Tiny Effort, Extra Joy

by Beth Duewel @DuewelBeth

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good.   Psalm 34:8 NIV

Last week, a friend and I wandered into a tea-room for lunch. The place had linen and plates and a tiny dish with a baby-sized spoon in the center of our table. Fancy. So, when my order of tea arrived, I lobbed extra tiny-teaspoons of white into my cup with my fancy fingers pointed to the sky.

Um, small detail: It’s good to know what…exactly it is that you’ve extra’d into your tea, or you may have to hand it back to the server explaining, “My tea tastes like the ocean. Sorry.”

With all the extra this day needs—it’s not uncommon to add a little more to everything. Our tea. Our day. Our joy. Sometimes we happily heap on the wrong things in hopes that life will taste just a tiny-bit sweeter when we do. But there is something infinitely healing in the reality—that unlike sugar or salt (label the dishes, please, fancy, people)—there is nothing I can add to the simple joy of Christ. His joy is elaborate. Extra. Enough.

In fact, look for a moment to the instruction God gave Jeremiah:
“This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have and daughters… Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you to exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (Jeremiah 29:4-7 NIV).

Hold the extra!

Not only were the Israelites told to build their houses, they were encouraged to settle their hearts in as well. To marry and have children, to seek peace, to be content and allow God’s happiness to sustain instead. Even in exile, they could rise above circumstance and confusion and prosper in the uncertain place God placed them—in that plain, hardly ever fancy, space of joy.

But we’re human. We wrestle. We add. We live the stretch and pull of tentative trust. Sometimes we even take the spoon into our own hands. That’s why I couldn’t love what God says later to Jeremiah any more if I tried: “I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me” (Jeremiah 32:40 NIV).

Focusing on who God is, is the more a wanting heart needs. No matter how much fear and uncertainty this day holds, God’s over and over good will be added to it.

Ultimately, God is always moving us to His more. We can do hard things!

Inviting this entire more into our lives? It can be scary. I’m reminded of just how frightening when I think about the conversation I had with my daughter this past week. Because although Brittany is wading through another flare-up of a challenging illness, she said, “I had three good days this week, Mom!” I heard her voice smile.

Good.

Wonderful.

Extra—ordinary.

Days.

I will never stop doing good to them.

You can try to judge a moment for all that it lacks—but so much more life is lived when you notice all that it doesn’t.

Also, something miraculous happens in my soul when I measure life from the plenty of my less: I see Jesus for the good and gracious of who He is. And who He is demands less effort on my part. Sure, we may expect sweet and get…ocean? But whatever He plans—however it tastes—we can trust that He is working His eternal plan.

As my friend Rhonda Rhea mused: “Oh, how I love that fancy place—and that plain place—of joy. Beautiful, fancy-and-unfancy, unnatural JOY. The kind that happens in the most unexpected places. EXTRA blessing, right there.”

You too will prosper. No EXTRA needed.

Father, You are over and above, enough. Help me trust Your provision more and to stop trying to add extra to YOUR already perfect plan. Lord, help me notice Your abundant, good joy today. Amen. 

TWEETABLE
You can try to judge a moment for all that it lacks—but so much more life is lived when you notice all that it doesn’t – @DuewelBeth on @AriseDailyDevo #Godsmore #ourless #extraeverything (Click to Tweet)

 

beth duewel (2)

About the author: Beth Duewel is a writer, speaker, and blogger at Fix-Her-Upper.com. She has three almost adulting children, and lives with her husband in Ashland, Ohio. Beth and her coauthor, Rhonda Rhea, are super excited about their newfix her upper reclaim your happy space book,  Fix Her Upper: Reclaim Your Happy Space.

 

Join the conversation: Dear friends, what is your extra today? Is it extra worry, extra work, or extra stress? We would love to pray for you. Feel free to private message me via Facebook. Enjoy!

 

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