Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Time for a little FUN!: Without a wing to hide under

There are some people for whom play and FUN! come naturally and others who need some specific direction on how to infuse these elements into life. Whether you are more in need of direct instruction or  not, I am SURE you will glean something from this post to help you incorporate even more FUN! into your lives.
***********************************************
My husband is the fun one of the two of us. There isn't much he will not try; other than trying new foods. His first time on an airplane he sky dived out of it. Who does that? Kids adore him because he will gladly get on the floor and play with them. Once they find out he’s a soldier they simply admire this fun hero of mine.

I'd love to say I'm his wingman but it’s more like I fly under his wing. I leave the fun stuff to him.

I'm a watcher more than a doer. I will come watch the fun any day. Someone needs to capture the fun being had so I typically choose to hide behind the camera.

Then my husband goes off for a year. He had no choice. The Army called. They took my fun guy away. I no longer have a wing to hide under. To be honest, there are days when mustering up a smile is way too much to ask of me.

But God (those two words are always followed by good news) decided my One Word for the year would be joy. I'm discovering a lot about this word. Most importantly, God reminds me over and over again how joy can be found no matter our circumstances. Joy can be found because our joy is found in Him.

I often find myself humming the children’s hymn,

I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy
Down in my heart
Down in my heart
Down in my heart
I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy
Down in my heart
Down in my heart to stay”

I stop to consider when I'm humming the words. Maybe fun for me looks different than it does for my husband.

For me, fun is whatever makes my heart sing.

~ Meet me for a cup of coffee and my heart dances with joy from our time of fellowship.

~ A long walk with the sun shining down on me...oh what joy!

~ Whether on a Sunday morning in church, with my small group, or in my car, I love lifting up my arms to worship Him. Yes, even in my car.

~ If my entire family is together, which is too infrequent for this mom, it does not matter what we are doing. I rejoice and praise God for the moment.

However, I believe God wants to draw me out of my comfort zone. He knows I let my insecurities get in the way of joining in for some fun. My fears of failing or rejection hold me back.

The half-way mark of my husband’s deployment was approaching and I desperately needed a night of fun. I needed a ladies night out. As I scrolled through the newsfeed on Facebook I came across an update shared by a friend saying she had plans to attend a ‘Canvas and Cocktails’ event through our park district. Out of desperation for some fun, and a nudge from God, I replied, Can I come too?

I do not paint but it sounded like fun. Without a wing to hide under I ventured out a few weeks later to join two friends, and a few others I did not know, for an evening of painting and a glass of wine.


As I stared at the blank canvas and paint palette before me, I feared having the worst painting in the room and being laughed at. To belong there my painting must be perfect. A beautiful painting would make them like me more. I feared rejection. At the same time I could not wait to begin.  

Once my paint brush touched the blank canvas I could not stop.


I did not know blending colors and spreading paint on a canvas could be so much fun.


We all watched the same instructor but each created our own unique masterpiece. As we oohed and aahed over each other’s piece of art, I quickly realized no one cared how good or how bad I painted. We were all there for the same reason . . . for fun.

It became clear to me as our evening came to an end that I’ve let my need for approval from others hold me back from having fun long enough. As Jennifer Dukes Lee writes over and over again in her book Love Idol, I’ve already be pre-approved by God.

I may have arrived at the event that night seeking approval from others but I left saying, Good-bye, insecurity.

I went to the event for an evening of fun but I left with my identity rooted a little deeper in the place where our identity should truly be found – in Christ.

I left with this . . .


And more “joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.”

That wing I like to hide under . . . when he returns home I will choose to stand beside him as his proud wife instead of hiding. I think we shall venture off for some fun together too.
**********************************
About Beth...


