6 Rules to Live by When Murphy Shows up
Hey Blog Friend! Have you met my pal, Murphy? You know, the guy who shows up to throw a wrench into your best laid plans, who brings you back to reality when life seems a little too ideal?
Murphy's been a regular at our house as of late. A month ago, our outdoor spigot sprayed water into the walls of our house and created a floating floor in our teenager's bedroom. Two weeks ago, my husband broke his leg while falling from the platform of our kids' old tree house. Last weekend, the back door to his Sequoia refused to open and our 16-year-old washer went kaput. To add to this dire domestic saga, as I was attempting to suck up the little flood in our laundry room, the shop vac died. Aaaand we have two active vacays planned this summer which, thanks to Mark's air cast, will require him to ditch his sneakers for a wheelchair.
I'm pretty sure Murphy's related to the guy in these Allstate commercials.
Meet Murphy's cousin, Mayhem.
As much as Murphy might incense us, his visits should not surprise us. Among God's many promises, the fact that we will encounter trouble here on Earth is a Jesus-stamped guarantee (See John 16:33). In fact, recent research by minister David Robertson of St Peters Free Church in Dundee Scotland indicates that the idea that life should be mostly rosy is a uniquely Western idea. In other words, Christians in less modernized countries do not question suffering. Our brothers and sisters around the world see it as a very normal (and real) part of life.
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Photo by Ben White on Unsplash
So how can we make the most of our days if we know that we'll be standing in the rain at least as much as we're basking in the sunshine?
1. Stay grounded
Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:2)
Spend time with God by looking to him every day. Talk to him before your feet hit the floor in the morning and when you're sipping that chai latte on your commute. Acknowledge his presence and authority when your head hits the pillow at night. Investing in that spiritual relationship will not prevent Murphy's visits, but it will make them less scary.
2. Expect storms
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.(John 16:33)
That's right: You and I will have trouble. Not might. Not could. But will. So why do we react in shock and dismay when Murphy comes knockin? We're expecting him! We may not want to cook him a meatloaf, but perhaps we could gain a little peace from saying, "Oh yeah, Jesus told me you'd be dropping by."
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3. Don't take a rain check
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? (Matthew 6:27)
When Murphy shows up in the form of a busted vehicle, a prodigal child, cancer, infertility, job loss, or a flooded basement, don't take a rain check on life. Circumstances may have given you less money, less time, or limited mobility, but that doesn't mean it's time to withdraw from living. Seize each day as it arrives and plan to interlace joyful moments throughout.
4. Focus on God's daily provision
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:15)
Do you have a roof over your head? Three meals a day? Good insurance? A supportive spouse? Friends who check up on you regularly? Children? A wise doctor? Shoes on your feet? Even in the midst of loss, grief, and disappointment, God provides what we need for each day.
We naturally veer toward those things on which we are focused. Create a healthy new habit by spending time pondering God's unique provision for you. Never stop saying thank you.
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5. Anticipate opportunity
Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. (John 14:1)
I love the Message version of this verse, which says: Don't let this throw you. You trust God, don't you? Trust me.
In the western world, where we've grown accustomed to our Starbucks triple, venti, half sweet, non-fat, caramel macchiatos delivered in under five minutes, we tend to lose our minds when life hits a snag. However, instead of reacting when Murphy wreaks havoc, we can choose to view his visits as opportunities to develop our faith muscles. John reminds us that being a true believer allows us to access God's peace even in the chaos.
6. Serve someone
Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. (John 13:14-17)
More than any other thing about Jesus, we know this: Jesus served. Within hours of being led to skin-piercing thorns and nails and death through asphyxiation, we would expect a king to ask his friends for earthly comfort. A listening ear for his fears. A glass of wine for his nerves. A massage for his weary feet. However, instead of requesting a blessing, Jesus chose to be one.
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It's easy to fall into the trap of giving away our power to Murphy and his band of thugs. The secret to beating those guys is to follow in Jesus' footsteps: Notice and meet the needs of others through service.
Do you play the piano? Call your local senior living center and offer to host a concert.
Do you have a way with animals? Volunteer to clean out the kennels at a nearby shelter.
Do you have a million dollar smile? Make sure you share it with every single person you encounter in a day.
You will be blessed if you do these things.
Photo by Edwin Andrade on Unsplash
The next time Murphy wipes his feet on your welcome mat, step back, breathe deeply, and introduce him to the CEO of your life. While Murphy is sure to show up from time to time, he's no match for your maker.
Until next time,
a.k.a. Your Faith Cheerleader