I know what you are thinking, but it isn't what came to mind as I hid in my bedroom half laughing and half crying on the phone with my husband. I was explaining the madness of my day and suddenly it just shot right out of me: "When Life Gives you Lemons, Don't squirt them in your eye!" He chuckled, knowing I just needed to vent and take a deep breath before I tackled the rest of my day. I was grateful for that nugget of time to do so.
His situation isn't much better. Persecution at his job for being the only acting Christian, office politics, and young women who invest more time in being caddy than in actually doing their job. His frustration reaches fever pitch some days as he seeks to walk in grace in the mist of heaps of lemons. I try to encourage him: focus on Jesus.... peace in Jesus... to have his vent, breathe in and out, and move forward. He assures me he is but sometimes his rantings betray him.
Add to all this, my youngest is hitting puberty. Homeschool or not, she complains as if she is public schooled. My darling, sweet, meek, a hug could melt your heart daughter is becoming my least favorite pupil. Her incessant complaining and downward look turns my stomach. I want to cry some days... to run and hide from her and everyone else who seem to keep telling me they CAN'T or WON'T seek the brighter side of the equation.
When life gives us lemons, how often do we GRAB them and, squirt, there goes lemon juice in our eye.... or an open cut.
We don't intend to be self-injurious, but we often are. And once we have inflicted our own pain (or allowed the pain of the situation to saturate) it is all we can or choose to see. I know what you are thinking: sometimes it isn't that simple. Sometimes our spouse or our children or our best friend or family member or coworker throw us a curve ball. How do you avoid the lemon juice then?
I'll admit, it isn't easy. This past week the Faith Dare has been reminding me of how we can choose joy. I wrote about it here recently concerning a situation I was in. I chose joy. Yet, shortly after my choice, things in my world seemed to go on attack.... my husband's job and his venting, my daughter's attitude about life and school.... driving today I lamented to God how I could choose joy but it is just too hard when others around me won't. Almost as quickly as the words left my mind, the reply swept over my heart.
I have said these things to you that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.
We are meant to choose joy in ALL circumstances.... especially when no one else is. I felt like God was showing me how this is a test of sorts. He presented the message last week, opened an opportunity for me to personally choose joy, and then challenged me (the refiners fire) to make that choice in light of the situations others face as well.... to learn how to not let other's hardships steal my joy while still being compassionate to their needs.
Yeah, it is a juggling act. However, the great news is, I don't have to do it alone. I have the best Coach! I can CHOOSE to take the lemons being handed me right now and squeeze so hard I squirt them in my eye.... or.... I can make sweet refreshing lemonade and serve it with a smile. I can focus on my circumstance, or, I can focus on the solution and the Perfecter of my peace. How often do we say, 'I AM focusing on Christ' when in fact we are holding onto our problem while seeking Jesus instead of letting it go and holding onto Him while we fix our eyes on him. It is an all-in deal which provides the greatest peace.
How about you today? Are you half in? Eyes in one place while holding onto another? Are you inadvertently (or deliberately) taking lemons and squeezing so hard they are squirting in your eye? I pray you will take those beautiful globes of fruit and make sweet, refreshing lemonade and serve it with a smile which radiates from a heart filled with the joy and peace of Jesus to overcome any and all of life's lemony throws!
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.