Ecclesiastes 5:18 - This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them--for this is their lot.
“Enjoy your job?” Did I just hear you right? This dull lifeless collection of tasks to complete are supposed to be a source of enjoyment? Even God puts an emphasis on enjoying your work in the Bible. King Solomon spent time examining life to find out what was meaningless and meaningful. He saw that it was good for a person to enjoy their work, because this was the lot that God has set out for them. We can try to find ways to enjoy our work instead of dreading it, even if it’s a tough job to like. Let’s escape the demands of just pushing through life and find ways to be happy all week long instead. If you can imagine that you can focus on this snapshot of life, run after it. It will be worth it. When you reach the end of your life, will you really be excited about the memories that only showed a meaningless life, or can you with God’s help, create days that are meaningful. Give it a try. If King Solomon thought it was worth it, then so can you.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 - There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.
There are seasons in our lives that come and go. Some go by quickly, while others drag on. Some are seasons of great joy, while others leave our hearts broken. Sometimes we have a season when our bodies are working correctly and our pain is held at bay. Our bodies let us go out and take part in family gatherings and spend time with friends. But then our chronic pain slaps us in the face demanding that we focus on it instead and we head into a season of pain. This is where the rubber meets the road. If we are by ourselves it may be okay to let down our guard and grieve this day of chronic pain. But when we are with others, it’s okay to grieve in front of them and be an honest person. But it’s not okay to do all of the time. If we constantly have our heads laid down with no hope of a smile forming on our lips, how will that give courage to someone else who sees us and is also grieving from chronic pain? Be real, but also show others that though life is really hard living with chronic pain, it doesn’t have to mean that this season of our lives is only meant to be lived in grief. This won’t be easy. It will go beyond our own strength to do it. We can reach out our hands toward God. He will take hold of our hand and help us stand back up. Then we can reach out our other hand towards someone else who is also struggling in pain. Together we can lift each other up and be honest when life is hard.
Psalm 55:12-14 - If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked with the throng at the house of God.
Here’s another side of painful relationships: Why are there people who are friendly and upbeat towards you but are really only putting on an act, which by the way, ends up hurting us in the process? There are some choices you can make -– you can keep the “friend” and live with them hurting you again because you don’t have many people in your life. Or, you can cut the rope to the anchor and let it drop to the bottom of the lake and find another boat to get into. It won’t be easy, but try to remember there are a lot of hurting people out there who need a real friend like you. So take God’s hand and he will open your eyes to see that one person who also is looking for people who truly care.
Deuteronomy 32:10 - In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye.
Do you know that we teach people how to treat us? They follow our lead in the way others see us. Are you happy with yourself, or do you only see yourself as the weaker person? Do you give yourself a break when you fail, or do you curse yourself under your breath? Do you think that you have very little to contribute to the world? Do you think you’re a waste of time to others? What we have to remember is that if we don’t respect ourselves how can we expect anyone else to? How would you like to be seen? Start there. Go gently. Don’t expect change overnight. Take one step and then the next. When you put your foot in the right direction day after day, you will eventually figure out, with God’s help, how he sees you and wants you to live.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.