Beth Stiff is Simply Beth, at least that’s what her blog is called. A wife to her Army Reserve husband and a mom of two boys, with her oldest son serving in the Navy, and a mother-in-law too. She a Jesus lover, a family gal who loves her friends, and reading with a hot cup of coffee. Her life is changed, even after 20 years of marriage with a love that grows stronger. But the bottom line, is in the heart. Beth loves the heart things and to speak about the Love that changed her and keeps changing her. She’s an encourager who thrives on being in our corner. You can also find her over here, bloggingTwitteringFacebooking, and posting pictures to the Pinterest world.

36 comments :

  1. Beth, you are such an inspiration to me! "The joy of the Lord is my strength" Neh 8:10. Your joy found in the Lord, was clearly felt through reading this! Thank you, dear one! Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Kaylene. It has been a joy to get to know you better. Thank you for all your encouragement. Blessings.

      Delete
  2. Beth - Your painting came out beautiful! May God continue to deposit His joy & fun into your life. I loved reading this post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Joanne. It was truly so much fun. I wore one big smile while I painted. God is good! Love you.

      Delete
  3. Love, love this. And you, Beth.

    And, hey, I think you're fun too. You did hop on a train and then in a taxi to meet me at Navy Pier. And my kids took you on a ferris wheel. :) Your painting is beautiful as are you, friend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You make me smile, Kristin. It was a fun afternoon being with you and your family. I even enjoyed the ferris wheel when heights can make my stomach a little queezy. But I wasn't going to miss out on the fun. Love you.

      Delete
  4. I love your painting, Beth! And, I love your bravery to get out there and have some fun! I tend to hold back as well. I don't know why...sometimes I think it is shyness, but shyness doesn't exactly describe me. I guess it is fear of the unknown. Thanks for sharing and for your encouragement to get out there and have some fun!

    Blessings, Joan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I get that fear of the unknown, Joan. Thank you for coming over and reading today. You are a blessing to me, friend. Love you.

      Delete
  5. How fun! I've always to do one of those events...maybe one day :)

    You did a fabulous job! I'm proud of you for pushing yourself to do something out of your comfort zone!!! That's not easy, and really easy to say "no" to, but you did it anyways.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a fun evening and we all kept saying we had to do again soon. Thank you for the encouragement, Alecia. Now I'm excited about the possibility of meeting you soon!! Much love.

      Delete
  6. Oh Beth, your painting is beautiful. Painting is so much fun, isn't it? I've faced those feelings of rejection and "not good enough". But God keeps telling me to keep going. So thankful you stepped out and had fun!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was so much fun, Barbie. I'm ready to do it again. Much love to you, friend. {Hugs}

      Delete
  7. I really, REALLY need to get hooked up with a night of painting... and maybe a grown up beverage. I too struggle with having "FUN" in my life, especially with all of the wonderful yet time-consuming God-sized goals that are currently on my plate. Maybe I will stop by Barnes and Noble today after my dentist appointment for a little bit of fun? Thanks for these encouraging words, Beth. You always brighten my day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There you go making me smile again! I adore you, Sharita. Go cause some trouble at Barnes and Noble. One should be treated to some fun after a trip to the dentist. YOU brighten my day! Love you.

      Delete
  8. What a beautiful post, friend! I can relate myself, being married to someone who owns any room he enters, I typically am just proud to walk beside him & mingle quietly. But there are days... like our shopping day together, that capture my heart & the fun is just fabulous! ;) What great company you are, my friend! I'm really looking forward to your visit in July! Love you! ♥

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was a fabulous fun day too, Satin. I'm not one to normal enjoy shopping but it was LOTS of fun shopping with you. Can't wait to do it again in July. Love you.

      Delete
  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Your painting is beautiful!! So glad you had a fun evening out and were brave enough to reach out for the invitation! Grateful that you are continuing to find joy in your day. Much love!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Holly. God is just so good. And I'm looking forward to some fun with you when you hopefully make your way to Chicago. :) Love you.

