Beth Armstrong

Christian wife, mom, & author. Doing life with my eyes fixed on Jesus. I walk, I stumble, I fall. But God is big. And this is what I write about… Thanks for stopping by!

Archive for the tag “Attitude”

WHY JESUS DIDN’T HALF-ASS

“A job isn’t worth doing unless it’s done right the first time.” It was something like this that my grandmother embedded into us when we spent the summers with her. We “earned our keep,” so to speak. We had a list of chores to do each day. We memorized Bible verses at meal times, we were expected to treat each other with kindness and respect, and she set the bar high. We had to make our beds each morning…perfectly. We had to do the dishes…completely and thoroughly. We had to clean out the toy closets and ball closets…spotlessly. We had to sweep the garage…immaculately. She wasn’t being mean, or harsh, or a taskmaster. She just expected us to pitch in. She wanted us to learn the value of hard work. She wanted us to learn to do a job right…the first time. It’s a waste of time to do a job half-assed, then do it repeatedly until it’s done right, done well, and with care and excellence.

This is what my grandmother taught me. I didn’t care much for those lessons at the time. Matter of fact, I kinda thought it was a crock. Since when do kids go to their grandmother’s house to work? It’s supposed to be all about fun. And, truthfully, we had a lot of fun with her…after the work was done. She loved to play games…after the chores were complete. Part of her mission, I think, was to teach us grandkids to do a job right the first time around. And it makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?

I ran across a passage this week that made me think of this very thing. Some people brought a man to Jesus who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to heal him. Jesus took him aside, put His fingers in the man’s ears, and some of His spit on the man’s tongue. (Yes, this sounds disgusting!) Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Be opened!” In an instant, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue loosened, and he began to speak clearly. It was gross, crazy, strange, and miraculous all at the same time.

The people who witnessed this were absolutely blown away. And do you know what their response was? Here’s what they said about Jesus… “He has done everything well…” What they were indicating about Jesus was, “He does everything beautifully, commendably, and with excellence. Jesus does admirable things that are honorable, surpassing good and noble.”

He didn’t just do some things well. He did all things well. He didn’t choose to half-ass a few things now and then. He chose to do the job right (and with excellence) the first time. The Message Translation of Mark 7:37 records it this way, “He’s done it all and done it well.”

I wonder if Jesus grew up with a grandmother like mine?

Or maybe He just knew that it made perfect sense to do everything well. That doing things half-assed is a waste of time. Maybe He sensed that excellence and honor was the way God intended it to be. Maybe He figured out that if you’re gonna do a job, do it right the first time. Because in the end, this is the way, the effort, the attitude, and the character that pleases God…and my grandmother.

 

HAVE A HAPPY “SHIRTLESS SNOWBALL FIGHT” NEW YEAR!

They were shirtless. They were playing in the snow. There were about a half dozen 10-12 year old boys of various shapes and sizes in the front yard. And they were only wearing sweatpants. I could tell they were trying to look cool. A couple of them were sitting on the bed of a pickup truck, a couple were standing in the driveway, and a couple were in the yard. Just hanging out. Throwing snowballs at each other. Shirtless…in December.

As people drove by, slowed down, and gawked at them, I know what they were thinking. “Why in the world are those boys out in the snow with no shirts on? Do their mothers know they’re doing this? What foolishness!”

But as I drove by, slowed down, and gawked at them, you know what I thought? “Why not? Why not have a shirtless snowball fight in December? Why not have some crazy fun? Why not grab life, do something completely out of the ordinary, and laugh?”

I smiled as I drove past these guys. It made me think how reserved we live. It made me think we’ve forgotten how to embrace spontaneity. It made me think how we conservatively live our lives because we don’t want people to think of us as foolish. It made me think of how often we miss out on laughing, for fear someone is looking.

You see, in a lot of ways we have become reclusive and unresponsive to life itself. We hole ourselves up and face plant into a TV, computer monitor, or smart phone for hours on end letting life pass us by without even realizing it. And the thing is, we’re not forced to do these things, we choose to do them.

I wonder what these guys would have done if this 46 year old mom would have stopped the car and joined them. No…not the shirtless part. That would have scared everyone half to death in the neighborhood. 🙂 But if I had joined in on the snowball fight, what might they have thought? What would the neighbors have thought?

Here’s the thing…I loved the idea of a shirtless snowball fight in December. I loved the reckless abandon. I loved the spontaneity. There’s a song by an artist named Seal that says “In a world full of people only some want to fly, isn’t that crazy?” The song goes on to say “We’re never gonna survive unless we get a little crazy.”

Have a Happy Shirtless Snowball Fight New Year

As 2014 begins, I’m suggesting we all ingest a little bit of the “shirtless snowball fight” mentality. How so? Read on…

  • Grab life
  • If you wanna fly, go for it
  • Don’t settle for mediocre when you can have marvelous
  • Bake a cake…and give it away
  • Make some crazy good memories
  • Break a bad habit…finally
  • Do something spontaneous
  • Power off the technology and make a long distance phone call instead
  • Ditch the reservations
  • Throw off the fear
  • Change your attitude
  • Trade pessimism for optimism
  • Quit complaining
  • For a moment, forget about what other people might think
  • Play in the rain
  • Pick up the tab at a restaurant for a complete stranger
  • Plant a smile on your face for an entire day
  • Get a little crazy

Won’t you join me in raising your glass on this first day of 2014 and saying, “Here’s to a Happy Shirtless Snowball Fight New Year!”

What would you add to the list above? Please feel free to leave a comment and share with the rest of us!

 

PICK A COLOR…PICK A PERSONALITY

Who comes up with these paint color names anyway? Seriously! And how do they do it? Do they just blurt out the first thing that comes to their mind? I don’t get it. I’m almost convinced they’re not paint colors at all. I think they’re personality descriptors. Pick a color…pick a personality for the day! 🙂

Check these out (Yes…these are all official paint colors…I didn’t make these up):

  • Fashion Week
  • Lucky You
  • Va Va Voom
  • Pedicure at Lunch
  • Roaming Pony
  • Go Girl!
  • Cattle Drive
  • Sweet and Sassy
  • Window Shopping
  • Peak of Perfection
  • Pick of the Patch
  • Make a Splash
  • Think About It
  • Lap of Luxury
  • Garden Beauty
  • Quiet Refuge
  • The Back Nine
  • P.J.s
  • Evening Empress
  • Dig It
  • Chipper Tint
  • Light My Fire

Don’t these sorta sound like moods, or attitudes, or personality types? Can’t you just hear these as explanations of how you’re feeling: “I’m sitting in the Lap of Luxury today. I hit the Peak of Perfection on my work project. Tonight I’m gonna go out and Make a Splash.” Or how about describing someone else: “Ever since she turned 18 she’s been a Roaming Pony. Her parents think she’s a Garden Beauty, but I think she’s more of an Evening Empress.”

I think we should collect the most unique, inspired, clever, and stimulating paint samples everywhere we go, put them into a basket, draw them out periodically, and adopt that personality or attitude for the day. Wouldn’t that be something to shake up our sometimes hum-drum lives? Think about it…if you’re in a gloomy mood, grab that Go Girl! paint sample and see what happens. If you’ve had a hectic day and your mind is going 90mph, pull out the Think About It and Quiet Refuge samples. They just might slow you down long enough to appreciate the simple things in life. Pick a color…pick a personality! (Or attitude, or mood, or disposition, or focus…)

So, bless all the people who creatively come up with names of paint color. They give us a good chuckle, a great baffled look on our faces, something to talk about, AND a way to lighten our mood or shift our focus.

What paint color best describes your personality today? Please share it with all of us…

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