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Abiding with Jesus

Who Else Wants A Happy Ending?

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Isaac had just finished nursing and I gently laid him on the bed to snuggle up beside him. My eyelids were heavy. I whispered a “thank you Jesus for quiet afternoons and naps” and was about to fall asleep when suddenly my mind began to imagine the worst.

Isn’t it like that though? In those too-good-to-be-true moments, we think…surely this can’t last forever.

In a matter of seconds my mind whizzed through a scenario that I need not repeat here.

Feelings of sadness and fear launched a surprise attack as I laid on the bed next to my sweet, peaceful baby. My eyes clinched tighter trying not to watch the story unfolding in my mind.

There are rarely ever any happy endings in the book of my imagination. Many of the stories I find myself flipping through are the ones where my house gets broken into, our plane crashes, the bump on my head is a tumor, my husband gets sick, or my creative ideas fail miserably.

Most of the stories I entertain are like footage for a dramatic movie scene. {I would make an amazing murder mystery author!} The plots that unfold in my head are so vivid that I can’t even walk upstairs without someone coming with me.

I wish I my glass was always half full, that worry didn’t keep me up at night, and that the world always felt sunny and my days full were of laughter. But as you can tell, I’m not exactly that person.

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Instead of feeling ashamed of these stories, I’m starting to pay attention to them. Our stories are more than our imagination running wild, they reveal important aspects of our perspectives and beliefs.

When I step back and listen to the stories unraveling in my head, I begin to realize an unwelcome truth.

At the core of who I am I struggle to believe that God is the author and creator of happy endings, that each of his stories is bookmarked and brimming with beauty on every page.  

So how do you and I become those people who surrender to delight and devote their lives to a continual feasting upon of God’s overwhelming goodness? A people who engage life with wonder and spread joy, who step into and live amidst the endless pages of God’s unbelievable love?

Is it even possible?

If you ever awake from nightmares while your eyes are still open, or find yourself imagining darkness descending upon you and those you love, or fretting over the outcomes of situations and circumstances in your life, then I wrote this for you. Because I totally get it.  

We are not trying to change our God-given personalities, wear a permanent smile, or somehow force ourselves to believe that nothing bad will ever happen again, but we are going to start seeing the opportunities that each day holds for God’s goodness to glimmer through our gore.

If we are going to practice living from the perspective of the happy ending right now, here’s a few things we can start trying…

  1. Surrender to Delight.

Instead of fleeing from what we love for fear that it will become an addiction, give into it with humility and thankfulness. Obviously, I’m talking about sinful and unhealthy practices here, I’m talking about letting ourselves walk towards the gifts of Jesus with a smile. Those gifts could be anything from hiking in the mountains, time wasted on hobbies, to quiet moments with our children or husband. Delight mysteriously opens our ears to the laughter of God, which softens and heals our wounded, worried hearts.// Psalm 16:11,  40:16, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

  1. Practice Feasting

Worship isn’t all sacrificial, dying to and denying ourselves. That’s only half of it. The other part of worship is celebration, grabbing life with both hands and taking big bites. When we feast over the days we’ve been given we set the table for God’s goodness to sit down with us and be our constant companion through every chapter. //Ps.23, Luke 15:23-24, Philippians 4:4 (MSG)

  1. Live In His Love

I always forget the middle is not the end. The best stories have chapters that leave us hanging, mysterious characters that don’t seem to fit, and plots that flow up and down like a roller coaster. But God’s story for us has love woven through every sentence. In the middle we often want throw the book down and quit reading all together. However, God dares us to find love written even there, when we’re so far from the end, or stuck in a chapter that is harsh and unwavering. //Ecclesiastes 3:1-13, John 10:10, Romans 5:8

While other worldviews lead us to sit in the midst of life’s joy, foreseeing the coming sorrows, Christianity empowers its people to sit in the midst of this world’s sorrows, tasting the coming joy. Timothy Keller, taken from Happiness

  1. Awake with Wonder

A child naturally believes God’s mercies are new every morning. Without even thinking about it they turn the page every day and come out of their beds with bright hope and tired eyes. We can’t be three again, but I believe we can still awake with wonder. With our worn-out vision we can still see every day as an adventure of walking with Jesus. We can turn the pages of our lives- expecting newness even in the mundane and exploring the unknown with curiosity instead of fear.//Psalm 105:1-5, Lamentations 3:21-26, Philippians 3:13-14

Take just one step God’s whispered on your heart. You’re standing in the perfect place called faith- with one hand in Jesus’ and your heart freed up by the Voice of  Love. God is making all things new – in you. As is.

Don’t wait.

Step out.

Be new.

Be the Beloved. Today. Bonnie Gray

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I’ll leave you with the example of a man who lived each day as if he were already in the happy ending. Let his wise words of encouragement swirl around in your heart, creating a concoction of joy, gladness, and delight, that you can sip on while you walk within the goodness of God’s story for you. 

Summing it all up, friends. I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious- the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. Philippians 4:8-9 (MSG)

Imagine your imagination running wild into a story where happy endings abound even when the middle seems a bit muddled, where every page is bookmarked and brimming with beauty.

It might change your view of God and yourself for good, quite literally.

Let’s be those people who live with the happy ending in their hands already. 

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