      Delete
  11. This painting really shows the joy in a tangible way! Love it! What most caught my attention was your signature there at the bottom. God is just as proud to claim you as His, sweet friend! Love you! <3 Heart Hugs

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm always grateful for your sweet encouragement. I love that you mentioned the signature as it actually felt weird at first to add but for me it was more like me saying, "Hey, look what God and I did together." All praise goes to Him. Love you. {Hugs}

      Delete
  12. Beth,

    This post made me smile! Truly! I'm so glad you had a nice time. And what a beautiful painting! I hope you have somewhere special to hang it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad it made you smile. :) For now, it's sitting on my dresser but I'm working on finding a place to hang it. I told my husband I'd send it to him but seeing that he really doesn't have a place to put it he will enjoy once he returns home. Much love.

      Delete
  13. Beth, I really like your painting!! I have wanted to try my hand at painting, but have never done so - for I fear that I would be terrible at it. But, as I was reading over your post, it occurred to me that it isn't about the end result, it's all about the process. You've inspired me to give it a try.

    Might I just say that I also think your painting reflects *our* word JOY. For though the sky is dark, it is full of twinkling stars of lights, beautiful flowers blooming away, and a bright and beautiful sun. If I was an armchair psychologist (and might I just say, let's spare all of us THAT scary thought!!!) - anyway, I am seeing in this painting an entire metaphor for the JOY journey that God has called both you and I on this year.

    Dark nights, yes - but nights that are lit up by the One whose arrival was heralded by the Star of Bethlehem. Just as He knows each star by name, He knows our names, too. And we are never lost to Him.

    And yet, though times might be dark sometimes, we are still blooming. In all the colors that God placed within us.

    And finally, there exists a great and wonderful Light in our worlds. Shining through the night, causing us to bloom.

    JOY is all about the Son!

    Love to you, and GOD BLESS...Mrs. Van Gogh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just want to reach through this computer screen and hug you dear friend. I so hope I've inspired you to give painting a try. It was so much fun. I know you'd enjoy. Most of all, thank you for sharing your JOY thoughts. I love that we are on this joy journey together. You totally have me looking at my painting with completely new eyes. Love it! Love you. THANK YOU!

      Delete
  14. Beth, seeing your painting reminded me of how much I enjoyed my time doing a project in art class. I've always wanted to paint but I'm not particularly gifted at it. Hooray for you stepping out into the unknown and discovering joy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for coming by, Wanda. It's always a delight to see you. I'm far from gifts in the area of painting but it was so much fun to give a try. Blessings.

      Delete
  15. Beth, so happy you were here this week. God has used you to touch people mightily! Your bravery and wisdom is inspiring. So glad to call you friend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for having me , Jen. It was an honor to share here. So glad to call you friend, too. I love your heart and I'm looking forward to what you have in store for us with your new website. keeping you in my prayers. Much love.

      Delete
  16. Beth,
    I love the affirmation that you have "already been pre-approved by God". Amen!! I'm so glad you didn't let the "approval monster" sneak in and spoil your fun!! So proud of you that you continue to find joy in what is a very difficult time. God has brought you on quite a journey...just know I am cheering you on!!
    With much love and ((hugs)),
    Bev

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, sweet friend! Thank you so much for all your encouragement and prayers through this time apart from my man. I'm grateful for you. Much love and (((hugs))).

      Delete
  17. Hi Beth! That is a really great painting...really! I love the bold colors, the day/night theme...everything! You are a natural my friend. I really admire your throwing yourself out there and taking a chance. Who knows what would have happened? Maybe rejection, but you plowed ahead. I just see you holding your breath as you asked... But God...Yay!! Yes, good news always follows.
    Blessings to you,
    Ceil

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your kind words. You never know how much fun something can be until you try, right? I'm so glad I reached out on this one. And the painting is always a good reminder to myself to be willing to take a risk...especially if God is nudging. Blessings to you, Ceil. {Hugs}

      Delete
  18. God knew exactly what you needed, and used a FUN activity to speak so profoundly into your life. Your painting is full of JOY, my friend - worthy of a frame.

    ReplyDelete

Don't go yet! Leave me a note with your thoughts.