When your life is difficult, you may find it hard to rejoice. When your life is never difficult, you may find it hard to pray. — Joey Cope
What if you only had 10 minutes to share the most important message of your life?
What words would you choose?
How would you cut through and set aside all of those badly chosen words that have stacked up over a lifetime?
Where would your heart need to be to bring that message?
Where would your courage come from?
What if the message wasn’t received well?
Take the 10 minutes.
Choose the words now.
Take responsibility for the badly chosen words.
Open your heart.
Reach deep within for the courage.
Trust God to translate in His good time.
For most of my years, my mornings have begun before my alarm goes off. And almost every one of those mornings, Dad’s words for success would ring clear as if he was right there.
“The true key to doing well is putting your feet firmly on the floor before your alarm goes off every morning.”
Those were words he shared during the relatively few times that I worked for him in the highway construction business. We needed to be away from the house before dark and on the job by daybreak. And ready to last the day — often until the sun went down.
Through the years, as I reach to turn off the alarm that hasn’t sounded, I wonder why this life of work was so valued — so prized — by my dad. My father never had a grand view of who he was. He was just Joe. Mr. Joe to many of his workers. Eventually Papa Joe to young people — including my sons and my granddaughter. He just put his feet firmly on the floor every morning and did what he could do. But he was a giant and a saint and an encourager. A man who others wanted to be around and to have around when things needed to be done.
And I’m convinced he was who he was because he believed a simple truth: We should take full advantage of every day that God gives us.
And that belief is how we change the world. No grand schemes. No crowd-funding. No hype. Feet on the floor. Showing up. Doing what we can do. Making full use of God’s day.
Things have changed as I’ve become older. Now, instead of waking up just moments before my alarm sounds, it’s often an hour. I don’t know if Dad’s legacy has left me convinced that I need more time to do what I can do or if it’s just the normal nocturnal churnings of an aging body. But lately, I’ve been eager to get my feet firmly on the floor. I’ve been given another day.
I know a lot of people. Each one is unique. Some are friends. Some are acquaintances. Some are colleagues. Some are friends of friends. Some are politicians. All have one thing in common. They want me to choose.
We all must make choices. And frankly, I don’t mind making choices . . . when the time is right.
I make choices all the time. And I make choices on the headline issues of today. To the best of my ability, I work hard at conducting my life in accordance with my beliefs and within the laws of society. I believe that there is right or wrong and I believe that God has all of that sorted out. And I try my best to live my days and nights doing what He wants. I choose daily. But don’t make me choose between people.
Don’t make me choose between the conscientious law enforcement officer who risks her life in complex, life-or-death moments and vocal activists who point out that our systems for justice are racist and discriminate against people of color.
Don’t make me choose between friends who hold a traditional view of marriage and those who do not.
Don’t make me choose between those who watch their young people die on the streets as victims of gunfire and those who champion their right to keep and bear arms.
Don’t make me choose who I will love, whose rights I will protect, and which individuals will be my friends.
Don’t make me choose between people.
God makes no choices on who He will love. I have no choice, but to love everyone.
I’m just tired of thinking and talking.
There comes that moment in every introvert’s day or week or month or year when she or he just needs to stop thinking and talking. We need to let our brains roam free, disengage, rehydrate, rest.
I’m to that moment.
But life isn’t.
And so, I’ll think and talk and listen and advise.
And I’ll dream there’s something else.
And God will give me what I need.