One day a farmer’s donkey fell into an abandoned well. Terrified, the animal cried for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old and impossible to retrieve. He realized the well needed to be filled to prevent future losses. So he invited all his neighbors to help him.
They all grabbed shovels and began to throw dirt into the well. At first, when the donkey realized he was being buried alive, he cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s shock, the donkey quieted down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer looked down the well and was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit the donkey’s back, the donkey would shake it off and take a step up.
As the farmer and his neighbors continued to throw dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take another step up. Soon everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off! (Author Unknown, this version taken from wisdomshared.com)
I heard Joyce Meyer share this story in her humorous and commanding voice. She recognized that she spent most of her life claiming and feeling like she lived in a pit of some kind–crying about parenting issues, marriage concerns, money, relationships…..until finally she realized that it was up to her to “shake the dirt off” and claim, “Today something great will happen! I am expecting God to bless!” We can never trust our feelings or the circumstances we see before us, instead we claim God’s best for us and walk in His promises, regardless of our feelings. A sure way to see if you are living in a pit is to listen to your conversations to yourself and with others. Do you whine and complain? Do you constantly talk about how busy you are, or I’ll never survive this, or we just don’t have enough money? The reality may be that you are busy, you may be going through a challenge, and money is tight, but God wants us to live victorious, so we can not only live with His Joy, but so we can be available to serve others in love, not stress.
I purposefully woke up on Friday claiming, “Today–good things will happen!” I could list all the physical challenges, job related stress, school work, financial challenges that consumed our day, but when my mind was set on expecting the promises of God, my stress and problems lightened. I’m not talking about living in denial or ignoring issues. On the contrary! It’s you and God facing the challenges of life expecting God’s promises to be fulfilled in each situation–even if it gets a little crazy.
So many of us look towards greatness–achievement! Yet, sometimes the greatest achievement is doing the next thing in front of you–forgiving your spouse, connecting with your child, writing the thank you note, finishing your homework, practicing for a presentation, serving a friend… It’s not doing the next thing in drudgery or complaint; but, how can I be in the moment and be a blessing–see this moment as an opportunity to be filled with Joy and love?
I know when I’m on the self-pity train headed to “Me Land”. I will literally tell myself–“Lord, Anna, please get off at the next station!” Shake that dirt off and get out of this pit! I’ve noticed when I become so self-absorbed with all “my stuff”, I lack the capacity to see the needs of others. What can I do for someone else today in love and sacrifice of my time and resources?
There’s another dirt verse in God’s word–
If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.
Jesus told the disciples to keep it moving when folks criticize you for your faith. The Holy Spirit’s job is to work those things out–not your job. If you are faithful to love Jesus with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, you will influence the world around you just by loving Jesus and letting his love change you.
Today, rejoice in the knowledge of His love, and say out loud–“I’m expecting good things today!”
It’s not what happens to you that determines how far you will go in life; it is how you handle what happens to you.”
If you have time, be inspired by her sermon