“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.”
~ Brené Brown
So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel,[a] because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”
29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”
But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.
30 So Jacob called the place Peniel,[b] saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
I have read all of Brene Brown’s books, and if you haven’t read them I would highly recommend them. Brene describes herself as ” a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the past decade studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame.” (from her website).
She is honest, on the mark, and will help you see yourself and the world differently. She talks a lot about staying in the moment and appreciating where we are – right now.
I worked in the soup kitchen yesterday and continue to be amazed at the joy filled atmosphere. All of the volunteers seem to leave themselves at the door, and the kitchen is all about love, loving our neighbors. I had an interesting moment while handing out the trays of food. I was the ticket taker and tray hander-outer. The person at the door. Some folks don’t like to work that position, it makes them feel uncomfortable. No one else wanted to work the door, so I figured I would give it a try. My main focus was to look each person in the eye and greet him warmly. It was easier than I thought. Jesus was doing the work for me. Towards the end of the line a gentleman came through and after I said “good morning,” he said back “you need to quit saying good morning to everyone because every morning is NOT good.” I was caught off guard. He was right and wrong. I sat there for a minute unsure of what to say. But as he walked off I said back “I hope the rest of your day is a better day.” I have no idea if he heard me, or if he cared.
What I wanted to say but didn’t have the courage to say in the moment, is this – every day can be a good day with God, even when the parts of our day, our lives seem unmanageable, seem not good. If we open ourselves to God and His eternal goodness, we allow ourselves to be grateful, even in a the middle of a bad day, a bad life. The shifting of our attitude allows grace to flow. I have not walked in that man’s shoes and I do not know his struggles. But I do know for a fact that every situation, no matter how horrible, is better with God in it.
When I first got sober the hardest part for me was saying that I was powerless, that God was in control. But when we allow God to be God many things fall into place. Sometimes life seems like a wrestling match with God, like Jacob in the Old Testament we want to have control over God, our lives, outcomes. If we turn over our lives to Him, even starting with small things, we begin to relax and allow grace in. This is hard – not easy to do – but even in just entering into the struggle, we are acknowledging God and inviting Him into our lives.
So today I am thankful for my awareness of God’s presence, His nearness, all we have to do is call on Him. I ask God to give me the strength to speak up for Him at the next opportunity. To let others know about how awesome is our God! I am thankful for the man at the soup kitchen who made me pause and think about where God is in my life. He is the one I need all the time. When He is at the center of my day, of my every moment, then I can handle all of the good and bad parts of the day. My life is His, without Him I am nothing. I am thankful that He gives me each day to live, that He sustains the world and everything in it, and I look forward seeing Him face to face when the time comes.
Here is Matt Maher singing Lord I need you. Enjoy.