December 11th, 2022
Preparing A Space
The third week of Advent is JOY! Celebrating and preparing for the JOY of the birth of Jesus. How does one prepare for JOY? Joy for me is the unexpected and one of the most genuine expressions of one’s truest emotions. I think a lot of people can express happiness, but joy comes from deep within a person and is undeniably pureness that is extreme happiness.
This time of year can be very stressful for many and for multiple reasons; extending grace to others can only help in these situations. I like enjoying Christmas movies, funny ones and serious one, they all seem to have a theme of disaster followed by a very happy ending. I will tell you the truth, my heart swells as I picture myself in the starring role, living that moment of joy! Life is a bit more complicated than a “feel-good” movie but that doesn’t mean can’t have our moments of joy and happiness. It’s a funny thing about stress, we think we can’t control but can’t we (?). Undoubtedly, things are bound to happen to us that can cause stress but it’s effects can be more manageable when we prepare ourselves, when we acknowledge our limitations and control our emotions verses letting them control us. Please don’t misunderstand what I’m say as easy, it is indeed NOT EASY, but with God with us on our journey through this life we can experience JOY.
Below, I have listed some questions we might want to ask ourselves concerning our own personal advent journey. In the spirit of my authenticity in writing and sharing I will attempt to answer the questions as well. Remember, no wrong answers as this journey is between you and God.
Advent Questions To Ask Yourself
- What am I preparing for?
- I want my heart to be prepared to meet Jesus, the Bible tells me in Matthew 25:35-36, 35 “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’” When we care for others we are caring for Jesus! I want to be that person, God help me to do better.
- What is the way that is being prepared within the wilderness of my life?
- My current wilderness situation in life is teaching me to receive gifts as graciously as I like to give them. I am pretty headstrong and like to be independent. I prefer to be the one offering to help and support. I am not so good at receiving. I believe this is an important lesson God really needs me to accept. As of late I have struggled and had to ask for assistance financially and it hurt me deeply, my pride was hurt because I’ve spent the last decade making big changes and felt very accomplished for the changes. Asking for help made me feel like the ground under my feet was falling away. I so appreciate the beautiful people God has blessed me with on my journey.
- What does it mean for my own life to become a path, a way of welcoming for the Holy One?
- I love the idea of my life becoming a path. I can look behind and see where I was and look to the horizon to see the possibilities to come, not to mention look around and see where I am and the steps it took me to get there. I heard an analogy once about life compared to tree branches or maybe roots, some branches lead to other branches stretching out into new directions and others are more like a cul-de-sac, leading to nowhere. I did not want to be a cul-de-sac.
- How do I give myself time to notice the ways that the path unfolds before me and within me?
- I love writing on this blog space, it provides me with an audience to share my thoughts and ideas with. I love to get feedback from my audience and the open dialogue and friendships I have using this platform. I love to spend time with family, family is central to who I am and I especially enjoy reminiscing about loved ones that are no longer with us. Talking about then keeps them a live in our hearts and minds. I am not sure of my earthly destination of my path, all I know for sure is I am never alone. My path for eternity is heaven bound, by God grace and the sacrifice of Jesus.
- What are the acts of preparation that bring delight to my daily life?
- PURPOSE! I love going to work, my job is stimulating and I like the people I work with as they are a source of comfort and strengthen. Getting nine hours of sleep a day prepares me and waking refreshed is wonderful. Sipping my morning coffee and listening to audiobooks as I drive, anywhere! My daily intentional prayers, my silent prayers and my spur of the moment prayers, plus study time. I love to learn new things, I am intrigued by theology and history.
- Whom do I ask or allow to help me prepare?
- I have individuals in my life that energize me in ways they have no idea of their effects upon me. It’s receiving a text saying “hello, how are you?” Or saying, “Good night and sending prayers.” It’s in a phone call or Skype at work just wanting to say hi, or send a waving hand. It’s a co-worker acknowledging something I’ve accomplished, or a friend that just walks up and gives me a hug for no other reason than they are happy to see me. I have a few individuals in my life that I can share absolutely everything with, with no threat of condemnation from them. I am so blessed to have such a diversity of people in my life and they all add such depth of faith and friendship to me. I can’t mention them all by name in fear I might forget someone, but know this if you’re in my life you matter to me. This includes you, my WordPress friends! Thank you all for allowing me to share my journey with you.
Friends, may you experience JOY in its purest form this coming week as our journey through advent continues. Much love 💟 ~Charlotte
~Charlotte, Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.