Finding Joy – The Prayer Jar

Finding Joy

Last week was an unkind and politically charged week personally and globally. It is difficult to find joy each day when life seems to bring a new intensity of disharmony, divisiveness and disappointment. Yet the birds continue to sing and the flowers bloom wide as if revealing a sort of ignorance of any impending storm because they are confident in the rainbow.

It would be nice if I could have that type of ignorance, I thought.

As I scrolled on Facebook one day last week, I saw this photo quote from Anthony D. Wiliams:

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The Gift of Joy

37603474_1809835792398078_964323065368412160_nI’m not always consistent at being a “Watering Can, ” which is my personal initiative for helping others thrive. As I was thinking about this quote, I received in the mail a surprise package from one of my best friends from childhood, Julie. In her lovely card she noted how the hearts on the breast of the owl spoke to her of me and how she thinks of me daily as she practices finding joy, a topic we have discussed together. Our treasured friendship goes back several decades and I am grateful for God blessing me with such a long, lasting friendship.

The Prayer Jar

In my prayer journal I began to write about the joy I found in the act of kindness and friendship. I realized that finding joy isn’t that difficult when I practice kindness each day, even on the most difficult days. I found this past week when someone sent me a very unkind message about my weight gain that it is important not only to gift kindness to others but to gift it to ourselves too.

Finding joy in an act of kindness

The visuals are always helpful in trying to develop a habit. In becoming more consistent as a Watering Can and in finding joy each day, I have created a prayer jar.
I painted the lid of a dollar store glass jar with pink nail polish. The color, pink signifies friendship, compassion, sensitivity, generosity, warm-heartedness, nurturing, soothing, admiration, gratitude, appreciation. I printed and pasted on the front of the jar the quote by Anthony D. Williams.

The Prayer Jar has 3 components: Serve, Pray, Honor.

IMG_1732At the end of each day, I will write on a white index card or a slip of payer the date of the act of kindness, a prayer for that person and a prayer of gratitude in honoring God for what he has given me.

Serve

Intentional or random, I’ll serve others in kindness and find joy in the process.

Pray

For those of you who also follow my, The Prayer Journals Blog, you know the last pages of my prayer journal are reserved for the names of people who have requested prayer or situations that may need prayer. My prayer placed in the jar each day will be a prayer of kindness being paid forward.

Honor

On that same card or slip of paper I will thank God for giving me an opportunity to serve and in finding joy that day.

My Intentions

The prayer jar isn’t intended to show me how wonderful a person I am for my daily acts of kindness, but as I look back on my week, month, the year of where I have found joy. And if I fall short of my daily goal, it will remind me that joy can be found each day, but the real sustaining joy in life is in service to others – walking the talk of a Watering Can – helping others thrive!

It is the act of finding joy each day.

On the days when the world has gone crazy or perhaps just in my world, I want to be the sparrow, the bloom, the rainbow.

Peace,

New web photo - Sheri

The Blogging Owl

 

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A Page from My Prayer Journal

What am I supposed to be doing with my life?

I remember my Pastor Etzel of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Brooklyn, Michigan is telling our confirmation class that God has a plan for each one of us. I have been thinking a lot about Pastor Etzel’s words a lot since I lost my coveted job in 2009 and now that both my sons will be in college this fall, I wonder what God’s plan is for me now.

Since 2009, I have had a few jobs, but mostly I have been self-employed. I had attended college after high school, but I never completed my degree in business and journalism. I recently took a technical writing class this past winter with the notion of completing a degree in Professional Communications. At 55 years old, I contemplate whether I should continue this educational journey. A friend asked me at the time, “Okay, what you are planning on doing with that degree?” I guess suggesting at my age that it was a nice endeavor, but what for?

Perhaps this isn’t God’s plan for my life. Maybe it wasn’t His plan even back in 1980. College tuition is NOT cheap! Retirement is just around the corner. WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?

Did I screw up Your plan for me, God?

Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.”

My heart says, “Never quit! Never give up!” But my pulse is getting slower and weaker as time marches on.

Since 2009, I have been lost. Now that my sons are in college, I feel even more lost. A couple of weeks ago I completed a predictive personality test to help determine if I fit a particular employment position. Here is a summary of my strongest behaviors:

Relatively quick to connect with others. She will build and leverage relationships to get work done.

Fluent, enthusiastic, frequent communicator – a motivator who pays attention to others points of view.

Focused on team cohesion, dynamics, and interpersonal relations.

Careful with rules, she’s precise, by the book fast-paced, and literal in interpreting rules, schedules, and results.

Detail-oriented and thorough, she works to ensure things don’t fall through the cracks and follows up to ensure they’re done properly and on time.

Driven to achieve operational efficiencies: thinks about what needs to be done and how it can be done as fast as possible while maintaining a high-quality outcome. Impatient with routines.

And there it is, the truth in the very last sentence. Impatient with routines.

Without a job I can be passionate about, and without my sons to daily focus my energies, I am looking at routines. God, I know when I defeat myself, I defeat Your plan for me. Yet, I am not sure what Your plan is for me.

Let God Be Your Guide

God, what are you enabling me to do?

I know God you don’t play favorites. I do believe You have given each of us our own spiritual gifts and talents. I know that Philippians 4:10 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” And it isn’t that I can do all things through You because of my spiritual gifts and talents, but because of my relationship with You. Assume all my inadequacies Lord, and help me to understand Your Will and not my own for my life.

“But please listen to my prayer and my request. I am your servant, and you are the Lord my God. Hear this prayer that I am praying to you today.” 2 Chronicles 6:19

“If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” John 14:4

 

(The Blogging Owl boldly posts a page from her prayer journal. If you would like to start your own prayer journal, please visit www.theprayerjournals.com and follow The Prayer Journals on Twitter: @PrayerPrompts.)