Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Blunt about tshirts...

Yesterday I made it clear that I was feeling sadness for others and what life is dealing them at this time. I spent a long time thinking and praying for some of the people in the middle of these real-life tough situations. Maybe because I've been there it's created a greater spot in my heart for empathy, but regardless, I have more thoughts on the subject.

These thoughts first came from some t-shirts I've seen people wearing around town. I am not knocking these shirts if you own one and wear it. I even think some of the cartoons are fitting at times, but I am the ultimate 'realist' in life. And remember too, that I like to make my own t-shirts, and have posted samples of a couple that I may get around to making one of these days.

Well, if I were to make a shirt in the next few days, it would probably read something like this:

Life isn't always good.
{However, you can find joy and happiness in spite of that fact.}

I think sometimes we (especially Americans) buy into the idea that life should be good all the time. As if we are owed a happy life- for one reason or another. A lot of people base their whole definition of success on this idea- that if we work harder, or meet the right people, or buy the latest stuff, or find the right religion, or even be a certain look and weight, then we will be happy and fulfilled. Or at least appear successful to others...and some of us think that what others believe to be true about us is what it's all about.
I don't want to knock you down if life is all rosy in your corner of the world, but I do think sometimes we all need a reality check.
It seems to me that if more people were open and honest about what's really going on in their life, that we could all be better people because of that honesty. For example, what if, instead of lying and cheating behind her husband's back, the wife sat down and had a heart to heart with her husband and asked for him to stand by her as they fix the mess of their marriage. Don't you think more people would go to counseling and seek to resolve the problems if they were brought up and asked for forgiveness for- rather than being found out and feeling betrayed?
Or, if instead of making excuses for someone's depression, what if the family members or close friend of the hurting individual did all they could to get that person the treatment they so needed? Wouldn't it save some of us a lot of grief and heartache in the end?
As one who has grown up in different Bible-based churches, I've seen it happen to great extent within the church. I think it has given people on the "outside" false ideas about what faith really is- especially as it relates to pain and hurt in this life.
I may not be using the best theology, but I believe in honesty- especially in regards to my faith. I know that life isn't always good, or fair or easy. I believe it's okay to come right out and say that- even though I have a strong faith in God. I've learned that faith doesn't guarantee you freedom from pain or hard circumstances in life. Faith doesn't give you easy answers to all life's toughest questions. It doesn't make you automatically happy about everything that happens to you.
But, it does offer peace and comfort and hope and even joy- that sometimes can't be explained. So, here I am again, talking about tshirts and faith and what it means in my life. And once again, I am reminded that it's not about whether or not life is good to us from day to day, but whether or not I have the assurance that no matter what comes my way, it will be okay.
That last sentence was my 'light-bulb' moment for today, and could very well be the text of the next t-shirt that I design. Yep. It would read, "I know that no matter what comes my way, that everything will be okay". That's a t-shirt I could live in!


Valerie said...

years ago, there was a radio team who's catchphrase was EGBOK...Everything's Gonna Be O.K.

and it will. for me as well.

Laura in Ohio said...

Jody ~ Thanks for the reminder. Yesterday was one of those days when I just totally lost my perspective, and frankly, I've been so honest about it that everyone around me knows it. :/ Here's to regaining perspective, moving on in life, and knowing that God anticipated days like these in our lives. As someone said to me this week, "I've read The Book, and I KNOW how it ends!" Everything's 'gonna be okay!


Laura in Ohio

Anonymous said...

Your post today is so pertinant to a radio program I was listening to...think it might have been Dennis Rainy's. He had a mean on there who was talking about instilling "success" into our kids. He's written a book on it and for the life of me, I can't remember the guy's name or the name of the book (his first name could have been Tim) Grr-r-r! Hate it when that happens.
Anyway, he used the analogy of 9/11 and all the people in the Twin Towers...high powered, well-educated people, alot of them, who made alot of money and had alot of nice 'things'. He went on to say that for them, NONE of that mattered! While many were dying or making their way down the was others (who possibly had less education and made less money) who were making their way "up" the stairs in order to help. This man said that success and happiness "should not" be equated with ACT/SAT scores, which college we get into, how many degrees, which social club we can join, which neighborhood we live in, what we look like on the outside etc. Success is how we look on the inside!! My addendum to this is when it's all said and done....what kind of legacy will "I" be leaving?? Also, how will I be greeted by my Maker?? Will He say "well done, good and faithful servant!"???
I agree with so much of what your ponderings are today!

Anonymous said...

Meant to say he had a "man" (not mean) on his program!

Anonymous said...


I came upon your blog months ago via the Whitney Cerak blog. I know you used to live in Gaylord. Do you know how the Ceraks are doing and how Whitney is faring back at school? Thanks

BethK said...

thanks for the challenge--we've had a lot of honesty passing through our home as of late and while difficult, the end result is always so much better--

kind of was in line with a few honest thoughts i was posing to myself in my blog, some of it right in line with what you were talking about--

God's tugging on some heart strings today I guess--hope we are all listening...

thanks jody,

Tracey said...

You are so right! I'm a betrayed wife. I wish to God my husband sat down and told me what was happening instead of me finding out about his affair. Unfortunately, he didn't and the marriage wasn't able to be saved. I life with that every day, but I'm finding JOY in my life. I will be okay, my 3 year old son will be okay.

Thank you so much for your blog. You reach so many people and your writing is just incredible. It makes me sit back and do a little thinking.

Thank you!

Tracey in Arizona

patterns of ink said...

Wow, Jody. That "where are you" post had to be very encouraging. Your readership is both faithful and far-reaching. Remember what I told you a few months ago because I think the time will come sooner than you think--probably right after you're in the spotlight for winning first place for your scapbook. =)
You're right about the "bumper sticker" mentality we sometimes have as a society, and I would add that "Christian" T-shirts are often glib (and even dishonoring to the Lord). Having said that...
You know Chip and I are probably not going to wear printed T-shirts, but I'll bet many of your readers do. The Nitty-Gritty one is cool, but only one person can wear it as shown (you). If you change it to "Nitty Gritty...Been there. Goin' back." (then have your web address in smaller print under the graphic) or "Nitty Gritty...Real Life requires Real Love" (with a Bible reference in fine print with your blog address)... Then many readers could actually order and wear them.
I know how busy you are and the commitment it takes to write regularly. Your generosity in sharing the journey has become a joy to many readers who would love to do something to support the cause and bring publishing a book within reach.

Cris said...

Life really doesn't seem fair from time to time does it? But I am grateful to have a God that I know loves me and is always there for me through the good times and the bad. There was a quote awhile back that I really liked by an unknown author. It says...

God didn't promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way.

So yes, we will face hard times. We will go through storms that sometimes seem like they have no end. But what a wonderful and loving God we serve that is so willing to be there for us through all of it.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us today Jody. And if you ever do decide to make those shirts, I would love to have one. :)

Kristine said...

My sister has been saying these exact same things as she has been enduring some of her greatest struggles the past two weeks because of dishonesty in her marriage.

It's not easy, but that's not the point...and you make that point again and again in every step you take, in every post you write, and in every choice you make to find the good around you.

Thanks for being real.

erin said...

hi jody,
i love those *life is good* tees and hats! we get them each year, on our tahoe trip.
your nitty.gritty one is cute.

Nancy said...

I am so inspired by your blog and plan to get started with my own. I have been reading yours since June and you have taken me back to my child rearing days as you share your kids. I admire your faith and love to see God's reflection through YOU!