I used to tell myself I was going to buy a bouquet of flowers a week (or until the last ones died) as a form of “treating myself.” And by bouquet of flowers I mean ruscus, camellia’s minus the camellia, or any kind of eucalyptus. No flowers really.
Think minimal and green.
I recently discovered that the two small $5 bouquets I bought last October lasted me 8 whole months. I had bought a simple bunch of eucalyptus much of which dried well enough for me to preserve through many Instagram posts and cycles of redecorating.
I decided to finally say goodbye to the strands last week and trade them for new and improved flora from my local New Seasons market — two bunches of beaded eucalyptus that will hopefully last me just as long.
Knowing me, I couldn’t pass up a photo opportunity. The beaded eucalyptus was going to compliment my pale pink jacket like butter on toast.
What I didn’t know was what I would start to think and write about after many tries at a picture and a few edits.
I kept looking at the picture(s) and thought to myself: “I wish picking up joy was as easy as picking up flowers.”
Though picking out flowers should be a second-to-none easy task, too many factors got in the way of my decision, making it extremely difficult.
I found myself standing at the front of New Seasons for probably 10 minutes before deciding what I would be purchasing. It may be just me and my obsessive compulsiveness, but I couldn’t help but think about how each would look in my space, what bouquets would go best with each other, which would sit compositionally well in the one vase I own, and of course — I analyzed each foliage’s shade of green.
I know what you’re thinking. She’s absolutely crazy. Why in the world would she spend 10 minutes using such reasoning to pick out a bouquet?
That’s an excellent question.
I’m sure the nice lady at the desk was thinking the same thing as I voiced my desire to buy all of the arrangements.
I, to say the least, overcomplicated things. I should have just picked one I thought was pretty, regardless of how it would look in my space, what color it was, or if I would second guess my decision when I got home. Or, for goodness sake, the consequences I would face picking the “wrong” one.
Just like picking out flowers, picking up joy (or any fruit of the spirit for that matter) isn’t always easy when it should be. Especially when we’ve been placed in a very negative environment that is always out to shed bad light and even more negativity.
Just like overcomplicating a flower choice, often we are found overcomplicating our emotions — both instances making our lives harder than meant to be.
We give ourselves pep talks all throughout our days — “It’s okay just forget about it. Be nice. Don’t be frustrated with that person.”
But we also say to ourselves things like: “Well if everyone was nice to me, I could be nice” or, “They were rude, now I’m in a bad mood” or, I love this one, “They ruined my day.”
All of those things are thoughts I’ve had, believe me. That’s my flesh being flesh.
I’m sure you’ve had them too.
But in retrospective, we are letting minute occurrences that make up for 1% of our days dictate the remaining 99%.
How would things change if we didn’t let them?
In the midst of a rather hard week, I felt the Lord nudge me to pray to love as he loves while driving down a known broken street in a broken neighborhood. I thought about it for a little longer and asked myself: ” Well, what does that look like? Loving like Jesus?” remembering that God gives us his best for our worst and that he loves through all circumstances.
If I want to love like Jesus loves, I have to take no offense, tap into him for strength (Love himself), and love without limits. Love people when they do you wrong. Love people when they are rude (hello). Love when you are frustrated. Love when you feel accused, judged, or disliked. Love when you don’t want to love.
I’m sure when Jesus was on the cross he wanted to just let go. For one second maybe turn to us in hate instead of love. But he didn’t. He pursued. He continued to love despite the lies, torment, and pain that surrounded him.
Because we are called to be and live like Jesus, I believe his habit to love relentlessly is the best to mimic of his.
I’m sure Portland’s never ending cycle of rain is having it’s toll on me. When I wake in the morning, I’m tired. I’m mundane. It’s been hard to be motivated, encouraging, and enthusiastic, let alone one of those at a time.
But, the sun is up, I’m breathing, and Jesus is with me! As long as those three things are true, I’m going to get up.
I’ve had to remind myself each and every morning to create a bright start. I remind myself that God’s mercies are new and that I have the same number of hours in a day as everybody else.
Likewise, when I forget, it is evident in the way my days progress.
Though pick-me-ups like your mid-week Americano, a rented movie, new t-shirt, or if you’re like me, 2 bouquets of beaded eucalyptus or an essential oil bath soak are great, there are better things ahead to pick up.
I will choose to lay down anger and pick up joy. Lay down fear and pick up peace. Lay down bitterness and pick up forgiveness. Lay down myself and my pride and pick up Jesus.
There’s no time to contemplate for 10 minutes in the front of New Seasons.
I will simply pick them up.