… Click below to WATCH!
Blue Ocean Strategy Quadrants – Feel Free
Maybe make your own list of things in four quadrants… What would you list toward making you and your spouse feel free? Just pull out a piece of paper and begin!
Do More – What will you do more of?
Do Less – What will you do less of?
Start Doing – What will you start doing?
Stop Doing – What will you stop doing?
Be liberal here. It’s just words on a piece of paper. Imagine what letting go of some of these hobbies or activities might feel like. Are they still relevant in the life you’re leading now? What about all the stuff that you’ve collected that are in boxes or containers, or leaning against the wall in the garage? Would it feel good to do some yes/no decision making?
You’re not the people you were 10 or 20 years ago… Just sayin’. 😉
No Guilt – Feel Free
Robert spoke of the term “sunk cost”, and how we need to look at the money we’ve already spent to purchase items associated with hobbies as a sunk cost. It’s been spent. Move on.
In economics and business decision-making, a sunk cost is a cost that has already been incurred and cannot be recovered. Sunk costs (also known as retrospective costs) are sometimes contrasted with prospective costs, which are future costs that may be incurred or changed if an action is taken. – from Wikipedia
There’s no need to feel guilt about these items if you choose to stop doing something. Perhaps you can sell some items (see this post on how to downsize) or give them away so others can make use of your items from past hobbies. You’re not doing yourself any good by hanging onto things which don’t serve you well in this season!
The nicest part of stopping doing something, and letting go of the items associated with it, is the sense of freedom that action provokes. There’s a lightness, a release, and a satisfaction to calling something “done”.
Are you dragging? Maybe it’s time to reduce the friction and resistance! 😉
One caveat about neatness:
Make it about caring not control!Robert wrote a post from his perspective during our series on Values in Marriage.
Being neat reduces the friction and resistance in marriage.
As we mentioned in our 9th mid-marriage video, Robert is the neat one in our relationship. Me? Not so much! However, I have improved because of the two suggestions in our video.
Moving is good for one (of many) things: it forces you to look at all you own.
Each time we moved – from Canada to Texas, and from Texas to North Carolina and finally into an RV – we had to assess each item and decide if it still fit into our lives. Most times the answer was a resounding “Nope.”
Have you faced a move recently? How much did you choose to donate, sell and/or throw away?
Ways to Reduce Friction and Resistance
Maybe you don’t need to wait till a move? Maybe you could begin this process now?
#1 Donate – Toss – Sell
This is exactly as it sounds. Take three bags or boxes and walk through your house, choosing things to donate, toss in the garbage or sell. Don’t be hard on yourself. Just begin.
When and what should you sell or donate? The obvious answer is to sell stuff to make some money if you’re not using it. However, it’s not always that obvious… the same is true for when and what to donate! Here are ideas from the “Get Organized Wizard”:
When you’re decluttering, only allocate something to the ‘Sell’ pile if:
1. It’s worth more than it would cost to organize the sale (list online, hold a garage sale, etc), and
2. You can be bothered to do the work to organize the sale.
The second point is crucial. If you know you’re unlikely to ever get around to doing what’s needed to sell your items, then save yourself time and guilt and don’t tell yourself you’ll sell.
Only allocate something to the ‘Donate’ pile if:
It’s in good condition and/or
It’s sell-worthy, but you can’t be bothered to sell it.
We did sell some items but donated quite a bit when we moved out of the house. It was easier to live in 282 square feet without that friction and resistance!
#2 – the habit of tidying up each day
I found “The FlyLady” many years ago. (It might even have been before we moved to the United States. Wow – that was in 2000.) She had created a system to make it a process to keep your space tidy. I found it easier to homeschool because she was all about small steps, and daily actions. Her ideas really helped me, so I thought I’d share… these are only three of many ideas.
Shine your sink – this is your first task as a FlyBaby, and also the foundation of FlyLady. It all begins with a shiny sink!
Getting dressed to shoes – FlyLady believes that you feel and act differently when you are completely dressed with shoes on your feet, even if you’re not leaving the house. It makes you feel ready to go!
Declutter 15 minutes a day– FlyLady’s principle is that anyone can do anything for 15 minutes. Just set a timer and declutter something for 15 minutes, and then stop when the timer goes off!
Her foundational system is through an email a day which costs nothing. If you’d prefer, there’s an app, but that has a monthly cost. Look through her site, and try the emails for a week or so. You might be surprised.
When should you reduce the friction and resistance in your life?
Again, this might seem obvious. Maybe it’s not. Think about it…
Perhaps you haven’t truly considered why you’re feeling annoyed with your space or your spouse.
You may not need a larger house. Or a different spouse! 😉
Maybe all you need is to cut out some of the drag resulting from too much stuff! (Just a thought.)